Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Pope and terrorism in Israel

During the Pope's Angelus prayer on Sunday he specifically referred to "abhorrent terrorist attacks" in Egypt, Iraq, Turkey & Britain, but failed to mention Israel, which suffered a suicide bombing on July 12. Israel's government reacted angrily to what the Pope didn't say.

This is the first blip on the radar screen for the new Pope after all the hoopla following his election. The response from his spokesman (so far) seems pretty weak, to be honest.
Responding to the Israeli complaint late on Monday, Navarro-Valls emphasized that the Pope condemned all forms of terrorism, and the Netanya attack "falls under the general and unreserved" condemnation.

Navarro-Valls noted that the Pope, during his Angelus remarks, had "referred expressly to the attacks "of these days," and listed only the most recent incidents.
Frankly, I'm not certain that the Pope was referring to the failed attack in London last Thursday as opposed to the deadly attack on July 7. It's possible, but I kind of doubt it.

I cannot understand how the Pope can condemn the bomb attacks in Turkey, but not in Israel. If he hadn't mentioned Turkey you could make the case that it was the scale of the other attacks (Egypt, Iraq & London) that dictated their specific mention, but because he included Turkey the best that can be said is that he forgot. Not very encouraging.

The Israeli response was not a rush job, although later on the Israeli Foreign Minister did soften the criticism saying that it "was a mistake and not a deliberate omission".

I'd like to think it was only a mistake, but I'm not so sure. I guess we'll find out 'next time', unfortunately.