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– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
The Vatican expressing special interest in the
Temple Mount and other holy sites in Jerusalem.
Papal Official Wants to
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
The Arab League and a Vatican official separately, but simultaneously,
are campaigning for Israel to divide Jerusalem. The PA recently asked to
the Pope to help make the capital part of a new state.
The Arab League has joined Palestinian Authority (PA) officials in
exploiting Israel's policy of not allowing Arabs in Jerusalem, who are
Israeli citizens, to vote in the PA legislative elections scheduled for
It told the French news agency AFP that the ban would solidify Israel's
claim that the entire capital is part of the country. AFP termed the
predominantly Arab neighborhoods of the city "occupied east Jerusalem."
The papal representative in Israel, Nazareth native Michael Sabbah, told
reporters, "This [partition] wall must not exist. One day it will not
exist. The Palestinian people should regain their liberty and land with
a state and a capital and the Israeli people should have security."
His statements are in opposition to previous Vatican statements, which
have suggested that Jerusalem be established as an international city.
During a recent visit to the Vatican by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Pope
Benedict accepted a document granting him unlimited access to Bethlehem,
as well as a passport to the city making him "the first citizen of
Bethlehem," according to the PA radio network.
Abbas told the Pope, "If we can't hold democratic elections in Jerusalem
it will be difficult to do it in the other zones." The Arab League and
the PA have seized the issue to put the blame on Israel if the elections
are canceled. If Israel backs down and allows Arab Israelis to vote, it
would help support the PA demand that the city become the capital of a
new Arab state.