Along with all the religion packed into the region, there is of course also plenty of politics. John Paul II managed to give a boost to Middle East peace efforts nine years ago by convincing both sides that he was a good faith partner and a friend to both. Benedict likewise is seen as siding with neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians though, as we've seen, he has managed to offend, even if unintentionally, both Muslims and Jews. He arrives at a particularly low moment in the peace process, five months after the Israeli invasion of Gaza, and with neither the long-term political mechanisms nor enough goodwill in place to work toward a solution. The Pope can't supply the diplomatic framework, but he could bring some much needed goodwill.