by Judith Sudilovsky
JERUSALEM (CNS) – The Israeli government and leaders of Hamas must make courageous decisions to end the violence that has once again forced residents of Southern Israel into their bomb shelters and residents of the Gaza Strip into their homes, said Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali of Jerusalem.
“We are sad for this escalation. It does not lead to peace but only leads to more violence,” Bishop Shomali told Catholic News Service. “This is a vicious circle of violence and (retaliation) is really not the solution. Courageous decisions need to be taken from the part of Israel and also on the part of Hamas not to remain in the circle of retaliation.”
He said simultaneous international intervention from Egypt and the U.S. is needed for the violence to stop.
“Left alone, Israel and Hamas will remain in a circle of retaliation,” he said.
“The most important thing is to find a comprehensive solution to the whole Palestinian-Israeli conflict; if not, we will remain with the same retaliations and the same problems,” he said.
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said 120 rockets were fired into southern Israeli communities from Nov. 10 to Nov. 14, when Israel launched air strikes that targeted and killed Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari. More than 90 Palestinians and at least three Israelis had died in the violence as of Nov. 19.
In a Nov. 15 statement, Jerusalem’s Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal expressed his deep concern at the escalation, reiterating that violence will not solve the crisis. Only a global solution can find a resolution to the conflict, said a statement from his office.
“In this particular tense context, the patriarch is in solidarity with all victims who are at the center of his thoughts and prayers,” the statement said. “He also prays that all those in position of responsibility in this situation do not give in to hate.”