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Pope Francis shows unprecedented moves in first official trip to Holy See Updated: 2014-05-26 13:59:34 KST

Pope Francis's first official visit to the Holy Land has been a succession of unprecedented moves calling for peace in Israel and Palestine.
Breaking with the custom of only meeting with high ranking officials in visiting countries, the pontiff instead chose to meet with refugees from Syria and Iraq in Bethany, where Jesus was baptized.
There, he called on the international community to support the refugees.

(Italian)
"I ask that the international society does not turn away from refugees and continue to send support for this issue."

In another first, the pope flew straight from Jordan to Bethlehem by helicopter, bypassing Israel, to show Palestine is an independent state.

The pope also made a surprise stop in front of the concrete wall that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem.
For Palestinians, the structure is a symbol of Israeli oppression.
Laying his head against the wall, Pope Francis quietly said his prayers.


"My interpretation of his praying is, let God bless the Palestinians and the Israelis in order to destroy this wall, to destroy this wall and to build on this place a reality of peace."

In another powerful visual statement, Pope Francis has decided to travel in a white, open-sided popemobile instead of a bullet-proof automobile.
The trip comes after Middle East peace talks broke down last week.
The Argentinian pontiff said the break-down was unacceptable and - in an apparently spontaneous move - he invited the presidents of both sides to the Vatican next month to pray for peace.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.

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