Pope Francis used “terrorism” to describe Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip in a “fraught” telephone call with Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, in late October, according to the Washington Post (WP).
forbidden to respond to terror with terror
Francis told Herzog, a senior Israeli official was quoted in the report, Anadolu Agency reports.
Herzog said, during the call, that his government was doing “what was needed in Gaza to defend its own people.”
The Pope said, in response, that “those responsible should indeed be held accountable, but not civilians,” it said.
The call, in which the Pope called the Israeli campaign in Gaza an “act of terrorism,” was deemed so “bad” by Israel that it decided not to make it public, according to the newspaper.
It said that the Vatican declined to clarify if the Pope was publicly or privately describing Israeli actions in Gaza as “terrorism”, but in a statement to the Post, it acknowledged the call between the Pope and Herzog.
“The phone call, like others in the same days, takes place in the context of the Holy Father’s efforts aimed at containing the gravity and scope of the conflict situation in the Holy Land,” it said.
A spokesman in the Israeli President’s office declined to comment on the report and said: “We are not inclined to make reference to private conversations.”
Israel launched a massive military campaign in the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by the Palestinian Resistance group, Hamas, on 7 October.
It has since killed over 15,000 people, including 6,150 children and 4,000 women, according to health authorities in the enclave.
The official Israeli death toll stands at 1,200.