VATICAN CITY, JULY 29, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See responded to accusations from Israel that John Paul II repeatedly failed to condemn terrorism against Jews, with a list of some 20 citations of his public statements.
The unsigned communiqué issued by the Vatican press office, responds to statements made Tuesday by Nimrod Barkan, an Israeli foreign ministry official, to the Jerusalem Post.
Barkan said that not condemning terrorism in Israel had been Vatican policy for years, and “now that there is a new Pope, we have decided to deal with it.”
The official was referring to statements made by Israel’s foreign ministry on Monday that protested Benedict XVI’s failure to condemn the July 12 terrorist attack in Netanya, in last Sunday’s Angelus address that expressed sympathy for bombings in other nations.
During the papacy of Pope John Paul II, continued Barkan, Israel “quietly” protested in Rome the Pope’s lack of condemnation of attacks in Israel.
He said Israel has now decided to go public with the matter.
The Vatican statement said that the “The untenability of the groundless accusations” against Pope Benedict XVI “cannot but be clear to the people who made them.”
The note continued: “Perhaps it is also the 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 petitions to the Holy See on the subject, and requesting that with the new pontificate the Holy See change its attitude.”
The text affirms that “John Paul II’s declarations condemning all forms of terrorism, and condemning single acts of terrorism committed against Israel, were numerous and public.”
Appended to the statement were some 20 citations of public declarations of condemnation of terrorism, which extend from the first months of John Paul II’s pontificate to Feb. 13, just weeks before his death.
The Holy See added that, for several reasons, “not every attack against Israel could be followed by an immediate public condemnation.”
One reason, the Vatican stated, is “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,” said the statement.
“It is sad and surprising” continued the communiqué, “that it has gone unobserved how, for the past 26 years, 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,” it said.