After the six resolutions that the United Nations voted on this past Friday against Israel — approved by 156 countries — that once again overwhelmingly denied Israel’s sovereignty over and the Jews’ historical relationship with Jerusalem, came Pope Francis’ meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas in Rome on Monday.
There, with all due respect, the Pope acted like a typical politician. The Pope’s approach to the Middle East is deprived of a sense of responsibility towards history; instead, he related only to the immediate consensus — the anti-Israel narrative, and paying homage to the so-called “Palestinian cause.”
Wouldn’t it have been better for him to veer towards a path as magnificent and historic as Pope John XXIII’s ban on antisemitism, or Pope John Paul II’s visit to the Western Wall, with his subsequent recognition of the State of Israel? Why not, on this occasion, didn’t he ask Abbas to embark on a real move towards reconciliation by recognizing the right of Jews to their state and their millennial capital?
In his meeting with Abbas, Pope Francis aligned himself, according to the Holy See press releases that were issued afterwards, with positions that have led nowhere but delegitimizing Israel. In the face of the immense changes assailing the Middle East, we should have expected something different. What does “reactivating the peace process” truly mean? Who’s going to reactivate it? To accomplish that, Abbas should at least explain why he has refused to engage in peace talks for years. Moreover, he should abandon the fierce, defamatory, and delegitimizing incitement that denies Israel’s very existence, along with his absurd accusations that Israel is engaging in ethnic cleansing and an apartheid state.