Of course, the authorities of the Catholic Church do not defend the existence of Israel -- which its enemies want to annihilate, and is ultimately at stake in the conflict -- with the same explicit, powerful determination with which they raise their voices in defense of the "nonnegotiable" principles concerning human life.By the way, some Romans proposed to boycott Jewish-owned stores.
This has been seen in recent days. The authorities of the Church, and Benedict XVI himself, have raised their voices in condemnation of "the massive violence that has broken out in the Gaza Strip in response to other violence" only after Israel began bombing the installations of the terrorist movement Hamas in that territory. Not before. Not when Hamas was tightening its brutal grip on Gaza, massacring the Muslims faithful to president Abu Mazen, humiliating the tiny Christian communities, and launching rockets every day against the Israelis in the surrounding area.
About Hamas and its vaunted "mission" of wiping the Jewish state from the face of the earth, about Hamas as an outpost for Iran's expansionist aims in the Middle East, about Hamas as an ally of Hezbollah and Syria, the Vatican authorities have never raised the red alert. They have never shown that they see Hamas as a deadly danger to Israel and an obstacle to the birth of a Palestinian state, in addition to its being a nightmare for the Arab regimes in the area, from Egypt to Jordan to Saudi Arabia.
In the December 29-30 issue of "L'Osservatore Romano," a front-page commentary by Luca M. Possati, checked word by word by the Vatican secretariat of state, claimed that "for the Jewish state, the only possible idea of security must come through dialogue with all, even those who do not recognize it." Read: Hamas.
And in the same issue of the Vatican newspaper -- in a statement also approved by the secretariat of state -- the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, after decrying Israel's "disproportionate" military reaction, reiterated the same concept: "We must have the humility to sit at the same table and listen to each other." Not a word about Hamas and its prejudicial refusal to accept the very existence of Israel. . .
There remains another reservation, at the Vatican, about the acceptance of Israel. Not about the existence of the state, but about its actions. This reservation is expressed in the most varied forms and on all sorts of occasions, and consists in repeating, every time a conflict erupts, the judgment that the Arabs are the victims, and the Israelis are the oppressors. Even Islamist terrorism is traced back to this basic cause:
"Many problems that are now attributed almost exclusively to cultural and religious differences have their origin in countless economic and social injustices. This is also true in the complex history of the Palestinian people. In the Gaza Strip, human dignity has been trampled on for decades; hatred and murderous fundamentalism are nourished."
These remarks -- the latest from the Vatican authorities -- come from Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the pontifical council for justice and peace, in an interview with "L'Osservatore Romano" on January 1, 2009.
Not a word about the fact that Israel withdrew from Gaza in the summer of 2005, and that Hamas seized power there by force in June of 2007.
(via The Corner, reader Anita)