The Palestinian foreign minister on Monday contacted the Holy See to express his “dismay and concern” after the Pope Francis accepted an award from an Israeli university.
Riad Malki wrote that the university “is one of the institutions most committed to the Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestine” and promotes “hatred and incitement against non-Jews.”
Israeli media reported that Francis received the president Bar-Ilan University at the Vatican, where he was presented with the university’s highest honor.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the award, the university’s top honor, was in recognition of his efforts promoting peace.
“We are the sons of Abraham and we have the privilege and the responsibility to guide humankind on the path to peace,” the pope told the Bar Ilan delegation, Haaretz reported.
Malki’s letter noted that the university promotes incitement against Palestinians — both Muslims and Christians — and operates a regional branch in the illegal West Bank settlement of Ariel.
“Bar Ilan University violates international law by directly and indirectly supporting the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise,” the letter continued.
“As a member of the United Nations as well as a global spiritual and moral leader, the Holy See is in a unique position to take the lead on rejecting the culture of hate and racism that feeds the continued oppression of the Palestinian people and the unjust denial of their inalienable right to self determination.”
Francis, who was elected pope in 2013, had earned praise from Palestinians during a visit the next year in which he prayed at the Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem.
(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)