05/17/2018, 10.36
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Card. Bechara Rai condemns Gaza ‘massacre’: Israel stop blockade of Gaza Strip

Condolences to the Palestinian President Abbas and to the families of the victims. The international community must put pressure on Israel to demand respect for UN resolutions. No more violence on the Palestinians of Gaza: "A people that only invokes the right to return". Criticism of the US for the transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem: decision to be taken in negotiations.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - The Maronite patriarch of Lebanon, Card. Bechara Rai, condemns the "massacre by Israel of more than 60 Palestinians” in harsh criticism contained in a statement published yesterday by Bkerké.

On 14 May, while the opening of the new American embassy was celebrated in Jerusalem, the Israeli army opened fire on the tens of thousands of protesters who were protesting along the border of the Gaza Strip. Israeli bullets killed 60 people and injured thousands.

"Card. Rai condemns the violent actions committed by the Israeli army against Palestinian protesters along the border line of the Gaza Strip - the text reads - that have caused the death of dozens of innocent victims ". The patriarch sends his condolences to the president of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas and to the families of the victims. He then turns to the international community to pressure Israel on the implementation of UN resolutions concerning Jerusalem. Furthermore, Israel should "lighten the blockade imposed on two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and cease its violent acts because it is a people that only invokes the right to return".

In conclusion, the Maronite Patriarch also criticizes the American decision to transfer the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "A decision of such a transfer must be made on the basis of negotiations between the two sides of the conflict".

The words of Card. Rai follow those of other Church representatives in the Middle East. Yesterday, the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land issued an appeal for peace. In the statement, the bishops expressed concern about the events and stated that "these deaths, or most of them, could have been avoided if Israeli forces had used non-lethal means". The declaration follows the appeal letter of May 15 of the Latin Patriarchate, which announces a prayer vigil for May 19.

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