Abril 2021
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI deplored an assault by Israeli commandos on a flotilla of ships taking aid to the Gaza Strip, calling the series of events "tragic" and "very painful," as well as a cause concern for all those who long for peace in the region.

He also called on world leaders and local politicians to do all they could to improve the living conditions in Gaza, which Israel has blockaded since 2007, when the Islamic militant group Hamas took control of the territory.

"Once again I repeat with a heavy heart that violence does not resolve controversies, but rather it augments the dramatic consequences and spawns more violence," he said at the end of his general audience talk in St. Peter's Square June 2.

The pope made an appeal to all political leaders on local and international levels to "unceasingly seek just solutions through dialogue so as to guarantee the people in the area better living conditions, in harmony and serenity."

In Geneva, the Vatican's representative to U.N. organizations there, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, said "a full, impartial and transparent investigation into the latest incident, based upon international law and international humanitarian law, is necessary."

Speaking at an emergency U.N. debate June 1 in Geneva concerning the Israeli raid, Archbishop Tomasi said it was "clear that the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza" were not being met. "All parties involved and the international community have a responsibility to cooperate so that the fundamental human rights of those persons are implemented," he said.

At least nine people were killed when Israeli special forces boarded the ships in international waters in the early morning hours May 31 in an attempt to stop the vessels from reaching the Palestinian territory of Gaza. Dozens were wounded in the ensuing fight between Israeli commandos and activists.

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