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People gather in Tel Aviv on November 24, the first day of the ceasefire that enabled a hostages-prisoners swap between Israel and Hamas (OSV News/Itai Ron, Reuters)

Pope Francis has called for an extension of the truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, saying that “war is always a defeat” for everyone except arms manufacturers. Source: Vatican News.

“I hope that the truce underway in Gaza might continue, so that all the hostages might be freed, and the necessary humanitarian aid might be able to enter.”

Pope Francis launched that appeal for the Holy Land at the end of his General Audience yesterday morning.

“May we please continue to pray for the serious situation in Israel and Palestine,” he said. “Peace, please, peace.”

Calling for the temporary ceasefire to be extended, he noted that he had recently spoken by phone with Gaza’s Catholic parish of the Holy Family.

“They don’t have water; they don’t have bread; ordinary people are suffering; the people are suffering,” he said. “It’s not those who make war who are suffering.”

“Let us now,” Pope Francis added, “ask for peace, and let us not forget, while asking for peace, the dear Ukrainian people, who are suffering a lot and still fighting a war.”

“War is always a defeat,” he concluded. “Everyone loses. Well, not everyone — there’s a group that earns a lot. Those who make weapons. They earn a lot from the deaths of others.”

Hamas and Israel agreed to a 48-hour extension of the truce on Monday, which is due to end at midnight on Wednesday (9am AEDT) without another extension.

Conditions in Gaza have remained grim for 2.3 million Palestinians, hammered by weeks of Israeli bombardment and a ground onslaught that have driven three-quarters of the population from their homes.

Israel began attacking Gaza after Hamas fighters crossed the border on October 7, killing 1200 Israelis and taking more than 200 hostages.


Pope: May the truce in Gaza continue (By Joseph Tulloch, Vatican News)