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New violence in Holy Land reflects 'paralysis' in peace talks, says Franciscan Custos

March 29, 2011

A new flare-up of violence could reflect the breakdown in Israel-Palestinian talks, according to the head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.

Speaking on Vatican Radio, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa noted that the peace talks are “paralyzed.” He pointed to several recent violent incidents: rocket attacks on Israel civilians from the Gaza Strip, a retaliatory Israeli air attack on Gaza, and the bombing at a bus stop in Jerusalem. Of the last incident—the first bombing in Jerusalem since 2008—Father Pizzaballa said: “I hope it will remain an isolated incident. Nevertheless, it's true that there has been a sort of deterioration, first of all in political relations and then, consequently, in everything else."

Father Pizzaballa said that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders must make a concerted effort to revive peace talks. While declining to speak about specific political issues, he speculated that the continued building of new Israeli settlements on the West Bank might be “the decisive issue.”


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