U.S. bishops pray for peace as Israel-Hamas conflict rages

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On Friday, May 7 – the last Friday of Ramadan – thousands of Palestinian Muslims clashed with police at al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount. More than 150 Palestinians and six Israeli police officers were injured, according to the BBC. On May 10, Hamas began firing rockets into Jerusalem.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem stated on May 10 that “peace requires justice. Insofar as far as the rights of everyone, Israelis and Palestinians, are not upheld and respected, there will be no justice and therefore no peace in the city.”

Palestinians had been denied access to Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan, the Patriarchate said. “These demonstrations of strength wound the spirit and soul of the Holy City, whose vocation is to be open and welcoming; to be a home for all believers, with equal rights and dignity and duties,” the Patriarchate said.

Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa added that “the violence used against the worshippers undermines their safety and their rights to have access to the Holy Places and worship freely.”

The Holy Father mentioned the conflict on the Temple Mount in his Sunday Regina Coeli prayer on May 9.

“With particular concern I am following the events that are happening in Jerusalem. I pray that it may be a place of encounter and not of violent clashes, a place of prayer and peace,” he said.

“I invite everyone to seek shared solutions so that the multireligious and multicultural identity of the Holy City is respected and brotherhood prevails. Violence begets violence. Enough with the clashes,” he said.

Bishop Malloy on Thursday also called on all parties in the conflict to stop the violence.

“We call on all parties to cease the violence,” Bishop Malloy stated. The maiming and killing of one’s neighbor only serves to demonize one’s adversary and deepen passions that divide and destroy.”

The USCCB, he continued, has called for the “upholding the Status Quo of the Holy Places, including the Al-Aqsa Compound, the site of much of this week’s violence.” He also appealed to international law “in settling these disputes.”

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