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Pope honours Holocaust victims in Israel

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Pope honours Holocaust victims in Israel

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Pope Benedict XVI has honoured the victims of the Holocaust at the start of his trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. This is expected to be the most diplomatically sensitive part of his Middle East tour.

He was greeted at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport by President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Pope arrived from Jordan where he had stressed his desire for better relations between Christians and Muslims. In his arrival address he invoked the memory of the Holocaust victims. “It is right and fitting that during my stay in Israel I will have (this) opportunity to honour the six million victims of the shoah and to pray that humanity will never again witness a crime of such magnitude,” he said. The Pontiff also indicated his support for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. It is a long standing Vatican policy but is at odds with the position of the new Israeli government. With such controversial issues on the agenda a security clampdown has been imposed in Israel and the West Bank for the Pope’s visit. As well as regional politics, the sometimes fraught relations between the Vatican and Israel are also under the spotlight in this trip.