Caritas in support of Caritas Jerusalem on the recent escalation of violence in Gaza
For many years, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has promoted human dignity, peace and development in the Holy Land. This has been demonstrated via our partnerships with Bethlehem University and Caritas Jerusalem.
The recent violence near the Gaza-Israel border pains us. However, we find encouragement in the words of Pope Francis, “[we need to redouble our efforts] so that dialogue, justice and peace prevail”.
We welcome a recent statement by Caritas Jerusalem President, Archbishop Pizzaballa, in which he said:
“We at Caritas Jerusalem are horrified and deeply saddened by last month's violence along the Israel/Gaza border, which resulted in the deaths of at least 65 Palestinians, and injuries to close to 3,000 others among the thousands of Palestinians protesting as part of a March of Return."
Caritas Jerusalem supports the right to non-violent protest, as a fundamental right of civilians. The situation in Gaza is unsustainable. Electricity is on for four hours a day, water in many areas of Gaza is undrinkable and medical supply is running out. Most of the 2 million people there have never been allowed to leave this tiny area, and young Gazans live in despair, without the possibility for plans for the future.
The International Community must play an active role in ameliorating the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The closure of the borders with Israel and Egypt severely limits the import of needed goods as well as the exports necessary to allow for economic growth.
In the long term, only a peace agreement will end the on-again, off-again violence on the Gaza border, which endangers residents of Gaza, along with Israelis living near the border.
Further to the recent escalation of violence in Gaza, the UN Human Rights Council has convened a Special Session on Friday 18 May, in Geneva. NGOs, including Caritas, have the opportunity to deliver a short oral statement in conjunction with the Human Rights Council's Special session.
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Director, Julianne Hickey, echoes the need for peace, “We pray for peace, justice, a lasting resolution of the conflict in the region and a just solution for Palestinians in general and Gazans in particular.”