German bishops compare Israel to the Nazishttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/07/wbishops07.xml
By Tim Butcher in Jerusalem
A group of German bishops sparked controversy yesterday when they compared Israel's treatment of the Palestinians with the Nazis' maltreatment of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.
The comments were made by the 27-strong German Bishops' Conference after its tour of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Several of the bishops were upset by the Jerusalem Wall, the 30ft high concrete barrier illegally built by Israel to separate Palestinian suburbs from the rest of the city.
The Archbishop was brought up in Communist-controlled East Germany.
"For me it is a nightmare. I didn't think I would see such a wall again in my life," he said.
"Just like they brought the Berlin Wall down, so too will this wall come down. It will not endure."
The bishops visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, before heading to Ramallah, the de facto capital of the occupied West Bank.
"This morning we saw pictures of the Warsaw ghetto at Yad Vashem and this evening we are going to the Ramallah ghetto," Bishop Gregor Maria Franz Hanke said.
"It's enough to drive one mad. Israel has the right to exist, but this right cannot be realised in such a brutal manner."
The Israeli press described the Nazi comparisons as "divisive", but the bishops offered no apology.
Instead, Bishop Hanke said he planned to amend this year's Easter message to German churches to include the delegation's impressions and to demand a change to the situation.
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