This story deserves a separate post entirely. This is so painfully predictable for any prophecy watcher:
Palestinian Authority (PA) and Arab Christian sources are already celebrating Pope Francis's visit to Israel starting next Sunday, saying his choice to begin the trip directly in PA-held Bethlehem is meant to "recognize Palestine" and "oppose the occupation."
"He is taking a helicopter directly from Jordan to Palestine - to Bethlehem. It's a kind of sign of recognizing Palestine," Father Jamal Khader of the Latin patriarchate in Jerusalem told AFP.
In Bethlehem the pope is to an open-top car and meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, holding "mass" prayer services there instead of in Jerusalem in what has been called a show of support for the PA.
After the "mass" services, the pope is to visit a nearby "refugee camp."
"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 said.
A visit to "end the occupation"
The political aspects of the visit were highlighted by Hind Khoury, a former PA minister for Jerusalem affairs, who said "everything will be highly charged politically."
"This visit will help us in supporting our struggle to end the longest occupation in history," said Ziyyad Bandak, Abbas's adviser for Christian affairs.
The fact that "the pope will begin his visit in Palestine and not Israel," as Bandak put it, was meant as a slight to the Jewish state according to the PA official, who added "I know that Israeli officials are not happy with this decision."
Israeli officials presenting 'our point of view' - on Iran
However, a great portion of the pope's time spent not under PA-controlled areas is reportedly planned to be spent in largely Arab-populated neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem.
In the meeting "we shall be able to explain to him, from our point of view, what's happening politically in the region," an Israeli official said.
The official did not specifically note that those e shall explain to him the Iranian threat."would include a counter to the narrative of "occupation," pushed so strongly by the Arab sources speaking about the visit, instead saying simply "w
At Jerusalem official does not plan to greet the pope. Councilman Aryeh King announced he would not attend an official welcoming of the pope unless he "will bring in his suitcase the treasures of the Jewish people that were stolen by his predecessors, treasures that today are located in the Vatican's basement."
Arutz Sheva recently reported plans to dramatically increase the number of days on which Christian services are held at the complex of King David's Tomb, which holds the "Last Supper Hall," from one day per year to 60. These plans have been officially denied by the Israeli government.