Death of Children an Obstacle to Peace, Says Paper

L’Osservatore Romano Laments Attack on Gaza Neighborhood

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 24, 2002 ( The violent death of children is the greatest obstacle to Mideast peace, L’Osservatore Romano commented after the Israeli air raid Tuesday that killed 15 Palestinians in a Gaza neighborhood.

The semiofficial Vatican newspaper reported that nine children were among the dead, and more than 140 people were wounded in the bombing by an Israeli F-16 warplane.

Among the dead was Salah Shehade, head of the military wing of the Gaza Strip’s Islamic group Hamas, who was the object of the attack.

The Vatican newspaper stated Wednesday that in the Middle East, «violence continues to strike children.»

«By striking children, the generations that should rescue a past of barbarism are denied a future,» it stated. «By killing defenseless civilians, barriers of hatred are erected that are much more difficult to knock down than a wall, ideological barricades are built that are more impermeable than a blockade point.»

«When diplomacy finally completes its complex work of reconciling opposite points of view, when the last barbed wire fence is removed, when a state is established in the Occupied Territories that guarantees autonomy to Palestinians and security to Israelis, then it will be clearly seen that the rancor accumulated on both sides, because of the death of children, represents the greatest obstacle to peaceful coexistence,» L’Osservatore Romano concluded.

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