Pope condemns 'spiral of violence' in Holy Land

 Pope Benedict has once again condemned the "endless spiral of destruction" in the Holy Land, and called on Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate to build a peaceful future. Addressing thousands of pilgrims at St Peter's Square yesterday, the Holy Father said: "in recent days violence and horror has again bloodied the Holy Land, feeding an endless spiral of destruction and death." During Israel's recent offensive in Gaza, more than 125 Palestinians, many of them women and children, were killed by Israeli forces. On Thursday, a Palestinian gunman killed eight students at a Jewish religious school in Jerusalem. . The Pope said: "I encourage Israel and Palestinian authorities in their intention to continue, through negotiation, to build a peaceful and just future for their people. "I call on all in the name of God to leave the torturous ways of hate and vengeance, and to take, in a responsible way, the paths of dialogue and confidence." The Holy Father also repeated his concern for the Chaldean Catholic archbishop, Paulos Faraj Rahho, who remains missing after being kidnapped in Iraq last week. He said his thought were with " the large number of Iraqis who continue to suffer blind and absurd violence which is certainly contrary to God's will".

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