Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land - 22/03/2000 info:
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Visit to Deheisha refugee camp
22 March 2000. updated at: 17:21

The Pope this afternoon, after visiting and praying at the Nativity Grotto in Bethlehem visited the Palestinian Refugee camp at the outskirts of Bethlehem. This refugee camp has been here since just after the foundation of the State of Israel (1948) and where many displaced palestinians have been living here ever since. The number of refugees in this camp grew after the six day war of 1967. This camp, after the peace agreements between Israel and the NPA returned under the National Palestinian Authority. Here the pope arrived in the popemobil and was welcomed by Mr. Arafat and the local authorities. The Pope went straight to the school building. Speeches of welcome were delivered, underlining their sufferings and the future of the refugees and the right of the Palestinian refugees to rfeturn to tgheir homeland to which the Pope replied with a speech adressing the problem of the refugees particularly those of this camp.


  After this speech which was received with an applause by those present the Pope shook hands with some children of the school. Then he was escorted out of the building from where he went for a private visit to the presidential residence of Mr. Arafat. This brings to an end a very intenssive day with his return in helicopter later on to the Apostolic Delegation in Jerusalem.

Created / Updated Wednesday, March 22, 2000 at 17:21:00