Vatican criticizes Israel

Pope Benedict XVI was yesterday immersed in the first big diplomatic crisis of his papacy after the Vatican issued an unusually blunt statement criticising Israel for its response to Palestinian attacks.

In a 1,300-word communique, the Vatican said: “It has not always been possible to follow every attack against Israel with a public declaration of condemnation.”

It said one reason for this was that “the attacks on Israel were sometimes followed by immediate Israeli reactions not always compatible with the norms of international law … It would thus be impossible to condemn the [terrorist operations] and pass over the [Israeli retaliation] in silence.”

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