RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Hilarion Capucci, the retired archbishop of Ceasarea for the Melkite Church, said Thursday that "Israel must be held accountable for the massacres they are committing against Palestinians."
Archbishop Capucci demanded from his current place of residence in Italy that all international institutions and criminal courts must hold Israel responsible for their "ugly crimes" against Palestinians.
He also called upon Palestinians to resist the attacks with all possible means, "because there is no substitute for resistance and it is the only way to liberate Palestine."
The Archbishop condemned the "Israeli crimes" against Palestinian children, women, elderly, and men in Gaza and all Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps.
"I wish I was there with you (Palestinians) sharing everything you are doing to defend our people," Archbishop Capucci said.
"During hard times the father should be with his children, defending them, and when the wolf comes the shepherd should be defending his flock, this is why my pain increases every day of these cruel, bitter days," he said, adding: "My soul and heart are with you and my prayers are for you."
The Syrian-born Archbishop Capucci has been a long-time advocate of the Palestinian cause and was arrested by Israeli police in August 1974 for allegedly smuggling weapons into the West Bank.
He was sentenced to 12 years in prison by an Israeli court for smuggling arms to the Palestinian Liberation Army, but was released in 1978 through Vatican intervention after spending four years in Israeli prisons.