Appeal for Mideast Peace Renewed

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 23, 2002 ( John Paul II made another appeal for peace to those living in the Holy Land, urging them to overcome hatred.

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“I would like to entrust today in a special way to the merciful Heart of Jesus all those who live in the Holy Land — Jews, Christians and Muslims,” the Holy Father said today when he addressed pilgrims gathered in St. Peter´s Square.

The Sacred Heart, though attacked, “never nursed sentiments of hatred and vengeance, but asked for forgiveness for its executioners,” the Pope said. Jesus´ heart points to “the only way to emerge from the spiral of violence: the way of pacification of souls, of reciprocal understanding, and of reconciliation,” he added.

In the wake of two suicide attacks in Jerusalem last week, the Israeli army launched a military operation Wednesday in several West Bank cities. The government called up thousands of reservists to prepare “to fight against Palestinian terrorism.”

After the first attack, the Pope strongly condemned the violence, reminding “those who plot and plan such barbarous acts that they will have to answer to God” [see June 19 archives].

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