Pope Francis: Let‘s all say ‘Enough!’ Stop the war in the Middle East

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“Every day, in my heart, I carry the pain and suffering of the populations in Palestine and Israel due to the ongoing hostilities,” said Pope Francis on Sunday in yet another heartfelt appeal for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“I carry the pain and suffering of Palestinians and Israelis in my heart.”

And expressing  grief for “the thousands of dead, the wounded, the displaced, the immense destruction that wreaks pain and suffering on the small and defenceless who see their future compromised.” Pope Francis called on all men and women of goodwill to raise their cry for peace.

Speaking during the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square he asked: “Do we really think we are building a better world in this way?”

“Enough, please. Let us all say: Enough, please!” he repeated: “Stop the war.”

Immediate ceasefire

The Pope continued with an appeal to continue negotiations  for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and throughout the region, “so that the hostages may be freed and return to their anxiously awaiting loved ones, and so that the civilian population may have safe access to necessary and urgent humanitarian aid.”

“I encourage the continuation of negotiations for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and throughout the region.”

And please, he concluded: “Don’t forget tormented Ukraine, where many people die every day. It is a place of great sorrow.”

War since 7 October

Pope Francis’ appeal on the Third Sunday of Lent is just the latest in many he has issued since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas on 7 October 2023.

There are still 130 Israeli hostages in the hands of Hamas, with over 30 of them feared dead. 

The death toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli strikes on the Gaza strip has surpassed 30,000 with thousands more missing. At the same time, over 1.3 million people have been displaced and are facing a catastrophic humanitarian situation. Two-thirds of them are women and children.

Fears of famine in northern Gaza

The head of the Norwegian Refugee Council who has just returned from Gaza has said he believes there is now a famine in the north of the territory.

Yan Egerlund told the BBC that he had been prepared for a nightmare, but what he saw was much worse. He said that was because Israel was not opening nearby border crossings to let aid in. He also condemned the United States, Germany and the UK for selling weapons to Israel.

Over the weekend, Jordan and the USA jointly carried out airdrops of aid to Gaza. The U.S. Air Force said three planes carried 66 packs containing about 38,000 meals.

Meanwhile, mediators in the Gaza conflict are meeting in Cairo to try to reach an agreement on a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Israel has been waging a war on Gaza after Hamas sprang a deadly surprise attack on Israel in October. Since then, the war has killed 30,320 Palestinians and injured 71,533 in Gaza.

Source: vaticannews.va