June 25, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Pope, Netanyahu’s wife tangle on way forward for world peace

Israel has focused attention on Gaza’s hospitals since it began its offensive in Gaza in October, claiming Hamas uses medical facilities for military purposes.

CHRISTMAS or no, Israel insists its war against Hamas in Palestine persists, even when Catholic pontiff Pope Francis is saying “ceasefire.”
A drama has been added to the imbroglio with Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, firing off a letter to the Pope.
In the eve of Christmas message, Mrs. Netanyhu is requesting the Pope’s help for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.
Pope Francis delivers his traditional Christmas Day message from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican saying ceasefire and release of hostages are necessary for world peace.
Pope Francis used his Christmas Day message to urge for a ceasefire and issue a plea for the end of the war between Israel and Hamas.
“Let us pray for peace in Palestine and Israel,” says the 87-year-old pontiff, describing war as “an aimless voyage, a defeat without victors, an inexcusable folly” in his Christmas Day “Urbi et Orbi” message.
Urbi et Orbi – meaning “to the city [of Rome] and to the world” in Latin – is a papal address and blessing given during important occasions.
“I plead for an end to the military operations with their appalling harvest of innocent civilian victims, and call for a solution to the desperate humanitarian situation by an opening to the provision of humanitarian aid,” he said from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican city.
Sara Netanyahu sent a letter to the Pope on Sunday, requesting his help for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.
Pope Francis replies by repeating his calls for the release of the captives.
In his remarks, the Pope describes the children “devastated” by war as the “little Jesuses” of today, and laments the number of “innocents” being “slaughtered in the world” including those in “their mothers’ wombs” and others who are “in odysseys undertaken in desperation and in search of hope.”
Pope Francis also appeals for peace in conflicts across the world, including in Ukraine, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
He reiterates his criticism of arms trade, which he labels as “the interests and the profits that move the puppet-strings of war” and laments that “arms production, sales and trade are on the rise.”
Meanwhile, World Health Organization (WHO) officials say they see “acute hunger” and “rising desperation” during a visit to a heavily damaged hospital in the north of the besieged enclave.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the situation is “desperate.”
A WHO team delivered supplies to the flashpoint Al-Shifa hospital on Saturday with humanitarian partners including the United Nations and World Central Kitchen.
“Al-Shifa is a microcosm of the nightmare playing out across Gaza, where drastic shortages of medicines, food, power, water and – above all – safety imperil the population,” Tedros said on X, formerly Twitter.
The joint mission delivered 19,200 liters of generator fuel to Al-Shifa, where hospital authorities say 50,000 displaced people are taking refuge, according to Tedros.
He says his colleagues saw Al-Shifa’s surgery wing “overflowing with Gazans” who were seeking safety and shelter.
Tedros emphasizes that the risk of famine is high across Gaza, with people desperately searching for food.
“I can only imagine the torment that would drive people to such lengths,” Tedros says, of people who have resorted to grabbing supplies from delivery trucks during the joint mission.
The mission also visited several maternity hospitals, where officials say they saw a lack of staffing, fuel, food, water, and pain medicine.
At Al-Shaba maternity hospital, there are only three doctors to help deliver about 20 babies a day, including performing C-sections, Tedros says.
“Hospitals should be places for care and recovery, not danger and unrelenting suffering,” he says.