Palestinian leader visits Coptic pope in Cairo

Sherry El Gergawi , Monday 9 Nov 2015

Pope Tawadros II told president Abbas on Monday that the Palestinian cause is the 'top Arab priority,' and called for more diplomatic efforts to help reach a settlement and lasting peace

Pope TawadrosII
Egypt's Pope Tawadros II welcoming the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the papal residence at the Cathedral of St. Mark, Abbasiya district, Cairo on Monday 9 Nov. 2015 (Photo: courtesy of Coptic Orthodox Church Spokesperson Facebook page)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II on Monday at the papal residence at the Cathedral of Saint Mark in Cairo’s Abbassiya district.

"The Palestinian cause is the top Arab priority," the pope told Abbas, adding that "dialogue is the best way to reach a solution for the Palestinian cause."

The Palestinian leader invited the pope to visit Jerusalem, which he said would be "a big supportive step for the Palestinian people, as such visits are always for the prisoners [Palestinians], not for the wardens [Israelis]."

At least 70 Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation forces in a wave of violence which started at the beginning of October.

The current wave of protests and repression started in late July when toddler Ali Dawabsha was burned to death and three other Palestinians were severely injured after their house in the occupied West Bank was set on fire by Israeli settlers.

Palestinian protests were also triggered by an increase in Jewish visitors to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is considered the third holiest site in Islam. Palestinians fear that Israel is preparing to allow Jewish prayers in the mosque, which are not currently allowed.

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