Sabbah: yeshiva, Bethlehem deaths part of cycle

The Roman Catholic prelate in the Holy Land listed the killing of yeshiva students and that of four suspected terrorists as part of the same “chain of inhumane violence.”

“We have witnessed in the past few weeks the tragedy of over one million people in Gaza Strip and over one hundred martyrs who fell there,” Michel Sabbah, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, said on Mar. 21 in what will be his final Easter message before he retires this year at 75.

“We also witnessed the victims of the Jewish religious school in Jerusalem; and we still witness every day Israeli incursions in the Palestinian cities and the killing of many Palestinians despite agreements with the Palestinian Authority. We can still hear the voices of anger following the killing of the four young men in their homes in Bethlehem a few days ago.”

Israel has raided the Gaza Strip several times since January in a bid to end rocket fire on Israel’s south enabled by Gaza’s Hamas rulers; over 100 Palestinians have died. Most, Israel says, are combatants, while Gaza officials have said that most are civilians.

Early this month, a gunman killed eight students – all but one a teenager – in an attack on the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem. Later in the month, Israeli troops killed four Palestinians in Bethlehem suspected to have planned the attack.

“All of these incidents form a chain of inhumane and futile violence, regardless of the party behind it,” Sabbah said. “Facts on the ground prove that violence has failed to achieve the desired security. It remains an inhumane violence and an aggression against the human dignity of the one who is killed and the one who kills.”

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