Washington D.C., May 13, 2021 / 09:01 am
The U.S. bishops’ conference offered prayers for peace in the Holy Land on Thursday, as conflict between Israel and Hamas flared up this week.
“We are greatly saddened that simmering tensions erupted into violence in the Holy Land this week,” stated Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, chair of the U.S. bishops’ international justice and peace committee, on Thursday.
“It is a cycle we have unfortunately witnessed and spoken out against many times, but because of our great love in Christ Jesus, we remain ever present and close to the people of this land until the Peace of God reigns in its fullness forever,” Bishop Malloy stated.
According to Reuters, 83 have died in Gaza this week as a result of conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza. Hamas has fired rockets at Jerusalem and other cities in Israel, while the Israeli military has conducted airstrikes on Gaza, including on residential buildings, reports have claimed.
Incidents of mob violence have occurred between Jews and Arabs in other Israeli cities. In the city of Lod, southeast of Tel Aviv, the city's mayor has warned of a "civil war" breaking out and a "Kristallnacht" campaign conducted against Israeli civilians. He has asked for the Israeli military to intervene.
On Friday, May 7 – the last Friday of Ramadan – thousands of Palestinian Muslims clashed with police at al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount. More than 150 Palestinians and six Israeli police officers were injured, according to the BBC. On May 10, Hamas began firing rockets into Jerusalem.
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem stated on May 10 that “peace requires justice. Insofar as far as the rights of everyone, Israelis and Palestinians, are not upheld and respected, there will be no justice and therefore no peace in the city.”
Palestinians had been denied access to Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan, the Patriarchate said. “These demonstrations of strength wound the spirit and soul of the Holy City, whose vocation is to be open and welcoming; to be a home for all believers, with equal rights and dignity and duties,” the Patriarchate said.