Pope 'pained' over deaths in Holy Land, calls for dialogue

Posted May 17, 2018

"I am very anxious and saddened by the escalation of tensions in the Holy Land and in the Middle East, and by the spiral of violence that is increasingly moving away from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiations".

Pope Francis on Wednesday said he is "very concerned and pained" over the worsening tensions in the Holy Land and the Middle East, and for the "spiral of violence that increasingly drives away the path of peace, dialogue and negotiations". In addition, a baby died from tear gas inhalation, the Gaza Health Ministry said, bringing the death toll to 58.

"I repeat that the use of violence never leads to peace. War begets war, violence begets violence".

"I invite all those involved and the global community to renew their commitment so that dialogue, justice and peace may prevail", he said, before leading the thousands of people gathered in the square in praying the "Hail Mary".

Pope Francis also extended his "cordial wishes" to Muslims worldwide who on Thursday begin their fasting month of Ramadan.

"The living presence of Christ to safeguard, defend and expand in us is the lamp that lights our footsteps, a light that guides our choices, a flame that warms our hearts in going to encounter the Lord, making us able to help those who journey with us" toward eternity, the pope said. "Do not be dismayed, for the power of the Holy Spirit enables you to do this, and holiness, in the end, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life". He said it expresses new life as creatures who reflect the glory of God.

Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and now feel that, with its embassy there, the USA can not be a fair broker in the peace process with Israel.

The latest bloodshed came on the same day the United States opened its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem after relocating it from Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem's status is perhaps the thorniest issue of the decades-long conflict, with Israeli claiming the entire holy city as its capital while the Palestinians want the eastern sector as capital of their future state.