Benedict XVI: Violence Does Not Lead to Peace

“Heartbroken” Pontiff Makes Appeal Against Violence

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 2, 2010 ( Violence does not lead to peace, Benedict XVI repeated “with a heartbroken spirit” days after Israeli soldiers and pro-Palestinian activists clashed aboard a Turkish ship.

The Pope made the appeal at the general audience in St. Peter’s Square in which he said he was following with “profound trepidation […] the tragic events that happened in the proximity of the Gaza Strip.”

On Monday, six ships with some 700 passengers, known as the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla,” attempted to break through an Israeli naval blockade in order to deliver supplies to Gaza.

Although the details are still being confirmed, the confrontation broke out in violence aboard one of the ships. Media sources are reporting that between ten and 20 lives were lost, and up to 70 others from both sides were injured.

“I feel the need to express my profound grief for the victims of the most painful events, which preoccupy all those who have at heart peace in the area,” he said. “Once again, I repeat with a heartbroken spirit that violence does not resolve controversies, but increases the tragic consequences and generates more violence.

“I appeal to all those who have political responsibility at the local and international level, to search incessantly for just solutions through dialogue, in order to guarantee to the peoples of the area better conditions of life, in concord and serenity.

I invite you to join my prayer for the victims, for their families and for all who suffer. May the Lord sustain the efforts of those who do not tire of working for reconciliation and peace.”

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