In an interview yesterday with the Italian daily La Stampa, Pope Francis revealed some of his concern over the conflict in Gaza, saying that it “is dramatically broadening…. There were the Oslo Accords, so clear, with the two-state solution. Until that agreement is applied, real peace remains distant. The conflict can further worsen the tensions and violence which afflict the planet.”
However, Francis said he is moderately hopeful for the negotiations behind the scenes to reach an agreement between the two warring factions: “A truce would already be a good result.”
He said Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, is a key figure in the Vatican’s efforts in the area. “He is great. He is making good moves. He is trying to mediate with determination,” he said. The Pope added that Christians and the people of Gaza—not Hamas—have the right to live in peace, and that his other priority is the return of the Israeli hostages held in the enclave.
Of note, he reported that he holds daily video calls with the Christian parish in Gaza, where 600 refugees are staying. “We see each other on Zoom, I speak to the people. They are going on with their lives every day while facing death."
In the interview, Francis addressed many other issues, including his relationship with Argentina’s new head of state Javier Milei. He said Milei asked to have a meeting when the Pope makes a visit to his native land later this year. The Pope has agreed to a meeting, possibly in Rome, but said that his trip to Argentina this year is not confirmed.