Jerusalem: Pope Francis has urged Israeli and Palestinian authorities to negotiate and resolve issues among them after recent deadly bomb attacks in Jerusalem and clashes in the occupied West Bank.
According to media reports, Pope Francis, speaking at Mass on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, said the violence was destroying the future of both countries.
On Wednesday, a 16-year-old boy was killed and at least 14 others were injured in two bomb blasts at a bus stop on the outskirts of Jerusalem, while a 50-year-old man died of his injuries on Saturday.
Later on Tuesday, a one-year-old Palestinian boy was shot dead by the Israeli army during clashes in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.
The Pope mentioned the two incidents and called the Jerusalem blasts “unpleasant” and said violence destroys futures, disrupts the lives of young people, and diminishes hopes for peace.
Pope Francis said he is following the “increase in violence and clashes” between Israel and Palestine with concern and called the twin blasts in Jerusalem “cowardly attacks.”
He prayed for the dead youth as well as their families, especially their mothers. He expressed hope that the Israeli and Palestinian authorities would make sincere efforts to negotiate, to develop mutual trust without which the earth would not exist.
After the Angelus, the pope also greeted participants of a November 27 march to denounce sexual violence against women.
Sexual violence against women is “unfortunately a general and widespread reality everywhere and also used as a weapon of war,” he said. “Let us not tire of saying no to war, no to violence, yes to dialogue, yes to peace.”