After praying the Sunday Regina Coeli yesterday, Pope Francis made an impassioned plea for peace in the Holy Land after days of violent conflict has many dead.

“In these days, violent armed clashes between the Gaza Strip and Israel have taken hold, and risk degenerating into a spiral of death and destruction. Numerous people have been injured, and many innocents have died. Among them there are also children, and this is terrible and unacceptable. Their death is a sign that one does not want to build the future, but wants to destroy it. Furthermore, the crescendo of hatred and violence that is affecting various cities in Israel is a serious wound to fraternity and peaceful coexistence among citizens, which will be difficult to heal if there is not an immediate opening to dialogue.”

Speaking directly to Israeli and Palestinian leaders, he appealed for them to “stop the clamor of arms and to walk the path of peace, with the help of the international community.”

“I ask myself: where will hatred and revenge lead? Do we really think we will build peace by destroying the other? Do we really intend to build peace by destroying others? In the name of God, who created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and called them to live together as brothers, I am calling for calm and for those responsible to end the use of arms and to embark on the path of peace.”

Before reciting a Rosary for the victims of the conflict, “especially the children,” Pope Francis asked the pilgrims in Saint Peter’s Square to pray:

“Let us pray unceasingly that Israelis and Palestinians may find the path of dialogue and forgiveness, to be patient builders of peace and justice, opening up, step by step, to a common hope, to a coexistence among brothers.”

After, he began: “Let us pray for peace to the Queen of Peace…”

Watch yesterday’s livestreamed Regina Coeli below:

Earlier Monday morning, Pope Francis also spoke about the situation in a telephone call with the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to the Director of the Holy See Press Office Matteo Bruni. The nature and contents of their call has been kept private thus far.

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