Vatican-Israel terror battle grows
Carried By Israeli Global News
July 30, 2005
Pope Benedict XVI is immersed in the first big diplomatic crisis
of his papacy with Israel.
The row erupted after the Vatican issued an unusually blunt statement criticizing Israel for its response to Palestinian attacks, The Guardian newspaper in Britain reported Friday.
The Vatican's stinging rebuke came after Israel demanded to know
why the Pope did not refer to a Palestinian suicide bombing in remarks he made
on Sunday condemning terrorist attacks in London and Sharm el-Sheikh.
In a 1,300-word communique, the Vatican said: "It has not
always been possible to follow every attack against Israel with a public declaration
It said one reason for this was that "the attacks on Israel were sometimes followed by immediate Israeli reactions not always compatible with the norms of international law ... It would thus be impossible to condemn the [terrorist operations] and pass over the [Israeli retaliation] in silence".
The statement also expressed irritation with the reaction of the
Israeli government to the Pope's original comments and said it was not prepared
to "take lessons or instructions from any other authority on the content
and direction of its own statements".
Israel has repeatedly demanded that other governments recognize
Palestinian attacks as part of an international Islamist campaign against western
democracy, therefore implicitly not connected to its own actions in the occupied
The Israeli foreign ministry called in the Vatican's envoy on Monday to complain that the Pope, in condemning terrorist attacks in several countries, had "deliberately" omitted mention of a July 12 suicide bombing in the coastal city of Netanya in which five Israelis died. The Pope's spokesman replied that the pontiff had explicitly indicated he was referring to all the recent attacks.