Fue en la ceremonia de bienvenida encabezada por el presidente Mahmud Abbas. Al manifestar su solidaridad con la causa, Benedicto XVI afirmó: «Sé cuánto habéis sufrido». Y también se mostró afectado por la situación de los refugiados.

El papa Benedicto XVI, de visita en la cuna del cristianismo, dijo hoy a los palestinos que entiende sus sufrimientos bajo la ocupación israelí y expresó su más firme apoyo hasta ahora a la creación de un Estado palestino.

Para llegar a Belén, el lugar donde la tradición cristiana sitúa el nacimiento de Jesús, el Papa debió caminar entre altos bloques de concreto que conforman el muro de separación que Israel construyó para separar o encerrar zonas palestinas de Cisjordania.

«Señor presidente, la Santa Sede apoya el derecho de su pueblo a una patria palestina soberana en la tierra de sus antepasados, en seguridad y paz con sus vecinos, dentro de fronteras reconocidas internacionalmente», dijo el Papa a su llegada, parado junto al mandatario palestino, Mahmud Abbas.

La exhortación llegó en el tercer día de una gira por Tierra Santa destinada principalmente a alentar el diálogo interreligioso, pero que hasta ahora se vio opacada por críticas de israelíes que consideran que el Pontífice alemán no expresó adecuadamente su remordimiento por el Holocausto.

Presionado asimismo por los palestinos para que llame la atención sobre sus difíciles condiciones de vida bajo la ocupación israelí, Benedicto XVI también pidió por un Estado palestino el lunes pasado a su llegada a Israel para una visita de cinco días.

El primer ministro israelí, el nacionalista Benjamin Netanyahu, dice que los palestinos no están listos para gobernarse a sí mismos y resiste presiones internacionales para expresar públicamente su apoyo a la llamada solución de dos Estados.

En Belén, el Papa mostró solidaridad con los 1,4 millones de palestinos que viven aislados en la Franja de Gaza, la región costera controlada por el movimiento islamista Hamas y sometida a bloqueo por Israel y Egipto desde hace dos años. El Pontífice no tiene previsto visitar la zona.

A principios de año, Israel lanzó una ofensiva de tres semanas en Gaza en la que mató a más de 1.300 palestinos, la mayoría de ellos civiles, y destruyó miles de casas.

«De manera especial, extiendo mi corazón a los peregrinos de la devastada Gaza: les pido llevar a sus familias y comunidades mi cálido abrazo y mi pesar por las pérdidas, las penurias y el sufrimiento que han tenido que soportar», dijo el Papa a miles de palestinos que concurrieron a una misa al aire libre.

«Por favor, estén seguros de mi solidaridad con ustedes en este trabajo inmenso de reconstrucción que ahora está por delante, y que rezo para que el bloqueo sea levantado pronto», agregó.

Benedicto XVI también urgió a los palestinos a no recurrir a la violencia ni al terrorismo para conseguir sus objetivos.

«A los muchos jóvenes en los territorios palestinos les hago hoy este llamado: no permitan que la pérdida de vidas y la destrucción que han sufrido susciten amargura o resentimiento en sus corazones. Tengan el valor de resistir cualquier tentación que puedan sentir de recurrir a actos de violencia o terrorismo», pidió el santo padre.


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