Pope warns Gaza conflict could spread

VATICAN CITY Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:48pm IST

Related Topics

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Wednesday urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make "courageous decisions" to end the Gaza conflict, saying it risked spilling over into the rest of the Middle East.

He told pilgrims and tourists at his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square that he backed efforts to negotiate a ceasefire.

"I appeal to the authorities on both sides to take courageous decisions in favour of peace and bring an end to a conflict with negative repercussions on the entire Middle East, which is already tormented by too many conflicts and so in need of peace and reconciliation," the pontiff said.

"I feel the need to once again say that hate and violence are not solutions to problems. I also encourage the efforts of those working for a truce and to promote negotiations," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was on Wednesday trying to seal a Gaza truce, with Israel and Hamas still at odds over key terms. Israeli air strikes shook the enclave and Palestinian rockets struck across the border.

Israel has carried out more than 1,500 strikes since the offensive began. Medical officials in Gaza say 139 Palestinians, most of them civilians and including 34 children, have died.

Nearly 1,400 rockets have been fired into Israel, killing four civilians and a soldier, the Israeli military said.

The pope made a trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories in 2009 but did not visit Gaza. In September, he visited Lebanon, where he appealed for peace in the region, including an end to the civil war in Syria.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; editing by Barry Moody)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

MIDDLE EAST

Reuters Showcase

Typhoon Kalmaegi

Typhoon Kalmaegi

Typhoon spares Hong Kong, but disrupts business.  Full Article 

Hurricane Odile

Hurricane Odile

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting.  Full Article 

NATO Points Finger

NATO Points Finger

Top NATO commander questions Russian intentions toward Moldova.  Full Article 

Asteroid Search

Asteroid Search

NASA's hunt for dangerous asteroids falls short, report shows.  Full Article 

Fiji Vote

Fiji Vote

Ghosts of ethnic conflicts past haunt Fiji vote.  Full Article 

Iceland Whaling

Iceland Whaling

EU, U.S. blast Iceland for stepping up whaling.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage