VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis has denounced the “unacceptable” spiral of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, saying the deaths in particular of children was a “sign that they don’t want to build the future but want to destroy it”.
Francis prayed for peace, calm and international help to open a path of dialogue during his Sunday (May 16) blessing, delivered from his studio window overlooking St Peter’s Square.
"In these days, violent armed clashes between the Gaza Strip and Israel have taken over, and risk degenerating into a spiral of death and destruction.
"Numerous people have been injured, and many innocents have died. Among them there are also children, and this is terrible and unacceptable," the 84-year-old pontiff said.
"I ask myself: Where will hatred and revenge lead? Do we really think we will build peace by destroying the other?"
In unusually pointed comments, Francis added: “In the name of God, who created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity and are called to live as brothers, I appeal for calm” and an end to the violence.
Israeli airstrikes have been pounding Gaza City for days as heavy fighting has broken out between Israel and the territory’s militant Hamas rulers.
The Gaza Health Ministry said 10 women and eight children were among the people killed in Sunday’s airstrikes.