VATICAN URGES RESPECT FOR PALESTINIAN CLAIMS

VATICAN, Oct. 23, 00 (CWNews.com) -- The Vatican's permanent observer at
the United Nations has stated that the present crisis in the Middle East
demonstrations that the violation of human rights "can lead into a cycle of
violence which often becomes uncontrollable."

Bishop Giuseppe Bertello, speaking at a UN conference on human rights in
Geneva, left no doubt that the Holy See was criticizing the Israeli
government for its failure to acknowledge the rights of Palestinians. He
deplored "the absence of respect for certain fundamental human rights, such
as the right to have a state and an independent government, as well as the
rights of security and free expression for one's own culture and history."

The Vatican representative recalled that when Pope John Paul II visited the
Dheisheh refugee camp, near Bethlehem, during his March visit to the Holy
Land, he had lamented the "degrading conditions" in which Palestinian
refugees live.
 
"When people cannot enjoy their inalienable rights, there are always tense
situations," Bishop Bertello said. "There can be no true and lasting peace
unless it is based on international law, justice, and respect for the rights of
all people."