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Pope Benedict XVI called on Israelis and Palestinian to put aside their "grievances and divisions" and work toward reconciliation in the Middle East during a speech in the West Bank.

"Just and peaceful coexistence among the peoples of the Middle East can only be achieved through a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, in which the rights and dignity of all are acknowledged and upheld," the pontiff said Wednesday at a speech attended by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

"Mr. President, the Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbors, within internationally recognized borders," Benedict said. "Even if, at present, that goal seems far from being realized, I urge you and all your people to keep alive the flame of hope, hope that a way can be found of meeting the legitimate aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians for peace and stability." Read full article »

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