Gaza: Pope Francis: “This is not war. It’s terrorism”

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Pope Francis’ statement came after he met with two separate delegations, one of Israelis who have relatives held hostage by Hamas, and one of Palestinians with relatives detained in Israeli prisons | Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images

At the end of the General Audience, Pope Francis described how he felt after meeting with the relatives of people kidnapped by the Hamas as well as with Palestinians who are suffering from the ongoing conflict in Gaza. His statements were direct.

POPE FRANCIS
They suffer so much and I heard how they both suffer. Wars do that. But here we have gone beyond wars. ‘This is no longer war. This is terrorism’. Please, let’s go forward for peace. Please pray for peace. Pray a lot for peace.

As he said these words in St. Peter’s Square, the cameras focused on the group of Palestinians who were present at the audience. The relatives of those kidnapped by Hamas were not in the square. But the Israeli Embassy indicated that their absence was not due to any kind of disagreement with the Pope, but simply because of scheduling reasons.

The pontiff has also called for a peace prayer: “Let us pray for the Palestinian people, let us pray for the Israeli people, so that peace may come.” He strongly urged those present not to forget victims of conflicts in other parts of the world, “especially for the dear peoples of Ukraine, the tortured Ukraine.”

File: Injured people, including children in Gaza are everywhere and there is nowhere safe for children . Over 13000 children in Gaza are being displaced every day according to MSF. Children as young as five told MSF that they “would prefer to die.” The Gaza genocide has been compared to the Holocaust by Brazilian president “It’s not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It’s a war between a highly prepared army and women and children ”, he said

Pope Francis’ comments come on the heels of an agreement reached between the government of Israel and Hamas, in which 50 Israeli hostages will be released in exchange for the release of 150 Palestinian prisoners, according to media reports.

Earlier this month, the pope had reiterated his plea for an end to hostilities between Israel and Palestine and called for “much more” humanitarian aid for Gaza.

The militant branch of the Palestinian group Hamas launched a violent attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing at least 1,139 people and taking about 250 hostages. 

Since then, Israel has been carrying out retaliatory strikes on the besieged enclave, killing more than 32,000 Palestinians, mainly women and children according to both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry

News Agencies

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