Israeli government tries to undo image of Pope at the wall

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Pope at the wall, from Al Rowwad
Pope at the wall, from Alrowwad culture and theater society

Update: Reuters reports that the Pope and Benjamin Netanyahu differed today over Jesus’s language.

“Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew,” Netanyahu told Francis, at a public meeting in Jerusalem in which the Israeli leader cited a strong connection between Judaism and Christianity.

“Aramaic,” the pope interjected.

“He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew,” Netanyahu shot back.

Catholic Culture reports that the two men differed on two issues, the Aramaic question , and the wall.

Pope Francis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disagreed openly on two topics during their meeting on May 26.

Here are more pictures of the Pope at the wall yesterday. Here’s Haaretz’s account of the historic moment:

12 P.M.: In an unscheduled stop not listed on his published itenerary, Pope Francis descended from his popemobile when it drove past the hulking grey concrete wall that Israel erected 10 years ago during a Palestinian uprising, that divides Bethlehem from the adjacent Jerusalem.
The pope spent several minutes under the shadow of an Israeli watchtower and said a prayer, a Reuters witness said.

The Times:

After describing the overall situation between Israel and the Palestinians as “increasingly unacceptable,” the pope made a dramatic, unscheduled stop at Israel’s contentious concrete barrier separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem, where he prayed and touched his head against the graffiti-covered wall.

Meantime, the Prime Minister of Israel is fighting back against the image that has gone worldwide.

— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) May 26, 2014

Time Magazine, the Washington Post, NPR and the Associated Press have supported his endeavor, captioning the iconic photograph, “Pope Francis touches the wall that divides Israel from the West Bank.” But the wall doesn’t separate the countries. It robs tons of Palestinian land. And it’s not just the West Bank, it’s Palestine. As for the security claim, the absence of Palestinian suicide bombers is a reflection of a Palestinian decision to pursue a nonviolent course, as Mustafa Barghouthi said recentlyuces the wall that divides Israel from the West Bank

The Pope also went to Dheisheh refugee camp. These photos are from the UN Relief and Works Agency.

Pope at Dheishe refugee camp, photo from


Pope at Dheishe refugee camp, photo by


Pope at Dheishe refugee camp, photo at

The Israelis are countering with lots of images of the Pope in Israel. Here he is laying a wreath at Herzl’s grave.
Here he is at Yad Vashem, on youtube. And a still photo, with his good friends in the background:

Pope at Yad Vashem
Pope at Yad Vashem

The AP reports:

Pope Francis honored Jews killed in the Holocaust and other attacks and kissed the hands of Holocaust survivors as he capped his three-day Mideast trip with poignant stops Monday at some of the holiest and most haunting sites for Jews.

Netanyahu got the Pope to stop at a wall for Israeli victims of terror attacks:

I would like to thank Pope Francis for accepting my invitation to visit the memorial for terror victims

Pope prays at wall honoring victims of terror
Pope prays at wall honoring victims of terror

Mazin Qumsiyeh noted this encounter below with the Pope in Bethlehem:

Message to the Pope at the wall in Bethlehem
Message to the Pope at the wall in Bethlehem

And Qumsiyeh writes:

The Pope later went on to Tel Aviv to be was sandwiched between two Zionist Polish liars who continue to build walls of hate and destruction: Persky (aka Peres) and Mileikowsky (aka Netanyahu). The Pope had to listen as both atheists said that God gave this land to the Jews and that Israel was “the
land of the Jewish people” and is a “democracy that guarantees freedom of religion”! Unfortunately, the Pope is also forced to lay a wreath at the tomb of Theodore Herzl (in addition to the obligatory stops at “Yad Vashem” and Herod’s retaining wall [the Western Wall). Herzl is another atheist who is “credited”
with organizing a world-wide Zionist movement that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths (not counting those crimes committed by its subservient armies like the US army killing Iraqis etc).

Oh and I missed this from the Times:

On Sunday, Francis became the first pope to travel directly into Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory and to call it the “State of Palestine,” affirming the 2012 United Nations resolution upgrading its status.

But the article later says:

John Paul II’s visit in 2000 “was a huge revolution,” Professor Ramon said, particularly his placement of a note committing “to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant” between the stones of the Western Wall.

The NYT doesn’t regard occupied East Jerusalem as occupied territory?

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As they say, you can’t unring that bell. No matter how they try to plaster it over with their machinations and complaining, it is now firmly stuck in the minds of millions. I especially love how this Pope has not invited the Netanyahu to the Vatican for prayer. From the BG article that Walker linked to this morning: ” Why do you think he invited Peres and not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who holds the… Read more »

Yeah, this Pope has the right instincts, but he’s being rolled over–it’s now down to tit-for-tat iconic images, Palestinian victims versus Jewish victims. I see no primetime media discussing this rationally, especially the giant imbalance of power. Today, on CSPAN WJ, the guest was an Irish American POTUS historian. He was bombarded, apropos US Veterans Memorial holiday, with callers who questioned the US-Israel “special relationship,” mostly by pointing to Walt & Mearsheimer’s book, PNAC, the… Read more »

”Israel will ‘speak to the Vatican’ about Pope’s unscheduled stop near an Israeli-built barricade’

‘Speak’ , demand, threaten, summon, whine, accuse, scream like monkeys…all you want boys….the fact is the world is tired of you.

>> PM Netanyahu: “I explained to the Pope that building the security fence prevented many more victims that Palestinian terror planned to harm” King Bibi likely failed to explain to the pope that Zio-supremacists like him wish for Israeli terror: – to keep as much as possible of the land it has stolen and colonized; – to avoid having to honour its commitments under international law; – to avoid any responsibility or accountability for past… Read more »

As for the security claim, the absence of Palestinian suicide bombers is a reflection of a Palestinian decision to pursue a nonviolent course.

Sure, it is just a coincidence that the number of people killed by Palestinian suicide bombers has gone down significantly as the security barrier has been expanded. Who exactly is it that is trying to change the image of the wall?