Six months of conflict in the Middle East: Pope Francis' messages and gestures for peace

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Six months ago, the conflict in the Middle East escalated as Hamas attacked hundreds at a music festival on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Since then, Pope Francis has used many of his public appearances to call for an end to violence and bloodshed.

May the attacks and weaponry cease. Please! And let it be understood that terrorism and war do not lead to any resolutions, but only to the death and suffering of so many innocent people. War is a defeat. Every war is a defeat. Let us pray that there be peace in Israel and in Palestine.

Despite being thousands of miles away, the Pope has repeatedly expressed his solidarity with those living in the war zones, stressing that everyone should be able to live in peace.

Every human being, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, whatever people or religion, every human being is sacred, is precious in God's eyes and has the right to live in peace.

But it hasn't just been messages. Pope Francis has also made concrete gestures. One was when he met with two fathers—one Israeli and one Palestinian—who had lost their daughters in the conflict. He praised their example of friendship as an example for all to follow.

And they expressed their gratitude for his prayers and support.

-Please continue to pray for peace.
If we can be brothers, everyone can be.

The Pope also met with families from both sides of the conflict in Rome in what the Vatican called “humanitarian” meetings. For many of the family members, it was a chance to share their stories.

Thank you very much Your Holiness. This is my family. All kidnapped. May I give you a hug on behalf of my mother? Thank you very much.

Even on Easter Sunday, the Pope did not forget those in Israel and Gaza who are celebrating the Easter season amid the loss of loved ones and as war rages on around them. And he especially remembered the children.

Let us not allow the ongoing hostilities to continue, to severely affect the civilian population, now weary, especially the children. What suffering we see in the eyes of the children. They have forgotten to smile, those children in those territories of war.

Pope Francis continues to petition for not only an end to the conflict but also for humanitarian aid to reach the more than 1 million people in Gaza who have exhausted their food supply, according to a 2024 report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification.


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