Palestinians inspect the destruction of a building in Wadi Gaza Palestinians inspect the destruction of a building in Wadi Gaza  (AFP or licensors)

Pope: May the truce in Gaza continue

Pope Francis calls for an extension of the truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, saying that "war is always a defeat" for everyone except arms manufacturers.

By Joseph Tulloch

“I hope that the truce underway in Gaza might continue, so that all the hostages might be freed, and the necessary humanitarian aid might be able to enter.”

Pope Francis launched that appeal for the Holy Land at the end of his General Audience on Wednesday morning.

“May we please continue to pray for the serious situation in Israel and Palestine,” the Pope said. “Peace, please, peace.”

Calling for the temporary ceasefire to be extended, he noted that he had recently spoken by phone with Gaza’s Catholic parish of the Holy Family.

“They don’t have water; they don't have bread; ordinary people are suffering; the people are suffering," he said. "It’s not those who make war who are suffering.”

“Let us now,” Pope Francis added, “ask for peace, and let us not forget, while asking for peace, the dear Ukrainian people, who are suffering a lot and still fighting a war.”

“War is always a defeat,” he concluded. “Everyone loses. Well, not everyone—there's a group that earns a lot. Those who make weapons. They earn a lot from the deaths of others.”

Extended truce

Hamas and Israel agreed to a 48-hour extension of the truce on Monday, which is due to end at midnight on Wednesday without another extension.

Both sides were expected to release more hostages and prisoners on Wednesday. Israel had said the truce could be extended if Hamas releases at least 10 hostages per day.

Conditions in Gaza have remained grim for 2.3 million Palestinians, hammered by weeks of Israeli bombardment and a ground onslaught that have driven three-quarters of the population from their homes.

Israel began attacking Gaza after Hamas fighters crossed the border on 7 October, killing 1,200 Israelis and taking more than 200 hostages.

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29 November 2023, 10:03