Cardinal Pizzaballa willing to exchange with Hamas child hostages

child hostages

Hamas’s Israeli child hostages (some pictured) have a champion in the Jerusalem Catholic Patriarch. He says he’s willing to offer himself to Hamas in exchange for the children being held in Gaza.

Pope Francis’ representative in the Holy Land, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, made the comment on Monday during a video conference.

Child hostages

About 12 children are among the 200 or so Israeli people Hamas took hostage on 7 October.

A further 1,300 people reportedly died in the Hamas attack.

Pizzabella is particularly concerned for the children.

“I am ready for an exchange, anything, if this can lead to freedom, to bring the children home,” Pizzaballa said in response to journalists’ questions during the video conference.

“No problem. There is total willingness on my part.

“The first thing to do is to try to win the release of the hostages, otherwise there will be no way of stopping [an escalation]. We are willing to help, even me personally.”

Pizzaballa also noted that his office had not had any direct contact with militant Islamist group Hamas.

“You can’t talk to Hamas. It is very difficult,” he said.

In Gaza

Diplomatic efforts are ramping up to get aid into Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel is preparing a ground invasion to destroy Hamas, Reuters reports.

On Monday Gaza authorities were reported as saying Israeli strikes had killed at least 2,750 people.

A quarter of the dead were children.

In addition, Gaza authorities say about 10,000 people were wounded during the strikes. Besides these, a further 1,000 people have been listed as missing, believed buried under rubble.

Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa

Jerusalem’s Catholic Patriarch – whose role includes overseeing Catholic activities in Israel and the Palestinian territories – says about 1,000 Christians were sheltering in Church buildings in northern Gaza.

Their homes were destroyed in Israeli strikes, he told reporters during Monday’s video conference .

“They don’t know where to go because moving is dangerous,” Pizzaballa said.

Israel has urged exhausted Gazans to evacuate to the south. Hundreds of thousands have already moved to the enclave that is home to more than 2 million people.

Hamas, which runs Gaza, has told people to ignore Israel’s message.


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