Vatican official condemns Hamas attack, offers to mediate

Hamas attack

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, strongly denounced the recent Hamas attack on Israel, labelling it as “inhuman”.

“The release of Israeli hostages and the protection of innocent lives in Gaza are at the heart of the problem created by Hamas’ attack and the response of the Israeli army,” said Parolin.

“They are at the centre of all of our concerns: the pope and the entire international community. The Holy See is ready for any necessary mediation, as always,” he said.

Parolin affirmed Israel’s right to self-defence while stressing the importance of a “proportionate” response.

During a visit to the Israeli embassy in Rome, Parolin expressed his “deep sentiments of pain and solidarity” regarding the Hamas attack against Israel.

The death toll in Israel has surged to 1,300, with over 3,000 injuries.

Retaliatory airstrikes from Israel have resulted in 1,417 Palestinian casualties and more than 6,250 wounded in Gaza.

Prayers for victims’ families

Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims’ families and called for the release of all hostages. He also stressed the right to self-defence while expressing concern for the suffering faced by Palestinians in Gaza.

Francis urged restraint, saying “Terrorism and extremism do not help to reach a solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians but fuel hatred, violence, and revenge, causing suffering to both sides.”

Israeli Ambassador to the Holy See, Raphael Schutz, welcomed the Pope’s statement but rejected calls for de-escalation at this time, drawing a parallel between Hamas and ISIS.

Concerns for hostages

Concerns continue to grow about the fate of 150 hostages, including women, children and the elderly, held by Hamas.

Cardinal Parolin condemned the taking of hostages and expressed the Holy See’s willingness to assist in negotiating their release.

However, Parolin highlighted the situation’s complexity which includes security, Israeli settlements and the status of Jerusalem.

“A solution can be found in direct dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis, encouraged and supported by the international community, even though it will be more difficult now,” the cardinal said.

The small Catholic community in Gaza, composed of around 150 families, “is suffering immensely,” Parolin said.

“Everything is at a standstill, paralysed as if gripped by fear and anger” Parolin said, saying “Let us pray for the Israelis; let us pray for the Palestinians; let us pray for Christians, Jews and Muslims: For the peace of Jerusalem, pray.”




CathNews New Zealand

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