Vatican City, December 2
Pope Francis engaged in a “fraught” telephone conversation with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in late October, addressing the Israel-Hamas war.
According to a Washington Post report, the call was described as tense by a senior Israeli official. Herzog conveyed the profound shock in Israel after the October 7 Hamas attack, to which the Pope responded, stating unequivocally that it is “forbidden to respond to terror with terror,” according to the Israeli official.
A Vatican source confirmed to CNN that the call between the Pope and the Israeli president occurred at the end of October. However, CNN could not independently verify the Pope’s use of the term “terror.”
The Vatican released a statement to the Washington Post, asserting, “The phone call, like others in the same days, takes place in the context of the Holy Father’s efforts aimed at containing the gravity and scope of the conflict situation in the Holy Land.”
Following his conversation with Herzog, Pope Francis spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on November 2. Additionally, on October 22, the Pope reached out to United States President Joe Biden regarding the ongoing conflict. The Pope has publicly characterised the Israel-Hamas war as an act of terrorism.
During a general audience in St Peter’s Square on November 22, Pope Francis said, “This morning, I received two delegations, one of Israelis who have relatives as hostages in Gaza and another of Palestinians who have relatives suffering in Gaza. They suffer so much, and I heard how they both suffer: wars do this, but here we have gone beyond war. This is not war; this is terrorism.”
The Pope has consistently advocated for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict and maintains regular contact with the Catholic community in Gaza, CNN reported. (ANI)