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Hamas attack, Israeli retaliation. “WP”: Pope Francis called the Israeli response to the Hamas attack “terrorism”

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Pope Francis, in a conversation with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, called the country’s response to the attack by Palestinian Hamas “terrorism,” the Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing a representative of the Israeli authorities.

According to the Washington Post, a telephone conversation between Pope Francis and the president Israel Isaac Herzog took place at the end of October. When Herzog told the pope about the horror Israel endured due to the Hamas attacks, the pope allegedly replied that “it is forbidden to respond to terrorism with terrorism.”

Read also: The Pope is suffering from “very acute bronchitis”

According to the daily, Herzog allegedly protested that Israel was acting in self-defense, to which Francis replied that the perpetrators, not innocent civilians, should be responsible for the attacks. The conversation was reportedly considered by Israeli authorities to be so “bad that they decided not to make public the fact that it took place.” Vatican confirmed to the Washington Post the fact of the conversation, but did not comment on whether Francis considers Israel’s campaign in the Gaza Strip to be terrorism.

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“It’s more than a war here. It’s not a war, it’s terrorism.”

However, as the newspaper notes, the leader of the Catholic Church said similar words publicly. During the general audience on November 22 – after meetings with delegations of families of hostages from Israel and families of bombing victims from Palestine – he said that “here it is more than a war. It is not a war, it is terrorism.”

Pope Francis PAP/EPA/RICCARDO ANTIMIANI

According to one of the participants in the meeting with the pope, Palestinian professor Shireen Hilal, Francis cried when he heard their stories and used the word “genocide” to describe Israeli actions. A Vatican spokesman said that “as far as he knows”, the pope has not used such a phrase.

Read also: The ceasefire in the Gaza Strip has been extended

The Washington Post writes that although the participants of the meeting with the Israelis were grateful for the audience, some of them noted that it lasted less than 20 minutes and not all of them were able to comment. Some were also outraged by the pope’s later words about terrorism.

Representatives of the Jewish community are also outraged, including the chief rabbi of Milan, Alfonso Pedatzur Arbib, who accused the Vatican of not reacting to the wave of anti-Semitism in Italy. – Something big is happening (…) all the brakes are released. I would expect clear actions from the Church, but I haven’t seen them yet, said the priest, quoted by the Washington Post.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/RICCARDO ANTIMIANI



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