Friday, July 29, 2005

A Firm and Reasonable Response to Israeli Accusations

via Amy Welborn

VATICAN CITY, JUL 29, 2005 (VIS) - Following comments made by Nimrod Barkan, an Israeli foreign ministry official, which appeared in the Jerusalem Post newspaper on July 26, the Holy See Press Office issued the following note yesterday afternoon:

"The untenability of the groundless accusations directed against Pope Benedict XVI for not having mentioned - in comments following the Angelus prayer on July 24 - the July 12 terrorist attack in Netanya, Israel, cannot but be clear to the people who made them. Perhaps it is also for this reason that an attempt has been made to uphold the accusations by shifting attention to supposed silences of John Paul II on attacks against Israel in past years, even inventing repeated Israeli government petitons to the Holy See on the subject, and requesting that with the new pontificate the Holy See change its attitude.

"On this matter, it should be noted that:

"John Paul II's declarations condemning all forms of terrorism, and condemning single acts of terrorism committed against Israel, were numerous and public.

"Not every attack against Israel could be followed by an immediate public condemnation. There are various reasons for this, among them the fact that attacks against Israel were sometimes followed by immediate Israeli reactions not always compatible with the norms of international law. It would, consequently, have been impossible to condemn the former and remain silent on the latter.

"Just as the Israeli government understandably does not allow its pronouncements to be dictated by others, neither can the Holy See accept lessons and directives from any other authority concerning the orientation and contents of its own declarations."

The Holy See Press Office note is accompanied by a document recalling some of the statements made by John Paul II between 1979 and February 2005, a month and a half before his death, in which he condemned violence against the civilian population and affirmed the right of the State of Israel to live in security and peace.

"It is sad and surprising" the document concludes, "that it has gone unobserved how, for the past 26 years, Pope John Paul II's voice has been so often raised with force and passion in the dramatic situation in the Holy Land, condemning all terrorist acts and calling for sentiments of humanity and peace. Affirmations that run counter to historical truth can advantage only those who seek to foment animosity and conflict, and certainly do not serve to improve the situation."

3 Comments:

Anonymous Omis said...

It sounds to me like Rome is having some trouble taking criticism.

Attacks in Iraq are frequent, and the response of the U.S. and it's presence there is questionably compatible with international law.

The Vatican should have immediately condemned both acts of terrorism against Israelis, and the disproportionate response of Israel, instead of trying to justify a diplomatic snub.

2:17 PM  
Blogger mamagiglio said...

Attacks in Iraq are frequent.

One might be able to substitute "Israel" for "Iraq" in that above statement.

Point is: the Vatican City-State has supported the existence of the state of Israel for many years. The Holy See has on several occasions tried to establish normal diplomatic relations with the nation of Israel, which seem to be called off by Israel's representatives.

I see this as Israel making a mountain out a mole hill. Should the message from the Holy See have included Israel? Yes. If you're going to condemn one terrorist attack, should you condemn them all? Yes (and the statement did include a catch-all denouncement of terrorism phrase). Should you list all of the terrorist attacks over the last 24 hours in your statement? Well, maybe. Is it a Vatican conspiracy against the nation of Israel? No.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By way of background, many have been offended that--in the aftermath of 7/7 and the Egyptian bombings--public figures and news reports have frequently omitted Israel from the list of countries that have suffered from suicide bombings. (1,000 Israelis killed since the second Intifada). The broader implication being that these attacks, unlike those elsewhere in the world, are somehow justified.

Tony Blair was similarly criticized for this omission. However, he later clarified his statements:

"And one other thing I want to say whilst I am on this subject if I might, neither have they any justification for killing people in Israel either. Let us just get that out of the way as well. There is no justification for suicide bombing whether in Palestine, in Iraq, in London, in Egypt, in Turkey, anywhere, in the United States of America. There is no justification for it period."

How difficult would it have been for the Vatican to have said the same?

3:52 PM  

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