According to Shoruq, an independent Palestinian refugee rights NGO, the Dheishe refugee camp in the occupied West Bank was established as a temporary sanctuary during the expulsion of the more than 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe). Now home to the descedants of those expelled, the 13,017 refugees live on less than one square kilometer of land rented by the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
“Knowing who he is, and his sensitivity for all those who suffer, I am sure that he will say something defending all those who are suffering, including the Palestinians who live under occupation,” Khader added.
While in east Jerusalem, the Pope is planning to take “brief forays” into Israel and will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Vatican-owned Notre Dame complex, which stands on the disputed border of east and west Jerusalem.
“I know that Israeli officials are not happy with this decision,” to begin his visit in Palestine and not Israel, Bandak added. “We welcome this visit and consider it as support for the Palestinian people, and confirmation from the Vatican of the need to end the occupation.”
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