Palestinian Christians battle Israel barrier route

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Palestinians in this Christian village are hoping the new pope can succeed where others have failed — pressing Israel to drop plans to build a stretch of its West Bank separation barrier through their picturesque valley.


Since Vatican properties are affected, residents have appealed to the Roman Catholic Church to use more of its significant influence in the Holy Land to reroute the barrier, even as local Catholic leaders hold a special protest Mass in threatened orchards each week.

The Vatican has called on Israel not to seize the lands, but local Palestinian Catholics want the new pontiff to lean more heavily on Israel.

"We have hope in the new pope, as he is close to the poor and the oppressed," said the Rev. Ibrahim Shomali, the Palestinian priest who has been leading the protests.

Israel has been building the barrier since 2002 in response to a wave of suicide bombings early last decade that killed hundreds of people. Israel says the barrier is needed to keep out Palestinian attackers.

Palestinians say the barrier is a land grab because it zigzags through the West Bank. When complete, nearly 10 percent of the West Bank, including many Israeli settlements, would lie on Israel's side, according to the United Nations. Roughly two-thirds of the 450-mile structure has been built.

Written By: Associated Press
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  1. If I may state the obvious, the reason they are “appealing to the Roman Catholic church” is because they figured out long ago that appealing to the Islamic terrorists that necessitated the building of the barrier would not only be a complete exercise in futility, but could easily get them killed.

    • In reply to #2 by A3Kr0n:

      The reason they are “appealing to the Roman Catholic church” is because they are Catholic.

      …and know that if it hurts the vatican’s property prices, they might act.

  2. Israel has some magic get out of jail free card. It can take other people’s territory, set up an apartheid system, build a “Berlin wall”, attack other nations first strike, be a theocracy and somehow is OK. The suffering in WWII excuses everything. No wonder the Arab nations detest it so much. It is as though to the west its sins are invisible.

    • In reply to #4 by Roedy:

      Israel has some magic get out of jail free card. It can take other people’s territory, set up an apartheid system, build a “Berlin wall”, attack other nations first strike, be a theocracy and somehow is OK.

      There’s a big difference, Roedy. Israel had to put up that wall to keep people out. The Soviet Union had to put up that wall to keep people in. Furthermore, Israel is not a theocracy. It has churches, mosques, and a huge B’hai shrine. It is only a “Jewish state” in the same sense that Utah is a “Mormon state.” The majority of the population might be of a certain religion, but one does not have to subscribe to that particular religion to live there.

      • In reply to #7 by IDLERACER:

        In reply to #4 by Roedy:

        Israel has some magic get out of jail free card. It can take other people’s territory, set up an apartheid system, build a “Berlin wall”, attack other nations first strike, be a theocracy and somehow is OK.

        There’s a big difference, Roedy. Israel had to put up that wall t…

        Can an atheist run for office? Can one get out of military service by attending the Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

        • In reply to #8 by zengardener:

          Can an atheist run for office? Can one get out of military service by attending the Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

          As the previous poster just pointed out, not only is the answer to the first question a definite “yes,” but they have actually gotten elected numerous times. As for your second question, if I’m not mistaken, the ability to do that ended as of the last elections they held. Now the ultra-orthodox aren’t even exempt.

  3. I think it’s a shame that Israel must build a barrier through it’s land to prevent Islamic terrorists blowing up, killing and injuring Israeli citizens. It’s a terrible shame the Islamic world can’t learn to live in peace.

  4. “We have hope in the new pope, as he is close to the poor and the oppressed,” said the Rev. Ibrahim Shomali

    He’s not familiar with the Vatican City then?

    Interestingly though, we may finally get to see who’s more powerful, the omnipotent father or his death dodging son.
    Or maybe there will be no response to all this looking to the sky asking for help and the governments will do as they please. Yup, I’m going with that even if the thought of a celestial farther-son argument is appealing.

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