Vatican body urges UN to end Israeli occupation

Catholic bishops in the Middle East urged the UN to end the Israeli occupation of Arab lands.

Vatican City: Catholic bishops in the
Middle East urged the United Nations today to end the Israeli
occupation of Arab lands, at the end of a meeting chaired by
Pope Benedict XVI.

In a final statement of their two-week synod, the
bishops and patriarchs of the region`s Catholic churches said
the citizens of the Middle East "call upon the international
community, particularly the United Nations, conscientiously
to work to find a peaceful, just and definitive solution in
the region, through the application of the Security Council`s
resolutions and taking the necessary legal steps to put an end
to the occupation of the different Arab territories.

"The Palestinian people will thus have an independent
and sovereign homeland where they can live with dignity and
security. The State of Israel will be able to enjoy peace and
security within their internationally recognized borders.

"The Holy City of Jerusalem will be able to acquire
its proper status, which respects its particular character,
its holiness and the religious patrimony of the three
religions: Jewish, Christian and Muslim. We hope that the
two-State-solution might become a reality and not a dream

The statement referred to Security Council resolutions
which called on Israel to quit territories seized during the
1967 Middle East War, including east Jerusalem, the West Bank
and Gaza Strip.

The synod was marked by repeated affirmations that the
Israel-Palestinian conflict is at the root of the tension
affecting the whole Middle East.

With its resolution, the bishops said, "Iraq will be
able to put an end to the consequences of its deadly war and
re-establish a secure way of life which will protect all its
citizens with all their social structures, both religious
and national.

"Lebanon will be able to enjoy sovereignty over its
entire territory, strengthen its national unity and carry on
in its vocation to be the model of coexistence between
Christians and Muslims, of dialogue between different
cultures and religions, and of the promotion of basic public

The synod also said, "We condemn violence and
terrorism from wherever it may proceed as well as all
religious extremism. We condemn all forms of racism,
anti-Semitism, anti-Christianism and Islamophobia and we call
upon the religions to assume their responsibility to promote
dialogue between cultures and civilisations in our region and
in the entire world."