'Concentration camp' remark threatens Pope's visit to Israel





A question mark hangs over Pope Benedict XVI's planned trip to Israel in May after Israeli officials expressed outrage over a Vatican statement comparing Gaza to a "big concentration camp".

The Pope today condemned the use of violence by both Israel and Hamas in his annual speech to diplomats accredited to the Holy See. "Once again I would repeat that military options are no solution and that violence, wherever it comes from and whatever form it takes, must be firmly condemned," he said in an even-handed address.

He rejected "hatred, acts of provocation and the use of arms" and deplored the renewed outbreak of violence in Gaza which was "provoking immense damage and suffering for the civilian population".



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