The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem has lamented the suffering of “starving two million people” in Gaza and called for the opening of humanitarian corridors.
In a Vatican News interview, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa expressed that military actions, such as bombing Gaza, will not lead to a lasting solution.
“We condemned what Hamas did in southern Israel, these are atrocities that have no justification. But the answer to this cannot be to starve two million people,” he said.
The patriarch said urged all parties for “the opening of humanitarian corridors that will allow injured people to be treated, and [will allow] access to humanitarian aid trucks”.
“After all, those two million people are not all followers of Hamas,” he said.
Pizzaballa described the situation in Gaza as an immense tragedy, with a rising death toll that has now exceeded 5,000, including many women and children.
“The neighborhoods razed to the ground by shelling, no water, no food, no electricity. It is a situation that I cannot understand, he said.
He stressed that “one has to try” and “one cannot give up” in finding a long-lasting solution to the conflict.
He said he has a bleeding heart “because in my community there are Palestinians and Israelis,” adding, “And holding everything together at this time is really very complicated.”
The Latin Patriarch also expressed concerns for the Christians in Gaza who have taken refuge in the Latin parish of the Holy Family and the Greek Orthodox parish of St. Porphyry, the latter of which has been struck by some of the bombings.
“Through humanitarian organizations, we try to get them what they need. We have also sent the authorities the precise location of our communities to prevent further tragedies. For now, there is nothing more we can do,” he said.
Pizzaballa said all parties must seek peace “at any cost,” adding, “One must not confuse peace with victory.” He said all parties have to “create the conditions for this to happen as soon as possible”.
The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees issued a warning that it would be forced to stop working across the Gaza Strip by Wednesday due to an acute fuel shortage.
Recently, the United States and Canada have joined a call for a humanitarian pause in the Israel-Hamas war to allow safe deliveries of humanitarian aid in Gaza.
Since October 7, at least 5,791 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza, while more than 1,400 people were killed in Israel.