Vatican Rejects Anti-Israel Comments
At an interreligious meeting in Jerusalem this evening, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, the chief Islamic judge of the Palestinian Authority, issued a harsh denunciation of Israel in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI.
Shortly after the event, papal spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi denounced the Palestinian representative’s comments, The Jerusalem Post reported.
“The intervention of Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi was not previewed by the organizers of the interreligious meeting that took place at Notre Dame Centre in Jerusalem,” Father Lombardi said in a statement, the Post reported. “In a meeting dedicated to dialogue, this intervention was a direct negation of what [it] should be.”
Said Father Lombardi, “We hope that such an incident will not damage the mission of the Holy Father aiming at promoting peace and interreligious dialogue, as he has clearly affirmed in many occasions in this pilgrimage.”
According to the Post, “Tamimi called upon Muslims and Christians to unite against what he said were the murderous Israelis.” He also declared Jerusalem was the eternal Palestinian capital.
The interreligious dialogue meeting took place at the Notre Dame Jerusalem Center.
Upon his arrival in Israel earlier today, the Pope issued a passionate appeal for peace between Israelis and Palestinians and condemned anti-Semitism, as reported in this video posted by the Vatican at its YouTube site: