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Pope Calls for Peaceful Solutions to Gulf and Palestinian Problems

Pope John Paul II, in his annual Christmas message, appeared to link a resolution of the Persian Gulf crisis and a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Although he did not explicitly say the two must be dealt with together, he called for “a solution which takes into account the legitimate expectations of the Palestinian people.”

The message, “Urbi et Orbi” (To the City and the World), delivered Tuesday from St. Peter’s Basilica, was a call for peace in the Gulf.

“The light of Christ is with the tormented nations of the Middle East,” the pontiff said. “For the area of the Gulf, we wait with trepidation for the threat of conflict to disappear. May leaders be convinced that war is an adventure with no return.”

The pope said that with “reasoning, patience and dialogue, with respect for the inalienable rights of peoples and nations, it is possible to identify and travel the paths of understanding and peace.”

He added, “The Holy Land too has been awaiting this peace for years: a peaceful solution to the whole question which concerns it, a solution which takes into account the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and of the people which lives in the State of Israel.”