EWTN Vatican
Pope Francis: For a Ceasefire in the Holy Land

Hardly a week goes by without Pope Francis calling for peace. Since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023, the Holy Land has seen ongoing violence. The Holy Father has called repeatedly for an end to the war.

In the recent General Audience of April 17, 2024, the Pope did not fail to reference the ongoing tragedy of war. "Let us think of the Holy Land," he said, "of Palestine, of Israel. We think of Ukraine, martyred Ukraine. Let us think of the prisoners of war."

With Iran having fired 300 drones and missiles at Israel two weeks ago, the conflict is at risk of escalation. Due to the attacks, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, had to cancel his trip to Rome, where he was supposed to take possession of his titular church of Sant'Onofrio officially.

The Vatican tried to play a mediating role in the conflict between Israel and Palestine at an early stage.

In 1982, Pope John Paul II received the then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the Vatican, and twelve years later, both sides officially established diplomatic relations.

The Holy See recognized Palestine as a state in May 2015. Both sides signed a basic treaty that not only regulates the activities of the Church in Palestine but also sets out the Pope's desire for peace between Israel and Palestine, ideally through a two-state solution with internationally guaranteed borders.

The Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, has also promoted the solution of "two peoples, two states" for the future of Israel and Palestine.

The Pope, meanwhile, continues his urgent appeal:

"I ask myself: do we really think we can build a better world in this way? Enough, please! I encourage the continuation of negotiations for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and in the entire region so that the hostages may be freed immediately and return to their anxiously awaiting loved ones and so that the civilian population can have safe access to urgently needed humanitarian aid."  

Adapted by Jacob Stein 

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