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Jerusalem Cardinal Says Now Is Not The Time To Ask Israel To Make Peace Deal

  Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, said he believes calls for a two-state solution after Hamas terrorist ...

 Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, said he believes calls for a two-state solution after Hamas terrorist attacks are “simply unrealistic,” as is the possibility of “dialogue between Israel and Hamas militia.”

The comments to The Daily Wire come after the Vatican’s Vatican’s Secretary of State called for peace through dialogue between the two sides. Pizzaballa has just returned to Jerusalem on an emergency trip after participating in the ongoing Synod of Bishops in Rome, and says talk of peace dialogues must come after Israel strikes back against Hamas terrorists.

“Right now, to talk about ‘dialogue’ in this moment is something not realistic, not concrete or practical. We have to stop the violence, the war, and then see what we can do, after the ruins of this war are in front of us,” Pizzaballa said.

A newly elevated Cardinal, Pizzaballa finds himself at the center of diplomacy and on the front lines representing the Holy See as one of leaders of the world’s three major religions. At age 58, the Cardinal now faces similar crises that echo the history of his predecessors in Jerusalem — from its first Bishop, St James the Lesser, Apostle of Jesus to when the Latin Patriarchate was established with the end of the First Crusade in 1099 AD.

It was early last Saturday morning when reports began to surface that thousands of Hamas terrorists were striking Israel, targeting civilians at a music festival and in towns that bordered Gaza. As the day progressed, reports of civilians massacred, and many others taken hostage back to Gaza drove Pizzaballa to return to Jerusalem, foregoing his participation as a delegate in the Vatican’s Synod on Synodality.

Pizzaballa said one of his immediate concerns is the Palestinian Christian community.

“What we saw last week in South Israel was dramatic, horrific and barbaric,” Pizzaballa said. “Now what we’re seeing occurring in Gaza is extremely problematic—I’m very concerned about our (Christian) community. This war will have a big impact on the faithful there, and with the disorder of the situation, we don’t know where many are.”

Asked how many Palestinian Christians, whose history corresponds to when Jesus walked the earth, lived in Hamas-controlled Gaza, the Cardinal said that the number was likely under a thousand.

“We have a little less than a thousand Christians in Gaza, but we don’t have any place (for them) to go. We have no place for them to evacuate to on that side of the border, and for the many disabled, the elderly, we have no way to transport them even if we did have a place. So we are powerless in this moment.”

Prior to the attacks last weekend, reports covered several serious incidences of religiously-driven vandalization of Christian churches and attacks on pilgrims around Jerusalem. Pizzaballa said he felt tensions rising in Israel prior to the attack in Gaza.

“I think the tensions were, yes, rising mostly between Israelis and Palestinians,” Pizzaballa said. “In a way, the Christian community was caught in the middle, but it is too complicated to speak on now, and really, already in the past.”

The Daily Wire asked whether the topic of the Abraham Accords — which have been a focus of this pontificate — was discussed at the Synod, and if he sees such a critical topic being addressed in the meeting next year, Pizzaballa replied a strong affirmative. “The relations between Jewish, Christians, and Muslims in this case are even more necessary now than before.” He stated.

“This crisis is showing us that religion has a very strong determining influence in all of what we are witnessing and what is happening. It is very important that inter-religious dialogue find new paths — it’s not easy, of course — there are a lot of different approaches, and amongst Jews and Muslims, they don’t have one authority that oversees each religion, recognized by all. This is, however, our future challenge. Our society is becoming more fractured — multicultural, multi-religious — and we need to learn how to better live together. This cannot be done if we don’t talk with one another.”

In his address during his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis reiterated his previous call for the immediate return of all hostages taken by Hamas, and Israel’s right to defend itself. However, in a statement by Cardinal Pietro Parolin — the Secretary of State for the Holy See — the Cardinal stated the Vatican was calling for “dialogue between Israel and Hamas militants” and to discuss a “two-state solution”.

When asked how one could “dialogue” with terrorists who rape civilians and slaughter children, Pizzaballa stated, “You should ask Cardinal Parolin, as I did not write this.”

“The thing we have to do is do our utmost to end the war, and on both sides. Maybe, somehow, countries outside Israel can put pressure on Hamas. Not us (the Catholic Church), as we don’t really have any sway on them, but to pressure Hamas (to surrender) and engage with the State of Israel to de-escalate the situation. We definitely must see a de-escalation of the situation for any hope of dialogue. That would include the return of all hostages.”

Pizzaballa said it will be up to the millions of Arabs and Jews in Israel to decide whether a two-state solution is possible in the future.

“There are 5 million Arab Palestinians and 9 million Israelis in this small area of the world, and whether they like it or not, they have to find a way to live close to one another,” Pizzaballa said. “Whether or not a two-state solution is the answer, it is up to them, not us, to decide. It seems to me, right now, that a two-state solution is not a practical solution to arrive at, but you cannot tell Palestinians that their future will be suspended indefinitely.”

Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa has joined with the leadership of the Christian Community in Jerusalem, calling on all Christians “and people of goodwill” to join in a day of fasting and prayer for a quick resolution of the Israel war on Hamas, on Tuesday, October 17.

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