Hamas' founder and leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasin said the Palestinian
movement and Palestinians in general were welcoming Pope John Pall II who
is expected to arrive in Palestine next week.
"Islam commands us to welcome and be hospitable to our guests, therefore
welcome the visit of the Pope and hope it will be successful."
Yasin said he hoped the Pope would see for himself the extent of
oppression meted out to the Palestinian people by the Zionists since
Israel's creation fifty years ago.
"We would like to see the Pope stand with the oppressed against the
oppressors, with the tormented against the tormentors, with the aggressed
upon against the oppressors."
The Pope is expected to visit the Dheisha refugee camp near Bethlehem,
gesture Vatican officials say will underscore the Pope's identification
with the refugees' plight.
The Pope will also meet with Muslim officials and
during his visit to the Haram al Sharif (the Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of
the Rock) in Jerusalem. (end)