From Nick Squires, Bethlehem and Robert Tait in Jerusalem writing for The London Telegraph: (bold emphasis ours)
It was an unprecedented gesture which delighted Palestinians. They were also pleased that during his various addresses in Bethlehem, Francis used the term “State of Palestine”.
His decision to travel to Bethlehem by helicopter direct from Amman, where he spent the first day of his three-day visit to the Holy Land, was also interpreted by both Christian and Muslim Palestinians as tacit recognition of the fight for a Palestinian homeland.
The fact that he came straight from Jordan is a sign that the Pope sees Palestine as a state,” said Ilias Abdo, 59, a Christian clergyman from Bethlehem. “That was a deliberate decision – it was not by chance. This is a political visit as much as a religious one. He is hinting at recognition of an independent Palestinian state . . .
But an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman played down the pope’s decision to pray at the separation barrier . . .
We had expected that the pope would make a human gesture. There’s nothing political here,” the spokesman said, referring to the praying incident.
The Vatican has recognised Palestine as a state a long time ago, not that we liked at the time . . .
I expect we will now be treated to the usual Church’s “Establishment” spokespersons/apologists explaining how Francis’ insulting gestures on behalf of Palestinian terrorists “weren’t really gestures on behalf of Palestinian terrorists”. Cardinal Dolan will likely have to chip in with another of his translations for us dopey Catholics who just don’t seem to understand what a capitalism-loving, Israel-respecting, non-political guy the Pontiff really is.
Let’s hear it for the “Hope and Change” Pope. (How long before he gets around to calling for gays in the Swiss Guards and worldwide “free’ healthcare (“FrancisCare” anyone?).
Read about other aspects to Pope Francis’ trip to the Holy Lands, including Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s likely reaction in this Newsmax article. Note the comment sections for still more perspective. DLH