VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis said on Wednesday he was concerned and saddened by an escalation of violence in the Holy Land and Middle East as he concluded his weekly general audience at the Vatican.
The pontiff advocated moving towards negotiations in order to achieve peace in the region, calling on those involved and members of the international community to renew their determination to succeed through “dialogue, justice and peace.”
“The use of violence never leads to peace,” the pope warned. “War begets war and violence begets violence.”
Francis also expressed his “great pain” for the 60 Palestinians killed and others injured by Israeli troops on Monday during a protest at the Israeli-Gaza border area on the day the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem.
The transfer of the embassy from Tel Aviv came after a decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize the city as the capital of Israel; a decision that broke with years of international consensus on the matter.
While the pope did not refer to Trump’s decision the shift the embassy on Wednesday, he has in the past expressed concern and defended Jerusalem’s status quo.