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Caritas calls on the international community to ensure existing peace agreements are upheld. Credit: LIz O'Neill/CRS

Caritas calls on the international community to ensure existing peace agreements are upheld. Credit: LIz O’Neill/CRS

Caritas Internationalis (CI) calls on both parties in the Gaza conflict to agree to a permanent ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to get through and for the human rights of Palestinians to be protected.

Caritas continues to work in Gaza but frequent bombings threaten its efforts to bring essential aid to Gazans. The United Nations says over 700 people have been killed, 4000 people injured and some 140,000 people displaced in just over two weeks of conflict.

“Peace can never come out of conflict. What comes out of it is tragedy: suffering, a loss of lives, a grave violation of human rights and profound damage to the people involved,” says Michel Roy, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis.

“We must believe in a common future for the Israelis and Palestinians and as part of the international community we must work at every level – humanitarian, political, diplomatic and spiritual – to ensure that there is a chance of this in the Holy Land,” he says.

In a joint CI/Dominicans for Justice and Peace oral statement submitted on 23 July to the UN Special session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) on the “Human Rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”, CI asks the parties to respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law. It urges Israeli security forces and Palestinian armed groups to stop targeting civilians and to protect their lives.

It calls on the international community to ensure existing peace agreements are upheld and a solution to the conflict is found. This would require an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Caritas recently launched an emergency appeal for funds to support its programmes in Gaza. The €1.130.855 (NIS 5.315.016) appeal will fund food, medical care, blankets, hygiene kits, fuel for hospital generators and counselling for people in need within the Gaza Strip.

On the launch of the appeal, Fr Raed Abusahlia, director of Caritas Jerusalem, said, “We decided to intervene quickly because needs of Gazans in the conflict are increasing day by day; we see that damage and destruction are everywhere in the Gaza Strip. Our urgent intervention is needed in this humanitarian crisis.”

For more information, please contact Michelle Hough at hough@caritas.va or call +39 06 6987 9752 or +39 334 2344 136.