Pope Francis, during his Sunday address in St Peter’s Square, called for an immediate end to hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians.
The pontiff emphasized the urgent need for increased humanitarian aid to Gaza and expressed deep concern for the well-being of the wounded in the Gaza Strip.
“Enough, enough brothers, enough,” declared Pope Francis, urging an end to the violence that has plagued the region. He stressed the immediate necessity of caring for the injured in Gaza and ensuring the protection of civilians caught in the crossfire. Additionally, the Pope called for the release of hostages held by Hamas, underlining the humanitarian toll of the conflict.
Speaking to the crowds after his weekly Angelus prayers, Pope Francis conveyed a powerful message, stating that arms would never bring about true peace. He urged that the conflict should not escalate further and expressed solidarity with both Palestinians and Israelis, emphasizing that his prayers were with all those who are suffering.
Amid the ongoing crisis, Israel announced its readiness to evacuate infants from Gaza’s largest hospital. However, Palestinian officials reported that people within the hospital were still trapped due to the intense fighting in the vicinity. The conflicting reports underscore the challenges in providing aid to those in need.
Since the outbreak of the conflict, very little aid has reached Gaza, according to Palestinian officials. The situation has become dire, with Pope Francis reiterating his call for the creation of humanitarian corridors to ensure the delivery of essential supplies. The Pope has consistently advocated for a two-state solution as the path to resolving the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Israeli officials claim that the military intervention became necessary after Hamas militants carried out attacks in southern Israel, resulting in numerous casualties and hostages. However, Palestinian officials argue that the toll on Gaza residents has been devastating, with 11,078 reported deaths from air and artillery strikes, including a significant number of children.
In a show of solidarity with Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby, also called for an immediate halt to the bombardment of hospitals and civilians in Gaza. Writing on social media, Archbishop Justin emphasized that the alleged misuse of hospitals by Hamas should not justify attacks by Israel.
Last month, he, alongside the Archbishop of Jerusalem, launched an appeal to aid the Anglican-run Al-Ahli Hospital, which suffered collateral damage from an airstrike.
The Archbishop conveyed his prayers for the hospital’s staff and patients.