VATICAN CITY (RNS) As Israel continued its ground offensive into the Gaza Strip, Pope Francis urged Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to end the spiraling conflict.

Pope Francis reviews the honor guard with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during an arrival ceremony at the presidential palace in Bethlehem, West Bank, on May 25, 2014. Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service

Pope Francis reviews the honor guard with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during an arrival ceremony at the presidential palace in Bethlehem, West Bank, on May 25, 2014. Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service


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The pontiff telephoned the two leaders on Friday (July 18) to express “his very serious concerns” only six weeks after both joined him at the Vatican for a historic prayer meeting.

Francis said he was concerned about the “climate of growing hostility, hatred and suffering” that was claiming many victims, resulting in “a serious humanitarian emergency,” the Vatican said in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who did not attend the Vatican prayer meeting in June, has said he is prepared to “significantly widen” Israel’s action against militants in the Gaza Strip.

Thousands of troops moved into areas of Gaza on Thursday night, backed by tanks and artillery fire, while Hamas, the Palestinian organization that controls Gaza, has warned Israel will “pay a high price” for the invasion.

At the end of the joint prayer service with Peres and Abbas in June, Francis urged the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to act with courage and seek peace in the Middle East.

Given the rapidly degenerating situation in Gaza, the pope’s plea now seems like a very dim prospect.

The Vatican said the pope considers the two men to be “men of peace” and Francis reminded the two leaders of the need for both sides and those who hold political office to work to end the hostilities and promote peace.

The pope also sent a personal message to 200 Catholic missionaries working in Gaza to express his support and tell them he was praying for them, according to the Italian daily La Stampa.

KRE/AMB END McKENNA

12 Comments

  1. The logic fallacy that appears in all the zionist arguments is the claim that Hamas hided its weapons and soldiers among civilian populations, and are therefore cowards. As a result, Israel and the chosen ones cannot help but kill a planeload of palestineians.

    But where else are they going to figjt from? And where else are they going to store weapons? See, israel has fenced in the population purposefully and cut all supplies purposefully. The cornered they purposefully in every way. What other option is there regarding a land to mount a offense or defense and what other option it is there to store weapons to do so with?

    All options have been removed by the zios purposefully. Then the zios team members turn around a use this as a point of criticism against Hamas? Please.

    Let me know when america and gods chosen act like rational humans, who sees the common humanity in others.

    Our israel first congressmen are behind this…because I know the large majority of folks around me think what the zios and israel are doing is disgusting. They do not have the moral support of the american people.

    • “The logic fallacy that appears in all the zionist arguments is the claim that Hamas hided its weapons and soldiers among civilian populations, and are therefore cowards. ”

      Because everyone should use civilians as human shields and then whine about the deaths they were instrumental in causing. Now you know why almost nobody takes Palestinian deaths seriously. People think Palestinian leaders purposefully throw their own people into danger for their own agenda. You admit to that as well.

      The real question is why should Hamas be firing rockets at all. Its sole effect has always been devastating reprisals and making more Gazan’s suffer. Yet it is done repeatedly with the same result. Nothing. Obviously Hamas would rather have Gaza devastated and its people scared of Israelis than bother to build a state and govern like responsible people. They don’t even try to talk to fellow Arabs about lifting the border of their territory which is not controlled by Israel.

      “The cornered they purposefully in every way. ”
      You don’t know how to read a map. Gaza borders 1 more country. An arab one as well. One which was even run by the Muslim Brotherhood for a short spell. Yet that border remains shut. Egyptians hate the Palestinians more than the Israelis do.

      “What other option is there regarding a land to mount a offense or defense and what other option it is there to store weapons to do so with?”

      Peaceful negotiations! Acting like statesmen instead of foreign backed thugs fighting a proxy war for Iran. That is the other option.

      • I suspected you were a zio. Now I am certain.

        This will be the last time I directly respond to you.

        See, I take pali deaths seriously. Its inhumane, even from a secular standpoint, not to. Zios are not humane in ideaology.

        • Namecalling doesn’t refute a word I said. You don’t take Palestinian deaths seriously. You are giving excuses for putting civilians in harms way for political effect. That is cold.

          I prefer to call myself a sane person. One who is not being wrapped up in half-baked boneheaded propaganda. You prefer reductive labels and insults to actually learning about a situation. You certainly haven’t clue one as to what I believe on the subject. You never bothered to find out. Just slap a label on it and make stupid assumptions. You are as lazy as you are ignorant.

          Lles, you are asking me with a straight face to have sympathy for Islamicists who are in the employ of Iran. You have to be kidding me.
          If they set foot on US soil you would be calling for them to be thrown in the darkest cells we could find.

          What I want to see is a Palestinian state and Israel existing peaceably. No more settlements. Democratic leaders for the Palestinians. People who actually will give a flying crap about them beyond their ability to cause mayhem to the Israelis (and placating foreign backers). Fools like yourself only contribute to the misery of the Palestinians with your phony exhortations of “the struggle”.

          Almost 50 years of violent conflict have gotten the Palestinians less than nothing. Jordan and Egypt hate the Palestinians more than Israel does. At least the Israelis were willing to talk peace in the past. Jordan killed more Palestinians in one month than Israel did in 45 years. Egypt keeps Gaza under a tight noose with narry a comment from people like yourself who allegedly support the Palestinians.

          Can you see why I can’t take you seriously? Omission, ignorance and hypocrisy is rife with your brand of nonsense.

    • Chaplain Martin

      “I know the large majority of folks around me think what the zios and Israel are doing is disgusting.”
      I agree with you, but far too many have chosen the “God’s own people argument” propaganda of the last fifty years to see the truth of Israels actions. Wrong is wrong whether one side calls on Allah or God.

      • I prefer the non religious argument. It is far better to throw support to. A democracy over theocrats and kleptocrats. People who throw their support of the Palestinians as a matter of course keep themselves deliberately ignorant of their own efforts to prevent peaceful resolution:

        1. Acting as proxy soldiers for Iran and the Arab League
        2. The fratricidal violence between Hamas and Fatah (which helped wreak the Oslo Accords in 1997 )
        3. The total lack of anything resembling statesmanship from Palestinian leaders
        4. The violent relations Palestinians have with Arab neighbors Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.
        5. The talibanesque rule of Gaza by Hamas

        If you want to be a cheerleader for violent islamicists, be my guest. Just don’t expect people to take you seriously.

  2. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness has stated the number of palis seeking refuge from the israeli assault has doubled in the past 24 hours. From 22k to an estimated 40k and thr refugee civilian count is expected to double. The UN agency for pali refugees has made an urgent appeal for 60m dollars to accomodate the influx.Chris Gunness further stated the physical damage to gaza is immense, and doubted the israelis were just targeting Hamas tunnels.
    YahooNews

    So, america gives israel a billion dollar stockpile armament. America gives israel 4b dollars annually and has given money to build israel for generations. America allows the existence of numerous dual citizen congressmen who recently voted to increase the effort for israels “border problem”, but of course cannot address America’s boarder.

    These palis deaths are entirely our fault. We made it possible, and continue to do so. They have little defense and their backs are literally against a wall that american effort built via american taxation. And we will make no effort to control our zio monster as our zio monster is in congress and will not listen to us, despite needing our effort to keep it alive.

    • Why do you use an insulting term for Palestinians if you are on their side?
      Why do you ignore the role Iran plays in the situation?
      What do you think was going to be the result of Hamas rocket attacks on Israel?

      Those poor Gazans would be living peaceably if not for their leaders’ insistence on provoking conflicts at the behest of Iran. Israel didn’t initiate this latest round of fighting. Nor are they the ones balking at cease-fires and negotiations with intentional deal breaking terms. That is all Hamas.

  3. Worldwide peace will only be realized after the great tribulation and Armageddin. This will be evident by the millenial rule of Christ Jesus, the King of God’s kingdom or heavenly government in the near future. Man evidently cannot accomplish this on his own.

  4. Peres for Peace. Abbas is not. Netanyahu “If Palestine puts down their weapons Israel will have peace. If Israel puts down her weapons she will be no more.” Fact.

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