Israel’s foreign minister Eli Cohen demanded that Pope Francis issue a “clear and unequivocal” condemnation of the “murderous terrorist actions” of Hamas terrorists who killed more than 1,300 Israelis in a surprise attack last week, according to Fox News.
Cohen reportedly told the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States Paul Gallagher that Israel “expects the Vatican to come out with a clear and unequivocal condemnation of the murderous terrorist actions.”
“It is unacceptable that you put out a statement expressing worry primarily for Gazan civilians while Israel is burying 1,300 who were murdered,” Cohen said.
Since the attack, officials with the Catholic Church have issued a range of reactions.
“The operation launched from Gaza and the reaction of the Israeli Army are bringing us back to the worst period in our recent history,” the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem wrote in a statement. “The too many casualties and tragedies, which both Palestinians and Israeli families have to deal with, will create more hatred and division, and will destroy more and more any perspective of stability.”
“I follow with apprehension and sorrow what is happening in Israel,” Francis said tepidly the day after the attack. “I express my solidarity with the relatives of the victims, and I pray for all those who are experiencing hours of terror and anguish.”
Last Wednesday, Pope Francis affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself, but expressed no clear condemnation of Hamas atrocities: “I continue to follow what is happening in Israel and Palestine with tears and apprehension: many people killed, others injured,” the pope said. “I pray for those families who have seen a feast day transformed into a day of mourning, and I ask that the hostages be released immediately.”