11/17/2003, 00.00
Vatican - Israel

Embarrassing statements made about Pope by Weisel

Rome (AsiaNews) – Fr. David Maria Jaeger, an Israeli Franciscan from the Holy Land, is embittered by statements made about the pope by Elie Wiesel in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera (Nov. 17 2003). He defined them as "embarrassing" and advised Weisel to "seek forgiveness".

In his written comment to sent to AsiaNews, the Franciscan priest and spokesman for the Custody of the Holy Land commission said: "The statements against the pope –attributed to Elie Weisel in today's Corriere della Sera –are embarrassing. May he repent and seek forgiveness. Moreover, may she be aware that any anti-Catholic invective must not be any less unacceptable than those aimed at Jews. We, as Catholics and Jews, must join together in combating against prejudice and misinformation, and not one another."

In his interview appearing in Corriere della Sera, the chief spokesman for Diaspora Jews, Elie Wiesel, criticized the pope's words on the barrier dividing Israelis and Palestinians. "I expected something quite different from the spiritual leader of the one of the world's greatest and most important religions.  Or (at least) a declaration condemning terror and the murdering of innocent people, without mixing in political considerations," she said.

During Sunday's Angelus, the pope exhorted the making of peace efforts in the Holy Land, recalling that the "construction of a wall between Israelis and Palestinians is seen by many as an obstacle on the road toward living together in peace. Indeed, the Holy Land does not need walls, but bridges!  Without reconciliation of souls, there can be no peace."

The pope, after having condemned terrorist attempts in Iraq and Turkey, added: "In such a context, I renew my firm condemnation of any recent terrorist action whatsoever in the Holy Land."

Some days ago (Nov. 10) when meeting with a representative of PLO members, the pontiff affirmed: "All forms of terrorism must be condemned. It is not only a betrayal of our common humanity, but absolutely incapable of serving as any political, moral or spiritual basis for the freedom and self-determination of a populace." (CB)
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