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Roman Catholic bishop condemns killing of children in Gaza

Published:Tuesday | November 28, 2023 | 12:10 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Bishop John Persaud
Bishop John Persaud


BISHOP JOHN Persaud, head of the Roman Catholic church in Mandeville, has labelled as “disturbing” the manner in which children and others are being killed in the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

As of November 23, more than 14,300 Palestinians, including over 6,000 children, have been killed, making this the deadliest war for children this century.

Those deaths have come as a result of a Hamas-led attack on Israel more than a month ago, and reprisals by Israel’s military.

“What Hamas did when they entered Israel and killed innocent people was wrong. But also, what is happening as innocent children and other people are being killed — it’s murder,” Bishop Persaud said Friday in a Gleaner interview.

Persaud, who is Guyanese by birth and who has been appointed as apostolic administrator for the Montego Bay diocese, said the war between Hamas and Israel is disturbing and very hard to watch as it is broadcast around the world, in light of the number of innocent children being murdered.

“I certainly will join my voice, as poor as it is, with all those who can stand up for humanity and find a way for us to truly live in this world as our common home with some sense of gratitude to a God who has given us much and to allow ourselves to see each other as God sees us,” the Roman Catholic bishop said.

“It’s disturbing, but more than just disturbing; it’s disturbing the core of your being, and I think we have to be able to call it out,” Persaud told The Gleaner, his voice quivering a bit.

“We have to be able to say no; that’s not our humanity, it’s not our way,” he added.

The Hamas-Israel conflict stemmed from an attack by Hamas-led Palestinian militants, who launched a multi-pronged invasion of southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. That surprise attack saw a barrage of rockets pounded down on Israel, including an estimated 3,000 militants breaching the Gaza-Israel barrier and attacking Israeli military bases, their civilian population, and a music festival near Re’im.

The Israeli military responded by conducting an extensive aerial bombardment in which 6,000 bombs were dropped on Gaza targets over six days, along with imposing a blockade of the Gaza Strip, followed by a large-scale ground invasion of Gaza.

The Israelis have also declared a state of war, marking the start of the most significant military escalation in the region since the Yom Kippur War five decades ago in 1973.