Pope Francis on Sunday, after the Angelus prayer, urged for an immediate stop to attacks in Israel and Palestine.
“Please stop the attacks and the weapons and understand that terrorism and war do not lead to any solution, but only to the death and suffering of so many innocent people,” he was cited by the Vatican News.
As he followed “with apprehension and sorrow,” the latest news from Israel, where violence has erupted even more ferociously, causing hundreds of deaths and injuries, he said, “War is always a defeat!”
He extended his sympathy to the families of the victims, said he was praying for them, and also invited everyone to pray for peace in the two countries.
Violence erupted again in the Holy Land on Saturday when Palestinian Hamas militants launched an unexpected attack on Israel, firing hundreds of rockets and making armed incursions into Israel.
Israel retaliated at once with air strikes, and its prime minister said the country was at war.
Initial reports suggested more than 400 Palestinians have been killed in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip, and dozens have been captured.
Some 300 Israelis have been reported killed and dozens kidnapped, according to some Israeli sources, according to the Vatican News.
“The too many casualties and tragedies, which both Palestinians and Israeli families have to deal with, will create more hatred and division, and will destroy more and more any perspective of stability,” said the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in a statement on Saturday.
It called on the international community and religious leaders “to make every effort in helping to de-escalate the situation, restore calm, and work to guarantee the fundamental rights of people in the region.”
The Patriarchate emphasized the importance of maintaining the so-called “Status Quo” with regard to all the Holy Places in the Holy Land, especially in Jerusalem; and of the “urgent need to find a lasting and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in this land.”
The statement concluded with the prayer that God might “inspire world leaders in their intervention for the implementation of peace and concord so that Jerusalem may be a house of prayer for all peoples.”- Madonna T. Virola
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