- Title: WEST BANK: Pope Francis prays next to West Bank barrier
- Date: 25th May 2014
- Summary: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK (MAY 25, 2014) (AGENCY POOL) POPE FRANCIS IN HIS POPE MOBILE POPE WALKING TOWARDS SEPARATION BARRIER POPE WALKING PAST GRAFFITI SAYING 'FREE PALESTINE' TO TOUCH WALL VARIOUS OF POPE PLACING HAND ON WALL AND APPEARING TO SAY A PRAYER TILT DOWN FROM LOOKOUT POST ON WALL TO POPE POPEMOBILE LEAVING / ISRAELI LOOKOUT POST IN WALL CONVOY DRIVING AWAY
- Embargoed: 9th June 2014 13:00
- Location: West bank
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: International Relations,Politics,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA2C8KJB18UUMYWE43YZDIGTBIC
- Story Text: Pope Francis, on a visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Sunday (May 25), made an unscheduled stop at the wall between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
The pontiff descended from his popemobile when it drove past the hulking gray concrete wall that Israel erected 10 years ago during a Palestinian uprising, that divides Bethlehem from the adjacent Jerusalem.
Israel says the wall is needed for security reasons. The pope spent several minutes under the shadow of an Israeli watchtower and said a prayer, a Reuters witness said.
"Free Palestine", said graffiti near where he paused.
Pope Francis made a plea for peace at the start of his pilgrimage to Bethlehem, believed to be by Christians the birthplace of Jesus, saying the prolonged Israel-Palestinian conflict had become unacceptable.
On the second leg of a three-day visit to the Middle East, Francis delighted his hosts by referring directly to the "state of Palestine", giving support for their bid for full statehood recognition in the face of a paralysed peace process.
However Francis, speaking at an official reception in the Palestinian-run city in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, made clear that a negotiated accord was needed, calling on leaders from both sides to show the necessary courage to forge a deal.
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