The violence in the West Bank and Gaza including East Jerusalem is deeply disturbing and must be brought to a halt before it spirals out of control and more lives are lost. Continued escalation only harms the most vulnerable people. There is an urgent need for responsible leadership ready to work for justice and peace for Palestinians and Israelis creating an alternative to this cycle of violence that divides and kills.
The latest violence was triggered by weeks of tension and clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians regarding a renewed spate of threatened evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem to make way for Israeli settlers claiming ownership as well as protesting restricted access to the Haram al-Sharif (or Temple Mount) during the holy month of Ramadan. Hamas reportedly retaliated by sending rockets from Gaza into Israel with reports saying that 5 Israelis killed and Israeli airstrikes in response have killed 35 Palestinians including 10 children.
Palestinians had been protesting the imminent eviction of eight Palestinian families (around 87 people including 28 children) from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah which Israeli police responded to with extreme violence. The right to a home is a fundamental human right and it is a question of justice for inhabitants of the city to live, pray and work there with dignity.
CAFOD opposes the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes which is a violation of international law. We call for an immediate cessation of all violence.
Pope Francis has joined calls for an end to the cycle of violence, saying:
“I pray that the city might be a place of encounter and not of violent clashes, a place of prayer and peace… I invite everyone to seek shared solutions, so that the multi-religious and multi-cultural identity of the Holy City might be respected, and that fraternity might prevail.”
A statement by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said:
“The historic position of the Churches in Jerusalem is clear with regard to our denouncement of any attempt which makes Jerusalem an exclusive city for anyone. This is a city sacred to the three monotheistic religions and, based on international law and relevant UN resolutions, also a city where the Palestinian people, Christians, and Muslims, have the same right to build a future based on freedom, equality and peace.”
CAFOD believes that the only way out of the cycle of violence and for Israelis and Palestinians to be truly secure, is to revive hope for a just Israeli-Palestinian peace process, aimed at creating the conditions for a stable peace based on justice, where all must be treated equally.
More information can be found on the CAFOD website