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Pope Calls for Gaza Ceasefire as Palestinians Cancel Christmas Celebrations in Bethlehem

HeadlineDec 26, 2023

At the Vatican, Pope Francis condemned what he called the “futile logic of war” during his annual Christmas Day message. Speaking from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica, the pope repeated his call on Hamas to release the 130 hostages held in Gaza and demanded Israel halt its unrelenting attacks.

Pope Francis: “I plead for an end to the military operations with their appalling harvest of innocent civilian victims, and call for a solution to the desperate humanitarian situation by an opening to the provision of humanitarian aid. May there be an end to the fueling of violence and hatred.”

Pope Francis’s remarks came as Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem — the birthplace of Jesus — canceled Christmas celebrations to mourn the more than 20,000 people killed in the Gaza Strip since October. After headlines, we’ll speak with Rev. Munther Isaac, who delivered his Christmas sermon Saturday at the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem.

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