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Israeli-Hamas War: Cardinal Offers Self For Hostages

Cardinal-designate Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, greets people after celebrating Easter Mass in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem's Old City, April 9, 2023. He was one of 21 new cardinals Pope Francis appointed July 9. (OSV News photo/Ammar Awad, Reuters)

Pope Francis’ representative in the Holy Land said on Monday he was willing to exchange himself for Israeli children taken hostage by Hamas and held in Gaza, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.

Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, made his comment in response to a question during a video conference with journalists in Italy.

“I am ready for an exchange, anything if this can lead to freedom, to bring the children home. No problem. There is total willingness on my part,” he said.

“The first thing to do is to try to win the release of the hostages, otherwise there will be no way of stopping (an escalation). We are willing to help, even me personally,” he said.

About 200 people were taken hostage and about a dozen of them are believed to be children.

United States President Joe Biden in an interview aired Sunday had told 60 Minutes that it would be a “big mistake” for Israel to occupy Gaza but said that the country had to respond to the Hamas attack last weekend.

CBS News reports that when asked if it was “time for a ceasefire” given the loss of lives, Biden said, “Look, there’s a fundamental difference. Israel is going after a group of people who have engaged in barbarism that is as consequential as the Holocaust. And … I think Israel has to respond. They have to go after Hamas. Hamas is a bunch of cowards. They’re hiding behind the civilians. They put … their headquarters where civilians are and buildings and the like. But to the extent they can separate out … the Israelis are gonna do everything in their power to avoid the killing of innocent civilians.”


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