Israel protests talk of Gaza ‘genocide,’ ‘ethnic cleansing’ at Vatican event


In the latest episode of tension between Israel and the Vatican over the conflict in Gaza, Israel’s Embassy to the Holy See issued a protest May 11 after a Yemeni Nobel Prize winner had accused Israel of “genocide” in remarks at a papal event the night before. Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni journalist who became the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her coverage of the Arab Spring uprisings, spoke May 10 at a “World Meeting on Human Fraternity” sponsored by the Vatican’s Fratelli Tutti foundation, named for Pope Francis’s 2020 encyclical letter by that title.

Present during the event were Italian Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica and president of the Fratelli Tutti foundation, and other Vatican officials. Roughly 30 Nobel Peace Prize winners took part in the event, who were received on Saturday both by Pope Francis and Italian President Sergio Mattarella. Karman posted messages in Arabic on X, the social medial platform formerly known as Twitter, before and after her remarks at the Vatican event Friday evening, in both instances using the word “genocide” to describe Israel’s military operations on the Gaza Strip.

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