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By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba says it’s impossible to think of Christmas without Gaza’s haunting cries

Makgoba delivered his Midnight Mass sermon on Sunday.

Archbishop of Cape Town, Rev. Dr. Thabo Makgoba, said it’s hard to unleash the joy of Christmas amid the ongoing Hamas-Israeli war.

Makgoba delivered his Midnight Mass sermon at the St. George’s Cathedral, Cape Town, on Sunday.

Speaking ahead of Christmas Day, Makgoba said he was deeply touched by the high number of child casualties in Gaza.

“Tonight it is not even possible to think of Christmas, Bethlehem or the baby lying in a manger [Jesus Christ] without hearing the haunting cries, the desperate wailing babies, not in mangers but under the rubble,” he said.

ALSO READ: UN warns of Gaza famine risk as Security Council resolution faces vote

‘Too many children’

In November, over 5,500 children were reported to have been killed in the war, Reuters reported.

“Too many children are no more in the place where Jesus was born, in the land in which he lived and ministered, and the territories through which he journeyed,” Makgoba said.

“The parallels between the time of Jesus’ birth and the cruel reality in the Holy Land are obvious,” he added.

The Hamas-Israeli war has been ongoing for nearly three months claiming thousands of lives and turning the respective territories upside down.

“Three months ago, would we have believed it if anyone had told us that nearly 25,000 people – more than 20,000 Palestinians but also Israelis – would be dead by Christmas?” – Makgoba.

ALSO READ: UN Security Council demands ‘urgent’ aid for Gaza

‘Talk to your enemies’

Makgoba urged government leaders to engage their adversaries to find a resolution.

“If you want peace , you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies,” he said quoting the famous words of late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Reflecting on history, Makgoba said Tutu repeatedly engaged the late P.W Botha during apartheid, when the government “was behaving as enemy to our people.”

“Prime Minister Netanyahu and Hamas leaders must go to the table,” he said.

ALSO READ: Gaza war makes for sombre Christmas in the Holy Land

‘This war must stop’

Makgoba expressed concern over the decision of most Western countries to label Hamas as a terrorist organisation, adding the implications were “worrying.”

“For what will they and Israel do if Palestinians, when finally able to vote in a free and fair election, choose Hamas to represent them?”

The Archbishop further called for the United States and Iran to stop arming Israel and Hamas, respectively.

“Arms can never win peace, no matter who the enemy is – they only enrich the arms manufacturers and their shareholders, whose shares on the stock exchanges of the world will go up and up.”

“This war must stop,” Makgoba said.

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