From Phillip Pullella at Reuters:
Relations between the Vatican and Israel grew tense on Thursday when the Jewish state condemned an aide to Pope Benedict for calling Gaza “a big concentration camp.”
Israel criticized Cardinal Renato Martino as the pope delivered a speech to diplomats in which he spoke out against the use of violence by both Israel and Hamas Islamists in Gaza.
On Wednesday, Martino, president of the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace, delivered the Vatican’s toughest criticism of Israel since its offensive in the Palestinian-ruled enclave, calling Gaza a “big concentration camp.”
“We are astounded to hear from a spiritual dignitary words that are so far removed from truth and dignity,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told Reuters.
“The vocabulary of Hamas propaganda, coming from a member of the College of Cardinals, is a shocking and disappointing phenomenon,” he said.
Jewish leaders around the world also condemned Martino.
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