May 13, 2009 / 3:04 PM / 11 years ago

Pope calls Israeli wall symbol of "stalemate"

BETHLEHEM, West Bank, May 13 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict stood by the wall Israel is building round the West Bank on Wednesday and called it a symbol of "stalemate" between Israel and the Palestinians, urging both sides to break a "spiral of violence".

"Towering over us, as we gather here this afternoon, is a stark reminder of the stalemate that relations between Israelis and Palestinians seem to have reached — the wall," he said in a speech at a refugee camp in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus.

"How we earnestly pray for an end to the hostilities that have caused this wall to be built."

(Reporting by Philip Pullella, writing by Alastair Macdonald, editing by Douglas Hamilton)

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