Media and civilians attacked in Palestine, how to build peace with weapons?
Pope Francis, in the course of his homily to St. Peter for the community of the faithful of Myanmar, explains that he is following the clashes in the Holy Land with concern. He invites Israelis and Palestinians to “find the path of dialogue and forgiveness” and calls the death of children in the conflict “unacceptable”. In the Holy Land, the Holy See has always been in favor of the “two-state solution”. “In the name of God who created all human beings equal in rights, duties, and dignity, and called them to live together as brothers among themselves, I appeal to calm and, to those who have responsibility for it, to put an end to the noise of arms and to walk the paths of peace, also with the help of the international community”.
This is the strong appeal that Pope Francis made at the end of the Regina Caeli recited with the numerous faithful present in St. Peter’s Square. Bergoglio clearly condemnedthe violence in Palestine while Israeli bombings continue in Gaza. “I am following with great concern what is happening in the Holy Land. In recent days, violent armed clashes between the Gaza Strip and Israel have taken over, and are in danger of escalating into a spiral of death and destruction. Numerous people were injured, and many innocent people died. Among them, there are also children, and this is terrible and unacceptable. Their death is a sign that they do not want to build the future, but they want to destroy it. Furthermore, the growing hatred and violence that is affecting various cities in Israel is a serious wound to fraternity and peaceful coexistence among citizens, which will be difficult to heal if we do not open up to dialogue immediately. I ask myself: where will hatred and revenge lead? Do we think we are building peace by destroying the other?”. The Pope said.
Then the invitation to the faithful: “Let us pray incessantly that Israelis and Palestinians may find the path of dialogue and forgiveness, to be patient builders of peace and justice, opening up, step by step, to a common hope, to coexistence between brothers. We pray for the victims, especially the children; let us pray for peace”. On the Israeli – Palestine conflict, the Vatican has always been in favor of the “two-state solution”. A position strongly reaffirmed by St. John Paul II, who had an intense dialogue with the president of the Palestinian National Authority, Yasser Arafat, and subsequently by both Benedict XVI and Francis.
Before the Regina Caeli, Bergoglio presided at the Mass with the faithful of Myanmar residing in Rome, at the altar of the chair of the Vatican Basilica. A celebration wanted by the Pope to share the sufferings of the Burmese people marked by the violent repression caused by the recent military coup that overthrew the government of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. Bergoglio had visited the country in 2017. In his homily, the Pope recalled that “to guard the faith is to keep one’s gaze up to heaven while innocent blood is fought and shed on earth. It is not giving in to the logic of hatred and revenge, but staying with our gaze turned to that God of love who calls us to be brothers among ourselves”. And he added: “Prayer opens us to trust in God even in difficult moments, it helps us to hope against all evidence, it supports us in the daily battle. It is not an escape, a way to escape from problems. On the contrary, it is the only weapon we have to guard love and hope amid so many weapons that sow death”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a telephone conversation with Pope Francis on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. This was reported by the Presidency of Ankara, according to which the leader of Ankara asked the pontiff for a common commitment of “Muslims, Christians and all humanity” to stop the “massacre” taking place against the Palestinians. If everyone agrees on Israel’s right to defend itself and fight terrorism, the Jewish state is going from right to wrong, attacking media and killing innocent civilians including children.
After the night raids by the Israeli air force, the clashes on the Gaza Strip continue. Hamas continues with rocket fire, injuring an Israeli citizen. But the toll on the other side is quite different, following the shots fired from the border and the Israeli air force raids: in total, the number of Palestinians killed is 122, with over 900 injured since Monday in the various raids. There are also 33 children among the victims. In addition, Save the Children denounces that seven Israelis, including two children, were killed in southern Israel.