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The Pope's visit to Israel, Palestine, Israel, Vatican

Fadlullah: The Pope's position requires that he announces that Israel represents the biggest lie and crime

His Eminence, the Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, issued a statement on the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Israel. The following is the text of the statement:

Nowadays, the world, particularly the Arab world and the countries that contributed effectively in establishing the entity of Israel on the Palestinian land, is preparing to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the rise of this entity. This celebration is not only meant to take a nominal aspect, but also to become a global political demonstration that disseminates messages in all directions; messages saying that Israel which started as an idea adopted by the western administrations that promoted and protected it over the past decades is one of the most consecrated and nonnegotiable facts in the region. Therefore, the Arabs and Muslims should adjust their political movement to fit the interest of this entity, not the opposite.

At the same time, we notice that the western commitment to Israel, namely by the United States and the European Union countries, is on the rise whenever they feel that the Jewish occupiers are in danger. For example, during the Israeli war on Lebanon in July 2006, the West secured all the military requirements needed for this war, not to mention its support for Israel's war on Gaza and the full political cover for its crimes in the Security Council to the extent that some UN Security Council resolutions were issued to protect Israel. As such, the United Nations itself, whose humanitarian headquarters in Gaza were destroyed by Israel, was not allowed to call this entity for account or conduct serious investigations with its leaders, under a guise of false excuses. Moreover, the American and European attempts made today to urge the Israeli Government to make concessions and engage in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority or adopt the two-state solution, falls in the context of protecting this enemy from itself, because the western administrations' deadly defense of the Israeli mistakes was revealed, and the United States' political and economic policies have proven wrong. Later on, when the United States regains its economic balance and international prestige and ends its increasing predicament in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iraq, it will return to applying pressures on the Arabs so that they strip themselves off the political fig leaves which have proven to be false, akin to the recent talk about withdrawing the right of return from the Arab peace initiative.

In view of this rising concern with Israel following a wave of major terrorist crimes it has committed in Lebanon, Palestine, and the Gaza Strip over the past years, we realize very well that this political sympathy with Israel is meant to turn to counter-pressures on the Arabs and Muslims. In addition, the entire world and its religious figures, are meant to adopt the idea of the unquestionable state of Israel, not only on the basis of the myth upon which this entity was established, but also to make this myth sweep all the historical facts in the region and invade its reality, after it attempted to bury its Muslim and Christian history. For example, the Jewish occupiers oppressed the Muslims and Christians in Palestine and offended Jesus (a.s.) and Virgin Mary (a.s.), not to mention their repeated offenses against Prophet Muhammad (p). Hence, we hope the Pope of the Vatican does not become a tool to consecrate this entity with its previous myths and current terrorist behaviors and wars that are meant to target new positions in the region and enjoy political and religious covers. 

The Pope has committed a great sin last year when he thanked God because "the Jews returned to the lands of their ancestors" and was in line with the plans of the arrogant and criminal powers who announced a war on the poor people and the real owners of the land that were embraced by Jesus (a.s.) who kicked the thieves from his temple. So as a rule, the Pope should imitate Jesus and speak out against the usurpers of the nations and the terrorists of the world, at the forefront of whom are the Jewish occupiers. His visit to Palestine on the anniversary of the establishment of this entity should not be part of the political and religious movement aimed at consecrating this entity and empowering it with political and spiritual confidence after it was shaken from inside and as the emigration figures began to escalate in the wake of its wars and carnages in Lebanon and Gaza and Palestine.

We call upon the Pope who failed to espouse the appropriate religious position during the aggressive Israeli war on Gaza and towards the heinous Israeli massacres against the Palestinian people to embark on practical steps that befit his spiritual position and Christian mission, by repudiating injustice and calling for lifting off the brutal embargo on Gaza at least, although we believe that the Pope should announce that Israel represents the biggest lie and crime that was hurled at the Arab and Islamic world which was besieged and contained in the plotted political game. This position also applies to many religious references, whether Muslims, Christians, or Jews.

In this regard, we stress that asking the Pope to apologize for his previous stands on Islam is useless, and regarding this apology as the only problem of the Muslims shifts the attention off the real problem which lies in the absence of the genuine Christian values from the positions of the religious figures vis--vis issues that clearly clash with the most basic religious values on which all religions throughout history have agreed. The religions that emphasized the principle of justice can not recognize the legitimacy of injustice, violence, usurpation, and occupation, and especially the practices of the Jews against the Palestinians and the Arabs. Accordingly, those who assume holy religious positions can not serve as a cover for such practices.