German bishops visiting the Holy Land have expressed their concern at the Separation Wall between the West Bank and Israel. One bishop compared conditions in the West Bank with those in the Warsaw ghetto during World War Two. The Israeli news paper Haaretz reported that on a trip to the Palestinian town of Ramallah after an earlier visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum, Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke said to reporters that during the visit to Yad Vashem, the group had seen "the pictures from the Warsaw Ghetto and in the evening we are travelling to Ghetto Ramallah". Earlier, when the group crossed the separation wall, Cardinal Joachim Meisner told reporters that "something like this is done to animals, not to human beings." Cardinal Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne, said: "I never in my life thought to see something like this again," he said. Another bishop, Walter Mixa, from Augsburg, also spoke of Palestinians facing: "ghetto-isation with almost racist characteristics," another newspaper, the Frankfurter Rundschau, reported. At Yad Vashem, the bishops, who represent 27 German dioceses, met with Deputy Premier Shimon Peres and asked about the state of the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians. They expressed a desire to assist in bringing peace to the region. Bishop Mixa said building the wall between Israel and the Palestinian autonomous areas, as well as the many Israeli settlements, amounted to a degree of provocation from the point of view of the Palestinian population. Dieter Graumann, deputy president of the German Council of Jews, said: "Anyone who compares the condition of the Palestinians with the sufferings of the Jews in the ghettoes under the Nazis has learned nothing from history, These remarks were anti-Semitic in character." Later Bishop Mixa said: "A comparison between the events of the Holocaust and the contemporary situation in Palestine is not acceptable and was not intended."
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