Monday, July 23, 2018 | ePaper

Pope worried over Mideast violence

  • Print


AFP, Vatican City :
Pope Francis said Wednesday he was "very worried" by escalating violence in the Middle East after 60 Gazans were shot dead by Israeli troops while protesting the US embassy's move to Jerusalem.
"I am very worried about the escalation of tensions in the Holy Land and the Middle East, and about the spiral of violence which moves us ever further away from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiation," he said during his weekly audience at the Vatican.
"I express my great sorrow for the dead and wounded and I am close through prayer and affection to all those who suffer," he added.
Calling for "dialogue, justice and peace," Francis said violence "has never led to peace. War incites war, violence incites violence."
Israel has come under mounting international pressure after its forces opened fire on the Gaza border on Monday, killing 60 protesters who had massed alongside the fence to protest as the US moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At least 2,400 other Palestinians were wounded in what was the bloodiest day of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the 2014 Gaza war.
Francis has on several occasions expressed support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, indirectly criticising US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Israel's claim to Jerusalem as its capital.
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.
Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War, later annexing the eastern sector of the city in a move never recognised by the international community.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called for restraint, saying "such violence is destructive to peace efforts".
French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the "violence of the Israeli armed forces against the protesters".
Ireland and Belgium summoned the Israeli envoys in their capitals, while South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel.
Turkey has told Israel's ambassador to temporarily leave the country, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of "state terror" and "genocide".
Israel hit back, ordering the Turkish consul in Jerusalem to leave for an unspecified period of time.
"Erdogan is one of the biggest supporters of Hamas, so there's no doubt he's an expert on terror and slaughter," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted.
Netanyahu also accused the Islamist movement Hamas which rules Gaza of deliberately putting civilian lives at risk for political gain.
"They (Hamas) are pushing civilians-women, children-into the line of fire with a view of getting casualties," Netanyahu told CBS.
"We've tried to minimise casualties; they are trying to incur casualties in order to put pressure on Israel which is horrible."
The US ambassador to the United Nations strongly defended Israel at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the violence in Gaza.
"No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has," Nikki Haley said. "In fact the records of several countries here today suggest they would be much less restrained."
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas withdrew his top representative to the United States, Husam Zomlot, the foreign ministry announced, without saying for how long.
The United States has blocked the adoption of a Security Council statement that would have called for an independent probe into the violence, diplomats said.
In the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, funerals were held for a second day.
Hundreds attended the funeral of Yazan Tubasi, 23, killed east of Gaza City.
"I am happy that my son is a martyr," said his father Ibrahim, 50, though he was crying uncontrollably.

More News For this Category

UK to refuse Brexit bill without trade deal: Report

UK to refuse Brexit bill without trade deal: Report

AFP, London :Britain will only pay its EU divorce bill if the bloc agrees the framework for a future trade deal, the new Brexit Secretary warned in an interview

Israel evacuates 800 White Helmets to Jordan in face of Syria advance

Israel evacuates 800 White Helmets to Jordan in face of Syria advance

AFP, Amman :Israel has evacuated 800 White Helmets rescuers and their family members threatened by advancing Syrian regime forces to Jordan for resettlement in Britain, Canada and Germany, Amman

Sharif's close aide gets life sentence in 6-year-old narcotics case

Sharif's close aide gets life sentence in 6-year-old narcotics case

PTI, Islamabad :A leading PML-N candidate for the July 25 general elections was arrested and sent to Adiala jail after he was convicted by a court and handed down

News In Brief

Nearly 19,800 children died in western India in last fiscal yearXinhua, New DelhiNearly 19,800 children have died in the western Indian state of Maharashtra in the last financial year,

Iranian President warns Trump ‘war with Iran mother of all wars’

Iranian President warns Trump ‘war with Iran mother of all wars’

Reuters , Dubai :Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday cautioned U.S. President Donald Trump about pursuing hostile policies against Tehran, saying "America should know ... war with Iran is

UN Chief urges Israel, Palestinians to avoid 'devastating conflict'

UN Chief urges Israel, Palestinians to avoid 'devastating conflict'

AFP, United Nations :UN Secretary- General Antonio Guterres called Saturday on Israelis and Palestinians to avoid "another devastating conflict" after resurgent violence claimed five lives on Friday."I am gravely

'Suffering' ends with Honduran baby back in parents' arms

'Suffering' ends with Honduran baby back in parents' arms

AP, San Pedro Sula :For months, a Honduran couple watched their only son grow up in videos while he was kept in U.S. government custody. That's where he took

Saudi Arabia slams 'racial discrimination' of Israeli law

Saudi Arabia slams 'racial discrimination' of Israeli law

AFP, Riyadh :Saudi Arabia has slammed a controversial Israeli law as "perpetuating racial discrimination" against Palestinians by defining the country as the nation state of the Jewish people, state

France, Russia send humanitarian aid to Syria for Ghouta victims

France, Russia send humanitarian aid to Syria for Ghouta victims

AFP, Châteauroux : France and Russia on Saturday despatched a plane carrying humanitarian aid to the ravaged former Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, which was retaken by government forces

White House rejects Putin's idea for Ukraine referendum

AP, Washington : The White House rejected on Friday a Vladimir Putin-backed effort to hold a referendum in eastern Ukraine on the region's future, distancing itself from the idea in