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Cablegate: Israel: Holy See Cites Problems for Pilgrims

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS VATICAN 000551

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EUR/WE LARREA; NEA/IPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: IS KPAL PREL KIRF VT PHUM
SUBJECT: ISRAEL: HOLY SEE CITES PROBLEMS FOR PILGRIMS


1. (U) This telegram contains an action request. Please see
paragraph 3.

2. (SBU) Holy See MFA Country Director for Israel Monsignor
Franco Coppola raised the Vatican's concerns about freedom of
movement for pilgrims to Bethlehem December 5. Coppola claimed
that while people staying in Jerusalem could easily leave the
city to go to Bethlehem, there were often interminable delays
when trying to reenter Jerusalem. He said that under the
current circumstances pilgrims with hotel rooms in Jerusalem
would find it difficult to make a day trip to Bethlehem and make
it back for the night. Coppola said he understood that security
was important, but wondered if more personnel could be added to
checkpoints to make travel more feasible. He noted the upcoming
Christmas season would only increase the number of people
wishing to visit Bethlehem.

3. (SBU) Though we understand the Holy See is raising this
point directly with the government of Israel, Post would
appreciate any information Department or ConGen Jerusalem has on
this issue so that we can relay it to the Vatican MFA. We are
keeping the Holy See informed of the Department's statements
supporting freedom of movement and access.
ROONEY


NNNN

2005VATICA00551 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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