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July 18, 2014 10:37 am
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Peres to Pope Francis: ‘Our Operation is Aimed at Stopping Two Killing Methods’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Israeli President Shimon Peres meets with Pope Francis, previously known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church, at the Vatican, in Rome, Italy, on April 30, 2013. Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO.

Israeli President Shimon Peres meets with Pope Francis, previously known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church, at the Vatican, in Rome, Italy, on April 30, 2013. Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO.

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Friday told Pope Francis that Israel’s Operation Protective Edge “aimed to bring an end to two killing methods – the rockets from the sky and the tunnels from under the earth.”

Peres told the Pope: “We have discovered two tunnels which were supposed to enable them enter into the heart of civilian life and kill indiscriminately.”

“Fortunately we discovered it on time and prevented the murder,” he said. “Right now the main thing we are doing is to put an end to these tunnels and we are trying to see how to limit the confrontation, particularly with regard to the rockets which they fire at our civilians.”

“Right now there is fire, we are trying to do as much as we can to lower the flames because we do not consider the people of Gaza as enemies,” Peres said. “I know that the people of Gaza themselves didn’t decide on this situation that they find themselves in. There is a small group of fanatics who are the cause of suffering in Gaza.”

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Peres said, “I hope it will not be a long lasting operation and I can assure you that our people are careful and will continue to be very careful not to cause damage and death to innocent peoples. We shall continue to search for a road to peace in spite of the fire and in spite of the failure to have a ceasefire because finally the solution must be political and not just military.”

Pope Francis told Peres: “This is a painful moment; I am convinced that God brings us together in prayer for peace, and please allow me to say it’s a prophetic gesture which in some ways will mark the future path. It’s true that actions on behalf of fanatics don’t leave us anywhere; it’s true that many innocents suffer and pay with their lives. But we have to move forward and insist on this path of prayer for peace. I believe in prayer, in the power of prayer and I believe in the hearts of men who are working for peace. I ask God for a quick solution and a political solution. I’m close to you with my prayers and thoughts.”

Peres thanked Pope Francis for his efforts for peace and said, “The three meetings that I have had the pleasure to participate in have left a lasting impression. I know that there is still a long way and I know there are difficult situations but like on many occasions, crises may give birth to peace and a better time. Your visit in Israel and our prayer in the Vatican had an unexpected impact on many people and I believe it planted a small tree of hope in the hearts of many, which we have to continue and develop.”

The Pope thanked Peres and said, “I thank you for everything that you do Mr. President and I ask G-d to bless you very much.  That He accompany you on the path of peace and please feel my presence close to you as a brother and as a friend.”

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