LEICESTER, United Kingdom – Bishops in Ireland have called for a complete ceasefire in Gaza: “Enough, please! Let us all say it: enough…Stop!”

Hamas – the Islamist organization that rules Gaza – attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing over 1000 people and kidnapping over 250 others. Israel then declared war on Hamas, and an estimated 30,000 Palestinians have since been killed.

Israel has also successfully rescued three hostages since the start of the war, and more than 100 hostages were released in a cease-fire deal in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

However, the fighting continues.

Speaking during the Spring General Meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Church leaders said: “Stop the War!”

“In saying this, we join with many in our parishes, together with all people of goodwill, in demanding an immediate end to the daily horror of killing, wounding and destruction of property and infrastructure there,” the bishops said.

“We call on the Israeli government to comply with basic human and international standards in ensuring that Palestinians have full and unimpeded access to food, water and basic safety requirements,” they continued.

“At the same time, we call on Hamas to release all hostages and to end missile attacks on Israel.  Equally, the attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, which do not command as much attention in the public sphere, are also to be condemned.  What is happening in this region cannot be morally justified,” the bishops added.

They emphasized the current aggression in the Holy Land is not a war between Jews and Arabs, saying people of all faiths, including many of the Jewish tradition, oppose what is happening and the effect it is having not only on Israel and Palestine but throughout the wider Middle East and further afield.

“There is no future in the perpetuation of conflict and human suffering. This is especially so when one considers the intensity of what is happening in the Holy Land. The only future is one of dialogue and the putting in place of a sustainable plan for a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis and that brings to an end the occupation that has for far too long denied Palestinians their rights and freedoms,” the bishops said.

They said international efforts to secure a ceasefire are welcome, but as the death toll continues to rise, “all possible pressure should be applied to prevail upon Israel to desist from military operations that impact so horrendously on innocent civilians.”

“Equally, any international support for Hamas terrorism is utterly unacceptable.  The international community has failed to vindicate the right of the Palestinian people to a safe homeland, with statehood and freedom of movement, as part of a two-state solution which recognizes both Israel and Palestine,” the bishops added.

Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, told Vatican News the elements for a possible ceasefire have always been there; “all that is missing is the will to make it happen.”

“It requires both sides to have the willingness to reach compromises, because it’s clear that compromises will have to be made on both sides,” he said.

“In the short term, I don’t think this situation will bring anything positive,” the cardinal said.

“But one thing I know for sure is that, after this crisis, which is the most serious in the last 70–80 years, no one will be willing to accept temporary solutions anymore, neither Israelis nor Palestinians,” Pizzaballa continued.

“So, this very serious crisis will clearly force – with dynamics that will need to be defined, which will certainly not be immediate – everyone to find long-term stable solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has already claimed too many lives over the years,” he said.

Follow Charles Collins on X: @CharlesinRome