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Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Vatican rejects Israeli complaint
Pope Benedict XVI
The Pope has yet to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in public
The Vatican has rejected Israel's criticism that Pope Benedict XVI failed to condemn Palestinian militant attacks against Israel in his recent remarks.

A Vatican statement said it could not condemn every Palestinian strike because Israel's own response had sometimes violated international law.

Israel had complained that the Pope on Sunday left the country off a list of those recently hit by terror attacks.

The Pope deplored the attacks in Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and Britain.

Stern statement

The latest statement from the Vatican said: "It's not always possible to immediately follow every attack against Israel with a public statement of condemnation."

The Holy See cannot take lessons or instructions from any other authority on the tone and content of its statements
The Vatican's statement

It said this was mainly because "the attacks against Israel sometimes were followed by immediate Israel reactions not always compatible with the rules of international law".

"It would thus be impossible to condemn the first (Palestinian attacks) and let the second (Israeli retaliation) pass in silence".

The statement added that "the Holy See cannot take lessons or instructions from any other authority on the tone and content of its statements".

Earlier this week, it criticised the Pope for failing to mention a 12 July suicide bombing in Netanya that killed five Israelis.

The foreign ministry said the pontiff's speech would be interpreted as "granting legitimacy to... terrorist attacks against Jews".

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