Pope calls slain Gaza children ‘little Jesuses of today’, urges truce amid ‘desperate situation’

News Network
December 26, 2023

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Pope Francis has deplored the “desperate humanitarian situation” in the Gaza Strip and repeated his call for an immediate ceasefire and provision of aid to the besieged territory.

“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,” he said in his Christmas message on Monday.

The pope called for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be resolved through “sincere and persevering dialogue between the parties, sustained by strong political will and the support of the international community.”

He said children dying in wars, including in Gaza, are the "little Jesuses of today" and that Israeli strikes there were reaping an "appalling harvest" of innocent civilians.

Addressing the world on Christmas Eve, the pontiff emphasized the need for peace in the Holy Land.

“Tonight, our hearts are in Bethlehem, where the Prince of Peace is once more rejected by the futile logic of war, by the clash of arms that even today prevents him from finding room in the world,” the pope said.

He once again took swipe at the armaments industry, saying it ultimately controlled the "puppet-strings of war."

Last week, Pope Francis slammed the Tel Aviv regime for committing terrorism against Palestinians in Gaza, after an Israeli sniper killed two women at a Catholic church in Gaza where they had taken refuge. 

More than 20,600 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have been slaughtered by the Israeli occupation forces after the regime unleashed a war against the Strip on October 7.

The war, nearing its fourth month, has resulted in a “catastrophic” humanitarian situation in Gaza, according to the United Nations.

According to estimates by the aid agencies, up to 85 percent of the 2.3 million people in Gaza - one of the most densely populated areas of the world - have already been displaced from their homes and are now crammed in an ever smaller area near the border.

Humanitarian agencies have warned that Gaza is facing the threat of starvation and disease after aid deliveries were slowed or halted by a lack of fuel and communication blackouts.

In solidarity with the victims of the occupying entity’s unbridled aggression, this year, Christian communities in the city of Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank as well as in the Gaza Strip have decided to cancel the annual Christmas festivities.

“If Christ was born today, he would be born under the rubble and Israeli shelling,” said Pastor Munther Isaacs of the Lutheran Church in Bethlehem.

“This year we are not celebrating Christmas, it is impossible to celebrate with genocide happening in our country,” Pastor Isaacs added. 

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News Network
February 19,2024

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The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has denounced Israel’s plan to restrict Palestinians’ entry to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, warning that the measure will explode the whole situation.

“An outburst of anger is waiting to go off in the face of the occupying regime in response to any restrictions on worship at the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan,” Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, said on Sunday.

Earlier, Hamas had roundly condemned Israel’s plan to restrict Palestinians’ access to the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, stating that the decision is a reflection of the Zionist crimes and the religious war waged by hardliner elements in the Israeli administration against the Palestinian people.

In a statement, the Gaza-based group said the restrictions would be a “violation of the freedom of worship” in the holy site, adding that the plan showed Israel’s intention to increase its attacks on the mosque during the Muslim fasting month.

The statement called on Palestinians in occupied East al-Quds, the occupied West Bank and the 1948-occupied territories to reject and resist this “criminal decision”, urging them to “take action and flock to al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday gave his green light to the recommendations of so-called national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and approved the restriction of Palestinians’ entry to the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.

A limited number of Palestinians will reportedly be allowed to enter the mosque during the month.

Several Hebrew-language media outlets, including Keshet 12 television channel, reported in the last two days that Israel’s so-called internal security service, Shin Bet, had warned the Tel Aviv regime that prohibiting Palestinians from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan “could lead to major disturbances.”

The agency warned that this decision could cause more “dangerous” disruption than the eruption of tensions in al-Quds, the West Bank, and the 1948-occupied territories.

Since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces have restricted Palestinian Muslims’ access to the al-Aqsa Mosque, particularly on Fridays.

Last Friday, despite Israeli restrictions, approximately 25,000 Palestinian worshippers were able to enter the mosque in the Old City of al-Quds to perform Friday prayers for the first time since the war.

Ramadan is expected to begin this year on or around March 10.

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News Network
February 19,2024

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The Supreme Court on Monday, February 19, stayed proceedings against Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and others in connection with a protest march held in the state in 2022 in connection with a suicide case in Udupi. 

A bench of Justices Hrishikesh Roy and P K Mishra issued notice to the Karnataka government and the complainant in the case.

The top court also stayed the high court order, which had imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on him as well as Congress general secretary and Karnataka in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, state ministers M B Patil and Ramalinga Reddy, and directed him to appear before a special court on March 6.

The case was registered against the Congress leaders after they took out a march to lay siege to the then chief minister Basavaraj Bommai's residence in Bengaluru, demanding the resignation of K S Eshwarappa, who was then the rural development and panchayat raj minister in the southern state.

The agitation was staged after a contractor, Santosh Patil, died by suicide accusing Eshwarappa of demanding 40 per cent commission for a public work in his village. According to police, the case pertained to blocking roads and causing trouble to commuters.

The 37-year-old contractor died by suicide in a lodge in Udupi in 2022. At the time of his death, the contractor left behind a WhatsApp message alleging that Eshwarappa demanded a commission for the release of funds for civil works undertaken by the contractor at Belagavi. 

Last year, Karnataka HC granted an interim stay on the proceedings in the case against CM Siddaramaiah for holding the protest march in 2022.

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News Network
February 26,2024

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An active member of the United States military has set himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, according to officials, in an apparent act of protest against Israel’s devastating war on Gaza.

The man, whose name was not immediately released, was rushed to the hospital on Sunday with “critical life-threatening injuries”, according to the US capital’s fire department.

The agency said emergency responders rushed to the scene just before 1pm (18:00 GMT) in response to a “call for person on fire outside the Israeli embassy”.

They arrived to find that officers from the US Secret Service had already extinguished the fire.

The US Air Force said that the incident involved an active duty airman.

US media reported that the man livestreamed himself on Twitch, wearing fatigues and declaring he would “not be complicit in genocide” before dousing himself in liquid.

He then lit himself on fire while yelling “Free Palestine!” until he fell to the ground.

The footage has since been removed from Twitch. Local police said they are investigating the incident.

The police also said an explosive ordinance disposal was requested to the scene in relation to a suspicious vehicle that may be connected to the individual. It later said that no hazardous material was found.

The Israeli embassy said that none of its staff members were injured, and all personnel have been confirmed to be safe, a spokesperson told the New York Times.

Israel’s embassy has been the target of continued protest against the Israeli war on Gaza. The protests started after October 7 when Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules Gaza, responded to Israeli barbarism though violent attack. 

Since then, Israeli forces have waged a brutal military campaign against the coastal enclave, laying much of it to waste, with nearly 30,000 people dead, according to Palestinian health officials.

In December, a protester set herself on fire outside the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta. A Palestinian flag was found at the scene, and the act was believed to be one of “extreme political protest”.

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