There's Room for All in Holy Land, Says Pontiff

Follows Situation in Gaza With «Trepidation»

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 18, 2009 ( As a team of world leaders begins to negotiate a lasting peace in Gaza, Benedict XIV affirms that there is room for everybody in the Holy Land.

After praying the Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square the Pope said he continues to follow the conflict in Gaza «with deep trepidation.»

«Let us also bring before the Lord today the hundreds of children, old people, women who are innocent victims of the inconceivable violence, the wounded, those who are grieving for their loved ones and those who have lost their possessions,» he said.

«I also invite you to accompany with your prayers the efforts of numerous persons of good will who are trying to stop the tragedy,» the Pontiff continued. «I sincerely hope that it is seen how to profit, with wisdom, from the space opened up to reinstate the truce and move toward peaceful and durable solutions.»

«In this regard, I renew my encouragement of those who, on the one side and on the other, believe that in the Holy Land there is room for all, that they help their people to rise up from the rubble and terror and courageously take up again the thread of dialogue in justice and truth,» affirmed Benedict XVI. «This is the only way that they can effectively unlock a future of peace for the children of that dear land!»

Egypt hosted a summit today to seek a lasting truce in the Gaza Strip after the 22-day-long Israeli campaign to stop rocket fire by Hamas killed at least 1,300 Palestinians.

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