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Israeli foreign minister expects clear, unequivocal condemnation from Vatican over Hamas attack: reports

Nature

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has issued strong words against the Vatican for failing to “clearly and unequivocally” condemn the “deadly terrorist actions” of Hamas terrorists who flocked to Israel last week and killed more of 1,300 Israelis in a surprise attack, according to reports.

The Times of Israel reported that Cohen told Holy See Secretary for State Relations Paul Gallagher that the people of Israel “expect the Vatican to clearly and unequivocally condemn the deadly terrorist actions “.

“It is unacceptable that you issue a statement expressing concern primarily for civilians in Gaza while Israel is burying 1,300 murdered people,” Cohen said, according to the Foreign Ministry.

VATICAN OFFERS TO MEDIATE ISRAEL-GAZA CONFLICT AND NEGOTIATE THE RELEASE OF HOSTAGES

A guard stands as fog covers the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, before the funeral mass of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Thursday, January 5, 2023. Benedict died at age 95 on December 31 at the monastery on the Vatican grounds where he had spent almost his entire retirement, his days mainly devoted to prayer and reflection. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

On October 7, Hamas-led forces crossed the Israel-Gaza border while residents slept, dragging people into the streets, taking some hostage while beading and killing others.

More than 1,300 Israelis were killed in the attack, thousands more were injured and many were taken hostage by Hamas, raped, tortured and murdered.

Since the attack, Catholic Church officials have issued various reactions.

MONKS FIGHT TO KEEP JERUSALEM CHURCHES OPEN TO CHRISTIANS AMID ISRAEL-HAMAS CONFLICT

Israeli tanks near the border with Gaza

Traffic is halted as Israeli armored vehicles advance towards the border with the Gaza Strip on October 15, 2023, amid ongoing fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. Thousands of people, Israelis and Palestinians, have died since October 7, 2023, after Palestinian Hamas militants based in the Gaza Strip entered southern Israel in a surprise attack that led Israel to declare the war on Hamas in Gaza on October 8. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)

“I follow with apprehension and sadness what is happening in Israel,” Pope Francis declared the day after the attack. “I express my solidarity with the relatives of the victims and I pray for all those who are experiencing hours of terror and anguish.”

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem issued a statement as fighting continued last Saturday.

“The operation launched from Gaza and the reaction of the Israeli army take us back to the worst period in our recent history,” declared the Latin Patriarchate. “The too many victims and tragedies that Palestinians and Israeli families must face will create more hatred and division and increasingly destroy any prospect of stability.”

POPE SAYS ISRAEL HAS THE “RIGHT” TO “DEFEND ITSELF” AND MOURNS INNOCENTS IN GAZA

Blinken hugs Israeli foreign minister

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (right) is greeted by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (left) at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 12, 2023. (Israeli Foreign Ministry/Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Just before the fighting began, Gallagher reportedly planned to visit Israel, in what would have been the first bilateral visit by a Vatican foreign minister.

Last Wednesday, Pope Francis affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself, but questioned whether that would lead to lasting peace.

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“I continue to follow with tears and apprehension what is happening in Israel and Palestine: many people killed, others injured,” the pope said. “I pray for the families who saw a day of celebration turned into a day of mourning, and I ask that the hostages be released immediately.”

Nature
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