Holy Land in Conflict as Israel Begins New Airstrike Campaign

Tags: Currents Crux, Faith, Gaza, Israel, Media, Palestine, Pope Francis, World News

By Jessica Easthope

New Israeli airstrikes hit near the offices of the United Nation’s Palestinian Refugee Agency and the Islamic University.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says at least 212 people have been killed and more than 1,400 wounded since the fighting began. Israeli Defense Forces says rockets have killed 10 people, including two children, in the past week. Israel also says that it intercepted a UAV, a drone, that was seen approaching the border between Gaza and Israel.

Catholics in the region have not been directly attacked, but they are living amid the violence with fear and frustration.

“In Gaza, the Rosary Sisters School was indirectly hit because around the school there are several Hamas tunnels. Part of the local community has moved to live inside the school, because they are safer there. They are afraid of being in their homes,” said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Archbishop Pizzaballa is calling for calm on both sides of the conflict. He asks the world to not forget the situation in the Holy Land, and to pray for peace and justice.

“This brutality that has exploded had been dormant for some time and we didn’t realize it,” the patriarch said. “I think we have to overcome the illusion that interfaith meetings for peace will lead to a peaceful coexistence. We need to be attentive to the language we use. Because violent language leads to violence.”

The patriarch asks Catholics to be more sensitive to the situation in Jerusalem, where the roots of the faith are. He fears that the situation will get worse in the coming days, and hopes Pope Francis’ calls for dialogue will be heard before it is too late.