Bishops from the Middle East who were summoned to Rome by the pope demanded Saturday that Israel accept U.N. resolutions calling for an end to its "occupation" of Arab lands.
In a final joint communique, the bishops also told Israel it shouldn't use the Bible to justify "injustices" against the Palestinians.
The bishops issued the statement at the close of their two-week meeting, called by Pope Benedict XVI to discuss the plight of Christians in the Middle East amid a major exodus of the faithful from the birthplace of Christianity.
The Catholic Church has long been a minority in the largely Muslim region but its presence is shrinking further as a result of war, conflict, discrimination and economic problems.
During the meeting, several bishops blamed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for spurring the flight — a position echoed in their final paper. While the bishops condemned terrorism and anti-Semitism, they laid much of the blame for the conflict squarely on Israel.................................