Holy Land crisis
Our Peace in the Middle East Fund supports Caritas' humanitarian response in Gaza and the West Bank where ongoing conflict causes deaths, casualties and destruction of housing and infrastructure. It may also support humanitarian response to other places and emergencies in the Holy Land.
In May 2021, escalation of tensions in the Holy Land developed into intense bombardment of the Gaza Strip, where two million Gaza residents are blockaded with nowhere to flee. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand approved two initial solidarity grants of $NZD10,000 to each our partners Caritas Jerusalem and Bethlehem University on the ground. Ongoing collection of donations through our Peace in the Middle East Fund will support emergency medical care and humanitarian supplies in Gaza.
Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands injured. Gaza's only COVID 19 testing facility damaged or destroyed.
Earlier in May 2021, Palestinians in the Sheikh Jerrah suburb of East Jerusalem were ordered to vacate their family homes to make way for Israeli settlers. This, alongside the entry of Israeli forces into the Al-Asqa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, contributed to the tension. Hamas, which controls Gaza, set a deadline for the Israeli government to remove forces from the mosque compound and stop expulsions from Sheikh Jerrah. Israel refused and Hamas began firing rockets into Israel. In response, Israel launched an air raid offensive onto Gaza.
Caritas Jerusalem works in both the West Bank and Gaza, and had responded with humanitarian aid and recovery for thousands of vulnerable people affected by a 2014 war over Gaza. More than 2,000 Palestinians were killed then - including over 400 children. Many homes were destroyed leaving housing in Gaza at a premium.
Caritas has been continuing to support health education in the West Bank covering a wide range of services, including psychology, dentistry, general physician and nursing. We also support Bethlehem University, through a programme aiming to increase the employment options for women and youth in local and self-employment opportunities through running entrepreneur workshops and teaching practical skills like baking.
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand continues to support our partners and work with others for lasting peace in the Holy Land, where all faiths and all peoples can co-exist together with human dignity.
You can support our work in the Holy Land by donating to our Peace in the Middle East Campaign.