Pope Francis’s representative in the Holy Land said he is willing to exchange himself for Israeli children taken hostage by Hamas and held in Gaza.
Cardinal Wants Peace, Even If It Means Giving Himself Up
Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, commented in response to a question during a video conference with journalists in Italy.
Speaking to journalists via video conference on Oct.16, Cardinal Pizzaballa was asked if he would be willing to offer himself in exchange for freeing the children hostages who were taken in Hamas’ attack on Israel last week.
The cardinal responded that he is willing to do anything to “bring those children home.”
“I am ready for an exchange, anything, if this can lead to freedom, to bring the children home. No problem. There is total willingness on my part,” he said.
“The first thing to do is to try to win the release of the hostages, otherwise there will be no way of stopping [an escalation]. We are willing to help, even me personally,” he said.
Israel Defense Forces announced Monday that about 200 Israeli hostages, including children, are being held by Hamas.
The military is trying to understand where they are being held in Gaza – Hamas terrorists threatened last week to kill one hostage whenever Israel’s military bombs civilian targets in Gaza.
The terrorist organization claimed Friday that nine Israeli hostages were killed in Israeli rocket attacks.
The Vatican said Friday that its main concern is getting the hostages back safe and offered to act as a mediator between Hamas and the Israeli government, according to Reuters. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, called for a two-state solution to the war and warned that Israel’s response to Hamas must be proportional.
Pizzaballa oversees Roman Catholic activities in Israel and the Palestinian territories and Jordan and Cyprus, a region home to an estimated 300,000 Roman Catholics.
Pizzaballa said that about 1,000 Christians were sheltering in Church buildings in northern Gaza after their homes were destroyed in Israeli strikes.
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