Children in Gaza City suffer poverty, exculsion and fear. Caritas Jeruslaem believes recongition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations will pay peace dividends both sides of the border. Credit: Katie Orlinsky/Caritas 2010
By Claudette Habesch, General Secretary of Caritas Jerusalem
Greetings from the Holy City of the Resurrection, City of Hope where life conquered death.
This week will see an important event for us all in Palestine and Israel. The Palestinian Authority will request the United Nations to vote on the recognition of Palestine as a full member state.
At Caritas Jerusalem, we have seen the ravages of the occupation on the people for the past 44 years. There is the destruction of houses and crops, the discrimination for access to resources and services, the fear of random arrest and the creeping despair that eventually we might lose the our land to Israeli settlers. The feeling of injustice and humiliation is in every heart. If Palestine becomes a UN member, Palestinians will regain their dignity. They will be considered as equals in peace negotiations and when defending their cause in the UN forum. They will have access to the International Court of Justice to protect the rights of their land. They will finally believe in a peaceful future in Palestine for their children.
A positive vote will not result in an instant peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. However, this is a real opportunity to restart the negotiations. The vote is a chance for us Palestinians to demonstrate our determination to achieve a rue stable and democratic state living peacefully alongside Israel. It is also a chance for the international community to show that they truly support the two-state solution and the principle of self-determination of people enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
Please show your support to Palestine’s bid to the UN, write to your government, sign petitions and take part in peaceful demonstrations.
We do pray with all our heart for the voices of peace and justice to prevail on both Palestinian and Israeli sides. We pray for Jerusalem to witness a true miracle – from a City of Hope to become a City of Peace.
Credit: Caritas/Katie Orlinsky
Joseph Cornelius Donnelly, Caritas Internationalis head of delegation at the UN
Where does the peace process begin – in which country in what ways and with whom? Such questions are constantly being asked everywhere around the world. From today in Jerusalem but already tomorrow in Kathmandu. From fifty years ago in the Congo to last week in Libya. Seems nothing new under the sun, it just keeps coming around again.
From Tel Aviv to Jericho, Hebron to Ashkelon, Gaza to Galilee - still seeking a different future for decent people looking to live their lives without incessant fear and vulnerability. Stories and statistics endless while the peace seems evasive. Often this peace seems more illusion than possibility, crisscrossing hopes and expectations from the four corners of our world. Caritas members often journey in solidarity with the Holy Land – with Christians, Jews and Muslims, as well with Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians and others.
There is complexity, diversity, contradiction and dysfunction. There is enormous frustration and difficulty, cynicism and burnout. But there still is more – and it is accessible. It’s another kind of hard deliberate work, notably getting at right relationships so the search for truth, justice, liberation and reconciliation actually makes steps into other ways of being, seeing, healing, building. Continue reading
By Joseph Cornelius Donnelly in Jerusalem
You can know much but know nothing. You can be near but be far. Realities are intensely complicated here. Details get reiterated daily for decades plus. But facts, hard carefully considered can be elusive when anyone from any of the myriad perspectives attempts to explain situations.
However, today’s kind of dreadful facts are unmistably real and clear. Harsh, hard-hitting reality smacks you in the head and guts. Nine hours later no one, no group, had taken responsibility for the quite unexpected bomb exploding in Central Jerusalem near bus station about 3:00PM this sunny afternoon.
One woman is dead while 50 others share injuries from light to severe. This horrible attack on life kills in several ways. It’s indiscriminate and all the more invasive against innocent life. Continue reading
Samer Salloum at the Salloum border camp. Credit: Caritas Switzerland
By Fred Lauener, Caritas Switzerland, reporting from the Egyptian-Libyan border, where Caritas is distributing emergency aid to migrants fleeing the unrests in Libya.
Read the original blog in German
70-year-old Samer is Palestinian. The Gaza strip is his home, but he has lived and worked in Libya for 36 years. His two sons and his daughter grew up in Libya and are grown-up. His wife passed away. Continue reading
Patients Wesam Ahmad Abu Matar, 13, and Hana'a Ahmad Abu Matar, 2, at the Caritas mobile clinic in Al Sawarha City, an impoverished area lacking medical services in the west of the Gaza Strip.Credit: Katie Orlinsky/Caritas 2010
By Claudette Habesch, Secretary General, Caritas Jerusalem
In his personal statement for one of the universities, my 17 year old grandson wrote, “A Palestinian Christian from Jerusalem, I was born close to the birth of the Oslo Peace Accord, and grew up with the hope of a just solution and prosperity. I witnessed the disappointing collapse of the peace talks, and now, I will graduate from high school under the cloud of a political stalemate and internal Palestinian strife ”.
To read a statement of a young man with his future ahead of him, commencing with hope and ending with uncertainty, a sentiment shared by all Palestinians, made me realize the immense need of solidarity with the Palestinian people. And where else to look other than towards the United Nations, a bastion of justice and a refuge of those with just causes. Continue reading
Children play in Gaza, one of the most densely populated places on Earth. An Israeli blockade has left much of the war-damage unrepaired. Credit Katie Orlinsky/Caritas
in French (Thanks Caritas Canada)
Lord God of All,
we come to you
as Caritas sisters and brothers from the four corners of the world, refugees and relatives.
We come as people who know suffering and struggle, as families and communities with hope.
We come with respect, compassion and informed solidarity with our Palestinian sisters and brothers. We ask you hear our prayer. We ask you hear their prayer for peace, justice, equal rights and human dignity.
By Joseph Cornelius Donnelly, Caritas Delegate at the UN
For the 33rd year since 1977, the international community summons world attention to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people on 29 November. The United Nations General Assembly Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is mandated to acknowledge the need for and engage critical opportunities for solidarity and recognition. Continue reading
America Magazine, Issue 11 October 2010
The problem of refugees facing the churches in the Middle East
by Joseph Cornelius Donnelly and Drew Christiansen
Being a refugee should be a temporary condition. Under international law, people who have fled their homes out of fear of persecution should be able to return home once conditions improve or, when they are prevented from doing so, make a new home elsewhere. To be uprooted from one’s home is especially traumatic in the Middle East, where family, home and ancestral ties to the land are essential to one’s identity. People hold on to their house keys years after they have been expelled or taken flight.
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Hygiene kits distribution at Caritas Jerusalem.
Available in French
Over the last weeks, Caritas has distributed 11,000 blankets and 3,000 hygiene kits in Gaza. More than 4,500 families deeply affected by the ongoing blockade benefited from this aid.
For more than 1,000 days, Gaza has been under siege now, with devastating consequences for its already poor population.
Out of the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, 80% were under the poverty line in 2007. The situation significantly worsened after hostilities broke out between Gaza and Israel in December 2008 and January 2009. Homes, businesses and facilities destroyed could not be rebuilt due to the absence of building material.
Credit: Caritas Jerusalem
By Caritas Jerusalem
Caritas Jerusalem has donated an intensive care unit ambulance to Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. Continue reading