The conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has resulted in “divisive attitudes in public opinion worldwide and divisive positions, sometimes taking the form of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism”, Pope Francis also said. He further added, “We had hoped that ‘never again’ would be a refrain heard by the new generations, yet now we see that the path ahead requires ever closer collaboration to eradicate these phenomena.”
Additionally, he asked for prayers “especially for the return of hostages” held by Hamas following the historic attack on Israel on October 7, which claimed the lives of roughly 1,160 people, the majority of whom were civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli numbers.
Emphasising the urgency of a resolution, Pope Francis reiterated his stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, advocating for a two-state solution. He expressed deep concern over the ongoing conflict in the Holy Land, acknowledging the division and hatred it has engendered, stating that the world watches events unfold in the region with “apprehension and pain”, news agency Reuters reported.
The Pope’s letter also included a plea for the release of hostages held by militants, emphasising his empathy for those affected by the conflict. Addressing the Jewish community, he extended his closeness and affection, particularly to those “consumed by anguish, pain, fear, and even anger,” and renewed his call for an end to the war, Reuters reported.
Pope Francis also offered prayers for peace, expressing his solidarity with the Holy Land and all its inhabitants, both Israelis and Palestinians. He expressed hope that the yearning for peace would prevail in the hearts of all involved.
Around 250 hostages were also taken by the operatives; according to Israel, 132 are still in Gaza, with at least 27 of them reportedly dead.
With the goal of eliminating Hamas, Israel unleashed a huge military attack in Gaza, killing at least 27,238 Palestinians, most of them women and children, the Hamas-run Health Ministry claims.
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