Sixty years have passed since Paul VI’s historic trip to the Holy Land, which took place from January 4-6, 1964. This anniversary falls at a very difficult time, due to the war between the State of Israel and Hamas after the tragic events of October 7, 2023.
The conflict has already produced a high number of casualties (1,200 on the Israeli side and about 21,000 on the Palestinian side) and unfortunately, despite recent agreements for a brief truce and the release of some of the Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian detainees, it seems destined to continue. The stated goal of the Israeli government is to eradicate Hamas from the Gaza Strip, and, in particular, to eliminate its leaders wherever they may be, as the United States had done against the leaders of Al Qaeda after September 11, 2001.
The pope’s trip to the Holy Land, that “blessed journey,” during which the pope continually invoked concord between religions and between states, reminds us of the inestimable value of peace, which must always be cherished, especially in these times when it seems obscured and lost.