Pope Francis condemns increasing ‘death spiral’ in Middle East

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Pope Francis on Sunday condemned a resurgence of violence in the Middle East, calling on both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to engage in a “sincere search for peace.”

“The death spiral that increases day by day only closes the few glimmers of trust that exist between the two peoples,” said the pope following his traditional Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square.

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Francis, 86, cited 10 Palestinians, including a woman, killed in an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank, and an attack Friday by a Palestinian gunman that killed seven Israelis outside a synagogue in east Jerusalem.

“Since the beginning of the year, dozens of Palestinians have been killed in clashes with the Israeli army,” said the pope.

“I appeal to the two governments and the international community to find other ways without delay, including dialogue and the sincere search for peace.”

“It is with great sorrow that I learn of the news coming from the Holy Land,” he said.

At least 26 Israelis and 200 Palestinians were killed across Israel and the Palestinian territories in 2022, the majority in the West Bank, according to an AFP tally from official sources.

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