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1 Nov, 2023 22:46

Pope Francis calls for two-state solution

The Roman Catholic pontiff has commented on the Israel-Palestine conflict
Pope Francis calls for two-state solution

There are no winners in war, Pope Francis said on Wednesday in an interview with the Italian broadcaster RAI, urging Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace as neighbors.

“In war, one slap provokes another. One strong and the other even stronger, and so it goes on,” the Pope said, addressing the October 7 Hamas attack and Israel’s retaliation against Gaza in a lengthy feature that aired right after the evening news.

The solution to the cycle of violence, the 86-year-old Jesuit argued, is to recognize an independent Palestinian state.

“Two peoples who must live together. With that wise solution: two peoples, two states. The Oslo Accords: two clearly delineated states, and Jerusalem with a special status,” the Pope told RAI.

The Oslo Accords were a 1990s US initiative that envisioned the establishment of a Palestinian state. However the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel could not agree on territorial demarcation, the fate of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees, and the status of Jerusalem.

The agreement effectively collapsed in 2000 during the Palestinian uprising known as the Second Intifada.

Israel has rejected all calls for ceasefire and declared a “total blockade” of Gaza, vowing to eradicate Hamas once and for all. Some Israeli politicians have even advocated the expulsion of all residents of the territory to Egypt and razing the enclave to the ground.

“Every war is a defeat. Nothing is solved with war. Nothing. Everything is gained with peace, with dialogue,” the Pope told RAI.

“The hour is very dark. One cannot find the ability to think clearly,” the pontiff said in the interview, describing the world as enveloped in darkness since 1945, because the wars did not stop after WWII. He blamed the military-industrial complex for this.

“The most serious problem is still the arms industry,” the Pope argued. “A person who understands investments, who I met in a meeting, told me that today investments that generate the most income are weapons factories.”