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Israel protests after Vatican condemns Gaza ‘carnage’

February 15, 2024 at 11:17 am

A view of destroyed buildings after Israeli attacks at al-Nuseirat refugee camp in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on February 14, 2024 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

Israel protested to the Vatican on Wednesday after senior Papal aide Cardinal Pietro Parolin described events in Gaza as “carnage” resulting from a disproportionate Israeli military response to the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas.

The Israeli Embassy to the Vatican said it was a “deplorable” comment. “Judging the legitimacy of a war without taking into account all relevant circumstances and data inevitably leads to wrong conclusions.”

Cardinal Parolin is the Vatican’s foreign minister and second only to Pope Francis in the city-state’s hierarchy. “I would like to reiterate, it is a clear and unreserved condemnation of any kind of anti-Semitism, however at the same time there is also a request that Israel’s right to self-defence invoked to justify this operation should be proportionate, but with 30,000 deaths it is certainly not,” he pointed out. “The voice of those asking Israel to stop is a general voice, [saying] that they can’t continue like this and we must find other paths to solve the Gaza problem.”

An editorial in the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, confirmed this message on Wednesday. “No one can define what is happening in the (Gaza) Strip as ‘collateral damage’ in the fight against terrorism. The right to defence, Israel’s right to bring the perpetrators of the October massacre to justice, cannot justify this carnage.”

According to the Israeli Embassy, Hamas bears responsibility for the death and destruction in the Palestinian Strip. It claimed that the movement is taking shelter in hospitals and schools, and that most Gazans support it. Predictably, the statement ignored 75 years of Israel’s brutal military occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.

The Pope, who has called repeatedly for peace in the Middle East and elsewhere, has faced criticism in the past from Jewish groups regarding the Vatican’s position on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza.

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