Pope Francis calls for a Gaza ceasefire and appeals for more aid

Jordan to host an international conference with Egypt and the UN next week on the humanitarian situation in the enclave

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Pope Francis called on Sunday for humanitarian aid to urgently reach Palestinians in Gaza and for Israel and Hamas to immediately accept proposals for a ceasefire and release of hostages.

During his Sunday blessing, the Pope also thanked Jordan, which this week will host an international humanitarian aid conference for Palestinians.

“I encourage the international community to act urgently, with all means, to come to the aid of the people of Gaza, worn out by the war,” he said. “Humanitarian aid must be allowed to reach those in need, and no one can impede it.”

Jordan is set to host an emergency international conference on the urgent humanitarian response to the crisis in the Gaza Strip.

The conference will be held on Tuesday near the Dead Sea and will be co-hosted with the UN, and Egypt.

The meeting aims to identify ways to bolster the international community’s response to the humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip, and commitment for a collective co-ordinated response to address the situation.

Pope Francis recalled that Saturday marked the 10-year anniversary of a peace prayer he hosted in the Vatican gardens, attended by then-Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“This meeting showed that shaking hands is possible, and that to make peace, you need courage – much more courage than to make war,” he said.

The Pope threw his support behind ceasefire proposals and said he hoped the terms would be quickly accepted by both sides, even though he acknowledged negotiations “are not easy”.

“I hope that the peace proposals on all fronts that have been presented and for the release of hostages will be accepted immediately for the sake of the Palestinians and Israelis,” he said.

Updated: June 10, 2024, 1:47 PM