The Israeli Defense Forces offered apologies yesterday after troops prevented Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah from visiting parishioners in the village of Eir Arik in the West Bank village.
In a press release, army spokesman Brig. Gen. Ron Kitrey apologized and promised that troops at checkpoints would be reminded that people with diplomatic status, such as the Patriarch, must be allowed to pass.
The soldiers at the roadblock did not comply with the orders relating to passage of diplomats, the communique said.
The patriarch, said Israel violated its 1994 diplomatic agreement with the Vatican by preventing him from reaching his flock. The agreement, he said, guaranteed freedom of worship in the Holy Land.
Israel cannot control the will of a people asking for freedom, the patriarch's office said in a statement.
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