Catholic Church sides with the Palestinians


The Catholic Church has seemingly sided with the Palestinians regarding the intensifying conflict surrounding the Temple Mount, placing the blame on Israel and referring to the site by its Muslim name.

In an interview on Vatican Radio, one bishop contended that there has been no Palestinian violence.

Appearing before a crowd on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Pope Francis said that he viewed “with trepidation the grave tensions and violence” surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The Pope urged people to pray for the sake of Jerusalem, saying, “I feel the need to express a distressed appeal for moderation and dialogue.”

Violence at the Temple Mount began on July 14 when two Israeli policemen who were guarding the entrance to the site were murdered by three Palestinian terrorists who were later killed by Israeli police.

Following the incident, the Israeli government closed the Temple Mount site to all Muslim visitors. After the site was equipped with advanced security measures, including walk-through metal detectors, it was reopened on July 16 to limited Muslim worship.

The Islamic Waqf, the Muslim trust which controls the Temple Mount, released a statement condemning the metal detectors and calling for a boycott of the site.

Muslim crowds rioted over the installation of the metal detectors, clashing with Israeli police. Three Palestinians were killed in the riots.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem released a statement signed by the leaders of all 13 Christian communities in Jerusalem which condemned the violence, but utilized language that clearly favored the Palestinians in the conflict and identified the Temple Mount by its Arabic names.

“We, the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, express our serious concern regarding recent escalation in violent developments around Haram ash-Sharif and our grief for the loss of human life and strongly condemn any act of violence,” the statement read.

The statement pointed to a change in the “status quo,” referring to the addition of metal detectors that “could easily lead to serious and unpredictable consequences.”

“We worried about any change to historical (Status Quo) situation in al-Aqsa Mosque (Haram ash-Sharif) and its courtyard, and in the holy city of Jerusalem. Any threat to its continuity and integrity could easily lead to serious and unpredictable consequences, which would be most unwelcome in the present tense religious climate.

“We value the continued custody of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy places in Jerusalem and the Holy Land which guarantees the right for all Muslims to free access and worship to al Aqsa Mosque according to the prevailing Status Quo.

“We renew our call that the historical Status Quo governing these sites be fully respected, for the sake of peace and reconciliation to the whole community, and we pray for a just and lasting peace in the whole region and all its peoples.”

The statement did not reference the Muslim terror attack that incited the rioting.

According to Bishop Munib Younan, head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land, metal detectors are a form of “collective punishment” which should not be permitted “because of an attack by two persons.”

“It’s essential to find a political solution to end the Israeli occupation, which is considered illegal,” the bishop said during an interview on Vatican Radio.

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