Francis ‘very wor­ried’ over Mideast vi­o­lence

VAT­I­CAN CITY (AFP) – Pope Francis said Wed­nes­day he was "very wor­ried" by the es­ca­lat­ing vi­o­lence in the Mid­dle East af­ter 60 Gazans were shot dead by Is­raeli troops while protest­ing the US em­bassy's move to Jerusalem.

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page -

"I am very wor­ried about the es­ca­la­tion of ten­sions in the Holy Land and the Mid­dle East, and about the spi­ral of vi­o­lence which moves us ever fur­ther away from the path of peace, di­a­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tion," he said dur­ing his weekly au­di­ence at the Vat­i­can.

"I ex­press my great sor­row for the dead and wounded and I am close through prayer and af­fec­tion to all those who suf­fer," he added.

Call­ing for "di­a­logue, jus­tice and peace," Francis said vi­o­lence "has never led to peace. War in­cites war, vi­o­lence in­cites vi­o­lence."

Is­rael has come un­der mount­ing in­ter­na­tional pres­sure af­ter its forces opened fire on the Gaza bor­der on Mon­day, killing 60 pro­test­ers who had massed along the fence to protest as the US moved its em­bassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

At least 2,400 other Pales­tini­ans were wounded in what was the blood­i­est day of the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict since the 2014 Gaza war.

Francis on sev­eral oc­ca­sions ex­pressed sup­port for a two-state so­lu­tion to the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict, in­di­rectly crit­i­ciz­ing US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump's de­ci­sion to rec­og­nize Is­rael's claim to Jerusalem as its cap­i­tal.

Jerusalem's sta­tus is per­haps the thorni­est is­sue of the decades-long con­flict, with Is­raeli claim­ing the en­tire Holy City as its cap­i­tal while the Pales­tini­ans want the eastern sec­tor as cap­i­tal of their fu­ture state.

Is­rael oc­cu­pied the West Bank and east Jerusalem dur­ing the 1967 Six Day War, later an­nex­ing the eastern sec­tor of the city in a move never rec­og­nized by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.