Israel wouldn't need the security barrier, if acts of incitement and terrorism against it stopped, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Pope Francis on Monday at the start of their meeting at the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem.
To help Pope Francis understand why Israel built the barrier, Netanyahu brought the pontiff to the memorial for terror victims at the Mt. Herzl Military cemetery in Jerusalem. Here, the pontiff struck almost the same pose, that he had at the security barrier in Bethlehem.
His head bowed, his hand on the memorial.
Netanyahu also brought the matter up in their brief public conversation.
“If incitement and terrorism against Israel would stop, Israel would not need the measures it has taken, such as [building] the security barrier,” Netanyahu said.
“I long for the day when your call to recognize the state of Israel and the right of Jews to a state of their own, so they can live in peace and security, will be accepted by our neighbors,” Netanyahu said.
“If this doesn’t bring peace on earth, it will at least bring peace to a portion of it,” he said.
“Palestinian terrorists not only hurt us, they also harms Christians,” he said.
“So when we talked about steps for peace and an era of peace, we first had to demand an end to incitement and terror,” he said.
“We also have to call on the Palestinians to finally recognize the rights of Jews to a state of their own. This is the root of the conflict. The conflict will end, once they [the Palestinians] recognize that Israel is the homeland of the Jews,” he said.