‘Stop the clamour of arms!’ Pope tells Israeli, Palestinian leaders

Rescue workers assist victims amid the rubble left by an Israeli air strike on Gaza City. (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis asked for calm in the Holy Land as escalating violence threatens to degenerate “into a spiral of death and destruction.”

The pope appealed “in the name of God” for calm in the Holy Land, after seven days of fighting that has left scores of people dead and hundreds more wounded.

The deaths of dozens of children among them are particularly “terrible and unacceptable,” Pope Francis said. “Their death is a sign that people do not want to build the future, but to destroy it.”

The pope urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders “to stop the clamour of arms and to walk the path of peace, with the help of the international community.”

He called for “unceasing” prayer for Israelis and Palestinians to “find the path of dialogue and forgiveness, to be patient builders of peace and justice, opening up, step-by-step, to a common hope, to coexistence between brothers.”

Pope Francis then asked the faithful to pray for the victims of the conflict, “especially the children.”

“Let us pray for peace to the Queen of Peace,” he said, before leading them in the recitation of a Hail Mary.

By Christopher Wells