The highest official of the Roman Catholic Church in the Holy Land has declared that he will swap places with Hamas in exchange for its hostages in order to free children.
The offer made by Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa was in response to a hypothetical query from a journalist rather than a formal proposition. Hamas, which is thought to be detaining at least 199 people in Gaza as a result of their incursion into Israel on October 7, was unlikely to take it seriously.
Pizzaballa responded when asked if he would be willing to offer himself in exchange for the hostages during a Zoom conference with media headquartered in the Vatican on Monday: “If I’m available for an exchange, anything is OK if it results in youngsters having more freedom. My wholehearted consent.
Israel has chastised Pizzaballa for its immediate replies to the attack by the Hamas on Christian leaders in Jerusalem.
In their statement, the patriarchs reiterated their general condemnation of any attacks on civilians while omitting any specific reference to the Hamas attack.