10/13/2023, 17.29
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Card Parolin: The attack on Israel by Hamas was 'inhuman' but self-defence should not harm civilians

The Secretary of State hopes that some "room for dialogue" can be found “without delay". Peace must be based on "justice" and a two-state solution. The “hostages must be returned immediately”. Pro-Palestinian rallies break out across the Middle East. Hamas calls for resistance amid fears of a “second Nakba". Card Pizzaballa laments the "dramatic" situation, fearing that the conflict "is becoming increasingly religious".

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Vatican Secretary of State, Card Pietro Parolin, spoke today to Vatican media about Hamas’s attack on Israel, which he described as "inhuman", but he added that exercising the right to self-defence "should not harm civilians".

For the cardinal, “the priority is the release of the hostages", and “the Holy See is willing to mediate” to achieve this end. Yet, despite Vatican calls for dialogue and moderation, tensions are running high in Gaza where Israel is conducting a massive attack. Meanwhile, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine rallies are taking place in the Middle East and around the world.

“The terrorist attack carried out by Hamas and other militias last Saturday [. . .] the day of Simchat Torah, concluding the week of the Sukkot festival, is inhuman”, said the cardinal. “The Holy See expresses complete and firm condemnation. Furthermore, we are concerned for the men, women, children, and the elderly held hostage in Gaza.”

Amid the indiscriminate violence, “It is necessary to regain a sense of reason, abandon the blind logic of hatred, and reject violence as a solution.” Although “I do not know how much room for dialogue there can be between Israel and the Hamas militia, but if there is” any, “it should be pursued immediately and without delay.”

Like Pope Francis, Card Parolin stressed that “Peace can only be based on justice” and “the greatest possible justice in the Holy Land is the two-state solution, which would allow Palestinians and Israelis to live side by side in peace and security, meeting the aspirations of the majority.”

Such a “solution, which is supported by the international community, has recently seemed to some, on both sides, to be no longer feasible.” However, “The Holy See is convinced of the opposite and continues to support it.

Given the current situation, in which violence rules and opposite extremisms prevail, attention must be paid, first of all, to the hostages who must “be returned immediately, even those held by Hamas since previous conflicts.” Thus, “I strongly renew the heartfelt appeal made and repeated by Pope Francis” recently to let them go.

“[T]he release of Israeli hostages and the protection of innocent lives in Gaza are at the heart of the problem created by Hamas's attack and the response of the Israeli army.” For this reason, “The Holy See is ready for any necessary mediation, as always,” to help “direct dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis, encouraged and supported by the international community, even though it will be more difficult now.”

Shows of support for Gaza and its people were held in several places in the Middle East, including Beirut, Baghdad, and Tehran, while Israeli police and Palestinians reportedly clashed in East Jerusalem.

In the old city, massive security measures have been imposed and the police have denied access to al-Aqsa mosque to Muslim men under 50.

The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, have claimed responsibility for ta rocket at Ben Gurion International Airport, near Lod.

The leaders of the radical movement that controls the Strip urge the population not to leave their homes, dismissing Israel’s 24-hour warning of an imminent attack against the northern part of the Strip as “propaganda".

Some analysts openly warn that Israel plan to get hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to move will possibly constitute a "second Nakba" or disaster.

Yesterday, Card Pierbattista Pizzaballa, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins, spoke on Pro Terra Sancta social media platforms.

In the live feed, he described the situation as “serious” and “dramatic”. Everything is on hold, schools are closed; “what is striking is the nervousness and tensions”. Ordinary life is “now reduced to a minimum”.

After becoming cardinal on 30 September, the patriarch returned to the Holy City. In his latest statement, he renewed his call to the faithful to join the Latin patriarchate for a day of fasting and prayer on 17 October.

With respect to the situation of Gaza Christians, he said that "physically they are well". Most are sheltering at the compound of the Church of the Holy Family, in the classrooms of the local Christian school, and with the nuns.

“Many of the Christian homes were destroyed [by Israeli bombs], not as a primary target, but still as so-called collateral damage,” he explained. Now People are running out of water. There is no electricity, and diesel fuel for generators is in short supply. “We hope that in the coming days [. . .] we can at least introduce water, food and the necessary medicines.”

For Card Pizzaballa, the conflict is getting “increasingly religious”. Thus, “We must recognise that we are in a new, dramatic phase, and it will be very difficult to rebuild after this”.

In fact, rebuilding needs “a minimum of trust, of relations between the two sides, between Israelis and Palestinians” since both “will stay here and be forced to reckon with each other” sooner or later.

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Gaza Christians, powerless victims
Israeli troops take the war to Gaza’s cities
At least 70 dead, initial tally of Israeli retaliation against Hamas
Gaza Latin parish’s mission: prayers and outreach
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