Pope Francis, during his Easter address on Sunday, called for world peace and stressed the need for “reconciliation” among Israelis and Palestinians after protests at the Israel-Gaza border left at least 15 dead and hundreds injured.
The pope urged for “reconciliation for the Holy Land, also experiencing in these days the wounds of ongoing conflict that do not spare the defenseless.”
Thousands of Palestinians gathered at the border separating Israel and Gaza on Friday. According to NBC News, the mass demonstrations were led by Hamas and marked the beginning of a six-week protest campaign.
Some Palestinians at the border threw stones and burning tires. Israeli troops responded with live fire, rubber-coated steel pellets and drones that dropped tear gas on the gathered Palestinians, NBC News reported.
“It bears fruits of hope and dignity where there are deprivation and exclusion, hunger and unemployment; where there are migrants and refugees, so often rejected by today’s culture of waste, and victims of the drug trade, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery,” Francis said Sunday.
He called for an end to the violence in Syria and said that aid should be allowed to be delivered to the needy within the war-torn country.
Among calls for peace on a number of international hotspots, the pope referenced the current conflict on the Korean Peninsula over nuclear weapons and urged “those who are directly responsible act with wisdom and discernment to promote the good of the Korean people.”