GENEVA, Switzerland, JAN. 12, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent observer at the U.N. offices in Geneva, delivered last Friday regarding the situation of the conflict in the Gaza Strip.
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The Delegation of the Holy See would like to express its solidarity with both the people in Gaza, who are dying and suffering because of the ongoing military assault by the Israeli Defense Forces, and the people in Sderot, Ashkelon and other Israeli cities who are living under the constant terror of rocket attacks launched by Palestinian militants from within the Gaza Strip, which have caused casualties and wounded a number of people.
The patriarchs and heads of churches of Jerusalem marked last Sunday as a day of prayer with the intention to put an end to the conflict in Gaza and to restore peace and justice in the Holy Land. It is their conviction that the continuation of bloodshed and violence will not lead to peace and justice but breed more hatred and hostility and thus a continued confrontation between the two peoples. These religious leaders call upon both parties to return to their senses and refrain from all violent acts, which only bring destruction and tragedy. They urge them instead to work to resolve their differences through peaceful and nonviolent means.
The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, underlined last Sunday that the refusal of dialogue between the parties has led to unspeakable suffering for the population in Gaza, victims of hatred and war.
Mr. President, it is evident that the warring parties are not able to exit from this vicious circle of violence without the help of the international community that should therefore fulfill its responsibilities, intervene actively to stop the bloodshed, provide access for emergency humanitarian assistance, and end all forms of confrontation. At the same time, the international community should remain engaged in removing the root causes of the conflict that can only be resolved within the framework of a lasting solution of the greater Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the international resolutions adopted during the years.
May I conclude with the words of Pope Benedict XVI pronounced yesterday during the annual meeting with diplomats accredited to the Holy See: “Once again I would repeat that military options are no solution and that violence, wherever it comes from and whatever form it takes, must be firmly condemned. I express my hope that, with the decisive commitment of the international community, the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip will be re-established — an indispensable condition for restoring acceptable living conditions to the population — and that negotiations for peace will resume, with the rejection of hatred, acts of provocation and the use of arms.”
Thank you Mr. President