Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peachas sharply criticised Israel's attacks on civilians in Gaza, and likened the Gaza Strip to a 'big concentration camp'. He went on to accuse both sides of only thinking of their own interests while innocent people paid the price.
Speaking to Italian online news Il Sussidiario on Wednesday, the Cardinal said: "Defenceless populations are always the ones who pay. Look at the conditions in Gaza: more and more, it resembles a big concentration camp."
Cardinal Martino urged both sides to hold peace talks. "If they can't come to an agreement, then someone else should do it [for them]," he said.
"The world cannot sit back and watch without doing anything."
He added: "We Christians are not the only ones to call this land 'holy', Jews and Muslims do so too. The fact that this land is the scene of bloodshed seems a great tragedy."
The Palestinian death toll in Gaza has now exceeded 750, according to the UN. Yesterday, the UN halted their humanitarian work in the territory after two of their staff were killed, one of whom was trying to reach another colleague who had been injured. During the day they discovered a number of starving children lying next to the bodies of their dead mothers. Aid workers accused the Israel army of not allowing them to reach injured people for three days.
Get the latest from aid workers inside Gaza on OneWorld's Gaza Crisis Alert page at: http://us.oneworld.net/alerts/gaza