Pope Francis today met with child refugees, telling them that violence is not overcome with violence, but with peace.
The Holy Father met this afternoon during his time in Bethlehem with a small group of youth and child refugees in the Dehiyshe Refugee Camp's Phoenix Cultural Center.
Two children in traditional clothes greeted the Holy Father at the entrance of the center, giving him flowers.
The young people, seated in chairs in a big circle, each wearing a white T-shirt and white cap, had signs about freedom, peace and justice, printed on sheets of white paper in various languages.
A boy told the Holy Father that they were the "children of Palestine" who had been born in a situation of occupation.
After the children sang for the Pope and he thanked them for their "very beautiful" songs, he gave them a quick message, speaking in Spanish, as a friar translated.
He told them, "I understand what you are saying, the message that you are giving me."
"Never ever allow the past to determine your lives," the Pope continued. "Always look forward. Work and fight to bring about what you want.
"But, know this: Violence is not overcome with violence. Violence is overcome with peace. With peace, with work, with the dignity of furthering your homeland.
"Thank you for welcoming me. And I ask God to bless you. And I ask you to pray for me. Thank you."
The Pope visited the refugee center before this evening leaving Bethlehem for Tel Aviv. Earlier, he made a surprise stop at the wall separating Israel from the Palestinian Territories, pressing his forehead against the wall for a moment of prayer.