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Monday, November 20, 2006


VATICAN CITY, NOV 18, 2006 (VIS) - On November 17, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, participated in the tenth emergency special session of the 61st U.N. General Assembly, which is meeting to consider the question of: "Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory."

  The archbishop began his address with an expression of his delegation's "closeness to the civilian populations suffering the consequences of recent violence. I would also like to convey the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI to join him in prayer 'that God will enlighten the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, as well as those nations that have a particular responsibility in the region, so that they may do all they can to put an end to the bloodshed, increase humanitarian aid initiatives and encourage the immediate resumption of direct, serious, and concrete negotiations.'

  "While regretting a new toll of deaths and condemning the spiral of violence caused by both military operations and terrorist attacks," he added, "we cannot but note that these horrendous occurrences form part of a much larger issue which, as we all know, has festered far too long in the region. Each time we hold an emergency meeting such as this, we recite the seemingly endless list of difficulties and differences separating Israelis and Palestinians, which make it all the more urgent for States to address the problem of the fundamental injustice at the heart of this question. To make a litany of symptoms without addressing the root cause is hardly helpful to either party. Each is forced to live under the horrible tensions of potential explosive acts of terror or military incursions that result in death, casualties and the destruction of infrastructures.

  "The centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the persistent instability in the Middle East cannot be ignored. It is a sad fact that the international community has failed to engage the Israelis and Palestinians in significant and substantive dialogue, along with resolution of disputes, in order to bring stability and peace to both."

  He concluded: "The only peace with a chance of lasting in the region will be a truly comprehensive one. It will involve all major players in the Middle East region and it will have to be based upon bilateral peace treaties and multilateral agreements on all questions of common concern, including water, environment and trade."

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