Vatican condemns Iran's anti-Israel comment
The Vatican on Friday condemned the call by Iran's president to "wipe Israel off the map", saying it was "particularly serious and unacceptable", adding an appeal for a halt to renewed violence in the region.
"The Holy See at this time reaffirms the right, for both Israelis and Palestinians, to live in peace and security, each in their own sovereign state," it said in a statement, signed by Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.
Reuters reports that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, cheered by thousands of supporters, signalled on Friday he stood by his call earlier in the week for Israel to be eliminated.
Israel said it would request an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council over the comments and has warned that it will not be restrained in its hunt for Palestinian militants after a suicide blast this week.
The Vatican condemned the renewed violence, pointing to the bombing this week that killed five Israelis in the city of Hadera and "subsequent retaliation". Israel's air strike in Gaza on Thursday killed eight Palestinians.
A Palestinian militant was killed in another air strike in Gaza on Friday.
"The serious incidents in recent days in the Holy Land very much worry the Holy See which, joining the entire international community, expresses its firm condemnation of the acts of violence," it said.
It cited "the terrorist attack in Hadera and subsequent retaliation, from whatever side they come from".
"They should avoid carrying out acts or making decisions that create divisions or death and should work with courage and determination to create the minimum conditions necessary to resume dialogue," Navarro-Valls said.
Vatican condemns anti-Israel comment (TVNZ One News/Reuters 29/10/05)
Vatican condemns Iran's call for destruction of Israel (Catholic World News 28/10/05)
Vatican adds its voice to condemnation against Ahmadinejad (AsiaNews.it 29/10/05)
31 Oct 2005