Israel demands: Vatican should clearly condemn Hamas massacre

Cardinal offers himself in exchange for Hamas hostages

Rome/Jerusalem - "If this way children can be released and return home, it would not be a problem": Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa offers himself in exchange for Hamas hostages. Meanwhile, Israel criticises the Vatican.

Published  on 16.10.2023 at 11:14  – 

Jerusalem Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa has offered to exchange himself for Hamas hostages. "If such children can be released and return home, it would not be a problem," the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem replied to a journalist's question to that effect at an (Italian-language) online press conference on Monday. "From my side, the willingness is there," he added.

In order to find a way out of the current situation, it is necessary for the hostages to return, Pizzaballa said. A concrete gesture could lead to reconsideration of the current development, he said. "Otherwise, it is very difficult to stop this development," the cardinal said, referring to Israel's expected ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

In recent days, Pope Francis had also called for the release of the hostages. Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin had brought the Vatican into play as a mediator in the matter. The Holy See wanted to try to ensure that at least some of the abductees could return, Pizzaballa said. But it was difficult to talk to Hamas, he said. The terrorist organisation had attacked Israel with rockets on 7 October. In addition, terrorists had invaded Israeli territory, brutally murdered about 1,300 people and abducted about 150 people to Gaza. Israel responded with harsh counter-attacks.

Israel: Vatican should clearly condemn Hamas massacre

Meanwhile, Israel is demanding an unequivocal condemnation of the Hamas massacres of 7 October from the Vatican. According to a spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry on Network X on Sunday evening, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen informed his Vatican counterpart Paul Gallagher that his country expects from the Vatican a "clear and unequivocal condemnation of the murderous acts of terror committed by Hamas terrorists who killed women, children and the elderly solely because they were Jews and Israelis".

Cohen had told Gallagher: "It is unacceptable that a statement is issued that contains concern primarily for the civilian population in Gaza, while Israel is burying 1,300 people who were murdered." Israel's Foreign Minister continued, "Unfounded comparisons are misplaced. Hamas, a worse terrorist organisation than IS, has entered Israel with the intention of harming innocent civilians." Israel, on the other hand, is a democracy trying to protect its citizens from Hamas, he said. (tmg/KNA)