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Pope visit to boost Palestinian calls for statehood

Palestinians are eagerly preparing for the visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land, where he is expected to express his support for Palestinian rights and statehood.
A Palestinian hangs a poster of Pope Francis in the West Bank town of Bethlehem May 22, 2014. With a Rabbi and a Muslim leader in tow, Pope Francis makes his first visit to the Middle East on Saturday, a delicate mission to push his vision of inter-religious dialogue as a vehicle for peace in the region. He will visit Jordan, the Palestinian Territories and Israel during his May 24-26 trip. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman (WEST BANK - Tags: RELIGION POLITICS) - RTR3QD6G

Political analyst Rami Khouri gives two main causes for the anger that has brought Arabs to the streets: humiliation and the search of legitimacy. These sources are clear as Palestinians prepare for the visit of Pope Francis to Palestine as part of his Holy Land visit that also includes Jordan and Israel.

The Palestinians are looking to Pope Francis to help legitimize their aspirations of independence and statehood, and hope the visit will shine a light on their decades of refugee existence, occupation and colonial settlement. Much effort went into ensuring that the pontiff’s visit to Palestine precedes his visit to Israel so as not to create the impression that Palestine is an internal Israeli issue.

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