Mideast conflict blamed for Christian exodus

Bishops summoned to the Vatican to discuss the flight of Christians from the Middle East have blamed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for spurring the exodus.
Several bishops have lamented that the region is increasingly being emptied of its traditional Christian communities and warned that the consequences will mean an increasingly Muslim-only Mideast clashing with a Christian West.
While some have blamed the emergence of fanatical Islam for the flight, others have accused Israel of impeding solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by building settlements and controlling infrastructure in East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank.
Pope Benedict XVI called the synod, which continues Wednesday, to encourage Christians in the region.
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