Ireland‘s most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal Sean Brady, tonight called for Israel to lift its military blockade of Gaza.
The Primate of All-Ireland urged countries around the world to ensure international law is upheld by all parties in the region.
The Cardinal offered prayers for the families and friends of the nine Turkish people killed by Israeli commandos on an aid boat Monday.
“I deeply regret the loss of life and injury resulting from Israel’s military take-over in international waters of the flotilla of humanitarian aid to Gaza this week,” Cardinal Brady said.
“Such loss of life is tragic and the violence associated with these events is reprehensible. I pray for the families and loved ones of those who were killed and for all those hurt or injured.
“It is clear that it is now time to lift the blockade on Gaza. The international community has to act to ensure that all parties in the region operate within international laws and conventions.”
The Cardinal, who visited Gaza in 2008, said he had been deeply moved by the “dire and unnecessary situation of human deprivation and need” in the Hamas stronghold.
He also prayed for peace in the region this weekend as an Irish-owned boat, the MV Rachel Corrie with a crew including Nobel peace prize laureate Mairead Maguire, edged the final miles towards the exclusion zone. They should arrive in the area early tomorrow.
“Real change is required in the Middle East to allow a just and lasting peace for all,” the Cardinal said.
“The international community has a responsibility to secure that brighter future.
“I ask for prayers this coming weekend for the people of Gaza and Israel to conclude this World Week for Peace in the Holy Land.”