In reference to the recent violence near Gaza, Pope Benedict XVI urged local and international politicians to reach peaceful solutions in the region. Emphasizing the senselessness of violence, he asked for a commitment to achieving “harmony and serenity” in the area through dialogue.
The call from the Holy Father comes after Israeli military forces intercepted and boarded six boats attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The flotilla of ships was trying to break through a three-year Israeli blockade of the area’s ports. According to news reports, at least nine activists were killed in the strike and dozens were injured.
“I am following the tragic events that have come about in the proximity of the Gaza Strip with great trepidation,” said the Holy Father in Italian at the conclusion of today's general audience. “I feel the need to express my deepest condolences to the victims of these very painful events that are troubling to all who have the peace of the region in their hearts.
“Once again, I repeat with a heavy heart that violence does not resolve controversies, rather it increases their dramatic consequences and generates further violence.”
He made a call to “all who have political responsibility on the local and international levels” that they “seek just solutions incessantly through dialogue in a way that guarantees the best condition of life, harmony, and serenity to the peoples of the area.”
The Holy Father also invited prayers for the victims, their families and all who have suffered from the attack.
He concluded by observing that “the Lord sustains the efforts of those who never tire of working for reconciliation and peace.”
The U.N. condemned the acts on Monday and called for a “"prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation" into the matter.