Recently I had the privilege of an audience with Pope Francis, which was, for me, an invitation to reflect on our call to respect the dignity of every person, to help build a just and peaceful society and to care for the most vulnerable and marginalized. In the same week, I continued to read of the conflict and destruction in Gaza and its expansion throughout the Middle East, as well as of the recent discussions that hold promise of a ceasefire.
Just as I condemn the heinous killings, kidnappings and assaults on Israeli civilians on October 7 and all expressions of antisemitism that have emerged since, I add my voice to those calling for an end to the violence and death in Gaza, particularly children and innocent civilians. Events of the past four months have sadly reminded us once again that violence, particularly against non-combatants, simply begets more violence. I urge an immediate, permanent ceasefire combined with the release of all hostages on both sides. There must also be accelerated and unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid to provide food, water, medicine and other assistance to civilians. Finally, all parties to the conflict must engage in dialogue in pursuit of a sustainable, peaceful settlement that recognizes the profound and enduring historical and religious ties that both Israelis and Palestinians have to the land. I believe that any lasting resolution must involve a two-state solution.
The University of Notre Dame is committed to assisting and supporting any dialogue that genuinely seeks peace. As Pope Francis has reminded us, “Every war is a defeat. Nothing is solved with war. … Everything is gained with peace, with dialogue.”
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.