Sharon's Statements Lift Hopes in the Holy Land

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 14, 2003 ( Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s indications that Israel is prepared to give up some of its settlements to achieve peace with the Palestinians, has inspired hope among Catholics.

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In an interview Sunday with the newspaper Haaretz, the Israeli Prime Minister acknowledged that the end of the Iraqi war might foster a peace process that leads to “a Palestinian state.”

In statements to Vatican Radio today, Franciscan Father Giovanni Battistelli, Custos of the Holy Land, said: “I hope this will really be implemented now.”

“I only hope that the times won’t be too long and that talks have started,” he said. “We are really in the hands of these leaders and the fact that they can speak and dialogue is already a hope.”

“For the time being,” the Franciscan added, “to stop the attacks and reprisals is what is most important for this land of ours, which is suffering so much and for so long.”

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