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Jerusalem bishop laments new Israeli-Palestinian violence
By Kevin J. Jones
Smoke rises from Gaza after it was hit by Israeli airstrikes on Nov. 14, 2012. Credit: lpj.org
Smoke rises from Gaza after it was hit by Israeli airstrikes on Nov. 14, 2012. Credit: lpj.org

.- Amid renewed military action between Israel and the Gaza Strip, a bishop from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem is lamenting the “vicious circle of violence.”

Bishop William Shomali, Vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, told Vatican Radio Nov. 15 that it is presently hard to know who started the violence “because everyone condemns the other.”

“What is true is that many victims are falling down. Innocent people are dying,” he continued, adding that many people on both sides of the fighting are hungry and students cannot go to school.

“Life becomes impossible in that region,” he said.

In recent weeks, rocket attacks on Israel from Palestinian militants in Gaza caused retaliatory airstrikes from the Israeli military. On Nov. 14, Israel launched an offensive that killed the Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari and destroyed several dozen rocket launchers.

Palestinian militants retaliated by shooting more than 200 rockets at the Tel Aviv area, killing at least three. The attacks reached farther into the city than ever before, the Associated Press says.

At least 15 Palestinians have been killed in two days and nearly 200 have been wounded.

The conflict is the heaviest fighting in four years and could push Israel to conduct a ground invasion of Gaza. Bishop Shomali urged Christians to pray for those suffering and to advocate for humanitarian aid for the victims.

“These people don’t only need our prayers. They need our help,” he said.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem itself expressed “deep concern” about the escalation between the Palestinians and Israelis.

“Violence will solve nothing in the crisis,” it said Nov. 15, advocating an “international solution.”

The patriarchate expressed solidarity with all the victims, saying they are “at the center of its thoughts and prayers.”

It also prayed that those with responsibility in the conflict “do not give in to hate.”

Tags: Violence, Church in Holy Land


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