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Bishops make fresh calls for peace in Holy Land

It comes after the 16 bishops, known as the Co-ordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church of the Holy Land, made their annual visit to the area.

In the most recent war between Israel and Gaza as part of an ongoing dispute over land, the UN says more than 2000 people in Gaza were killed by rockets. 72 people were killed in Israel by rockets.

The Co-ordination said in a statement: "We came to pray with and support the Christian community and to promote peace and human dignity in this divided land.

"We witnessed the tragic consequences of the failure of both local and international politicians to advance peace.

"Human dignity is given by God and is absolute. The ongoing conflict assaults the dignity of both Palestinians and Israelis, but in a particular way our commitment to the poor calls us to lift up the suffering people in Gaza.

"In the wake of the terrible destruction caused by last year's war, our presence reminded the small Christian community that they are not forgotten.

"Many tens of thousands of families in Gaza lack adequate shelter. In the latest freezing weather, at least two infants died of exposure."

The visit comes just months after Pope Francis visited the region.

He also held a prayer meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres.

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