- - Friday, May 30, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Unfortunately, the actions of Pope Francis in honoring Holocaust survivors and his appearances at the tomb of Theodore Herzl, the Western Wall and Yad Vashem come too little, too late to compensate for his previous displays both in Jordan and the Palestinian territories (“Pope Francis goes off script in Jerusalem and calls Muslims ‘dear brothers,’” Web, May 26).

The pope’s recent visit to the Middle East did not enhance the chance for peace in the region, as he weighed heavily on the side of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority in his actions and words.

The pope made five mistakes during his trip. First, instead of honoring the link between Judaism and Christianity by visiting Israel initially, he chose to journey instead to a majority-Muslim nation, Jordan. Second, he declared on arriving in Ramallah that he recognized a Palestinian state, which is far from a settled issue. Third, he chose to pose with Mr. Abbas before a poster accusing Israel of occupation, brutality and ethnic cleansing. Fourth, he was shown praying at a security wall covered with anti-Israel graffiti that compared Bethlehem to the Warsaw Ghetto, a wall that, contrary to the posted message, does allow access to Bethlehem, Finally, instead of offering a meeting between the acknowledged leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Pope Francis chose Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres. Mr. Peres holds the figurehead of the presidency in Israel, but Benjamin Netanyahu is the nation’s elected leader.

Perhaps all of these gestures were designed to protect the dwindling Christian population in Arab lands, but instead they just disqualified the pope as a neutral and evenhanded arbitrator in any proposed peace talks.

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring

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