The Vatican has prepared a document to be discussed during the upcoming October meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and approximately 150 priests from the Middle East. The meeting, to be held at the Vatican, will focus on Christians in the Middle East.The document states that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the trigger of all conflicts in the Middle East, and that the continued Israeli occupation is pushing the Christians out of the Middle East.
The document further states that those who choose to remain in the region face harsh conditions due to the conflict, and that the occupation is hindering religious freedom.
Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that the document also states that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has a significant effect on the whole region, especially “since fundamentalists are using Islam in a way that affects the Christians in Iraq and Egypt”, according to the document.
The document also states that all conflicts in the Middle East are related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and that ending this conflict would lead to ending all other related conflicts.
It also added that the Israeli occupation is hindering religious freedoms as Israel controls the areas that contain holy Christian sites and limits access of Christian Palestinians to those sites which pushes them to immigrate.
The Vatican held a press conference two days ago and declared its document. A reporters asked Vatican officials about their stance regarding settlements in East Jerusalem, but they said that they do not intervene in political issues, and only discuss religious issues and issues that affect the Christians in the region.