An Israeli soldier prays atop a tank near the border with the Gaza Strip July 23. Israeli forces pounded the Gaza Strip July 23 and said they were meeting stiff resistance from Hamas militants. CNS photo/Baz Ratner, Reuters

Stop targeting civilians, archbishops tells Israelis, Gaza fighters

By  Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
  • July 23, 2014

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican representative to the UN Human Rights Council urged the Israeli military and fighters in the Gaza Strip to stop targeting civilian areas.

"As the number of people killed, wounded, uprooted from their homes, continues to increase in the conflict between Israel and some Palestinian groups, particularly in the Gaza Strip, the voice of reason seems submerged by the blast of arms," Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said July 23 during a special session of the council in Geneva.

Since hostilities exploded in early July, he said, most of the victims have been civilians, "who by international humanitarian law should be protected."

"The United Nations estimates that approximately 70 per cent of Palestinians killed have been innocent civilians. This is just as intolerable as the rockets and missiles directed indiscriminately toward civilian targets in Israel," said the archbishop, who serves as the Vatican's permanent representative to UN agencies in Geneva.

The archbishop reiterated the position of the Catholic Church that violence brings only destruction and that Israelis and Palestinians must engage in a dialogue, accepting each other's right to exist peacefully in their own states with internationally recognized borders and that both Israelis and Palestinians have a right to decent living conditions.

Tomasi also called on the media to report in a "fair and unbiased manner the tragedy of all who are suffering because of the conflict."

The violence must stop, he said: The only thing violence does is spread poison and push the possibility of peace further away.

"The perpetration of injustices and the violation of human rights, especially the right to life and to live in peace and security, sow fresh seeds of hatred and resentment," he said.

"A culture of violence is being consolidated, the fruits of which are destruction and death. Consciences are paralyzed by a climate of protracted violence, which seeks to impose solutions through the annihilation of the other. Demonizing others, however, does not eliminate their rights. Instead, the way to the future lies in recognizing our common humanity."

Comments (3)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Please tell me the archbishop is not really using the Israel- hating UN as his source.

Allan Waff
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I am appalled!!! Israel is fighting for it's life!!! Israeli's didn't hijack planes and kill almost 4,000 people in America; that was Islamic militants! Islamic radicals are targeting Israeli citizens!!!! Tell Islam to stop firing rockets into...

I am appalled!!! Israel is fighting for it's life!!! Israeli's didn't hijack planes and kill almost 4,000 people in America; that was Islamic militants! Islamic radicals are targeting Israeli citizens!!!! Tell Islam to stop firing rockets into Israel if you have the courage!!!

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irishsmile
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With all due respect to Archbishop Silvano Tomasi his view lacks balance and understanding of what is going happening on the ground. His comments do not distinguish between a terrorist group who's charter calls for the utter destruction of...

With all due respect to Archbishop Silvano Tomasi his view lacks balance and understanding of what is going happening on the ground. His comments do not distinguish between a terrorist group who's charter calls for the utter destruction of Israel and Israel trying to protect it's citizens; sad.

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IowaMike
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