Pope Francis prayed for peace in the Holy Land at the end of his Angelus address on Jan. 29, 2023. | Vatican Media
Pope Francis appealed for peace in the Holy Land on Sunday, calling the recent spike in Israeli-Palestinian violence a “spiral of death” that accomplishes nothing.
In his Sunday Angelus address today, the pope expressed “great sorrow” for the death of Palestinians killed in an Israeli military raid as well as seven Israelis killed in a shooting outside of a synagogue in east Jerusalem.
“The spiral of death that increases day after day does nothing other than close the few glimpses of trust that exist between the two peoples,” Pope Francis said.
“From the beginning of the year, dozens of Palestinians have been killed during firefights with the Israeli army. I appeal to the two governments and to the international community so that, immediately and without delay, other paths might be found that include dialogue and a sincere search for peace. Brothers and sisters, let us pray for this.”
The pope spoke following a wave of violence in Israel and Palestine this week. On Friday night, seven Israelis were killed and three wounded in a shooting outside of a synagogue in east Jerusalem on the Jewish Sabbath, the deadliest attack on Israelis in 15 years, according to the Associated Press.
The synagogue shooting occurred the day after an Israeli military raid in the West Bank killed nine Palestinians, and another Palestinian man was shot by Israeli forces in al-Ram, north of Jerusalem.
The Latin Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem joined other Christian leaders in Jerusalem on Sunday in warning that the current “state of affairs will almost certainly bring further atrocities and anguish, driving us away from the much sought-after peace and stability that we all seek.”
In a joint statement issued by the patriarchs and heads of Churches in Jerusalem on Jan. 29, the Christian leaders called upon all parties “to practice restraint and self-control.”
“In closely monitoring this regrettable situation, we have concluded that this proliferation of violence that has led to the unwarranted deaths of 32 Palestinians and seven Israelis since the start of the New Year seems to be self-perpetuating. It will surely continue and even escalate unless a robust intervention is resolutely undertaken by community and political leaders on all sides,” it said.
“Everyone must work together to defuse the current tensions and to launch a political process based upon well-established principles of justice that will bring about lasting peace and prosperity for all. Consonant with this, in these most difficult of times, we call upon all parties to reverence each other’s religious faith and to show respect to all holy sites and places of worship.”
The patriarchs and heads of Churches in Jerusalem asked God to grant wisdom and prudence to political leaders seeking to find ways to overcome the violence and to bring about “a just and peaceful solution for our beloved Holy Land.”