05:03 GMT +323 April 2018
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    Pope Francis delivers his Easter message in the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) address from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican

    Pope Francis Calls Out IDF Killing of ‘Defenseless’ Palestinians

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    In his Easter address on Sunday, Pope Francis appealed for an end to the ongoing violence in the Holy Land at the hands of Israeli snipers after 15 Palestinians were killed on the Israeli-Gaza border during the “Great Return March."

    The pope urged for peace in the Holy Land in his "Urbi et Orbi" message from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, stating that the conflict over Palestinian refugees' right to return to the homeland "does not spare the defenseless."

    Tens of thousands of people listened to the pope's speech in the square below the Basilica.

    Francis appealed for "reconciliation for the Holy Land, also experiencing in these days the wounds of on ongoing conflict that do not spare the defenseless."

    Although UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and other international leaders have requested an investigation into the ongoing violence at the Gaza-Israel border, Israel's defense minister has rejected petitions to do so.

    In addition, the pope urged for peace for "the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria, whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war." 

    "This Easter, may the light of the risen Christ illumine the consciences of all political and military leaders, so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage in course," he stated.

    He also prayed that the message of the faith "bears fruits of hope and dignity where there are deprivation and exclusion, hunger and unemployment, where there are migrants and refugees — so often rejected by today's culture of waste — and victims of the drug trade, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery."

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