Jerusalem, May 25 IANS | 2 months ago

Pope Francis Sunday afternoon urged Israelis and the Palestinians to search for a peaceful solution to their conflict.


On his arrival at the Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv at the start of his visit to Israel, Pope Francis, in his address, focused on the need to strive for a two-state solution and to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Xinhua reported.

"There is no other way," the pope said, adding that peace will "become a reality and will not remain a dream".

Israelis have the right to live in peace and security and that the Palestinians have the right to live in a state of their own, he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Pope Francis that his visit "is a chance to show the true Israel, an island of tolerance, assuring the rights of all".

"We are committed to maintain the status quo at sites holy to Christians, Muslims and Jews," Netanyahu added.

The Pope also extended an invitation to Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a visit to Bethlehem earlier Sunday for to visit the Vatican for "common prayer for peace".

Pope Francis, who is currently on the second leg of a three-day visit to the Middle East, arrived in Israel Sunday afternoon, after spending Saturday in Jordan and the beginning of Sunday at the Palestinian territories in the West Bank.

(Posted on 25-05-2014)