Caritas Jerusalem is deeply concerned by the escalation of violence and widespread loss of civilian life in the occupied Palestinian territory and in Israel.
In a statement, Caritas Jerusalem condemned attacks against Palestinian and Israeli civilians. “Only robust political action can prevent a further escalation,” said Caritas Jerusalem director Fr. Raed Abusahlia.
“Hysterical fear or panic and incitement will lead to dramatic consequences such as the killing of innocent people… Violence breeds violence.”
The latest upswing began with a string of stabbing attacks on Israelis as Palestinian anger rose over perceived Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque.
The bloodshed is taking place against a background of tensions caused by the continued building of new settlements, the confiscation of land and the construction of the separation wall and “almost the end of the peace process and the death of the two state solution”.
“We feel that both Israelis and Palestinians don’t want to escalate the situation to a third Intifada but unfortunately they are not taking any measures to calm the situation down,” said Fr. Abushalia.
“The only way out of this terrible situation is to have a clear vision and courageous decision to come back to the negotiating table with a clear time table and objective”.
And that means: “End the occupation as soon as possible, once and for all. Give hope to both sides instead of a situation of despair in which we are currently living.”
Progress on the international-backed peace process has been stalled. “We also believe that the international community should play a key role to help both parties, because dialogue is the only way to reach such a solution,” said Fr. Abusahlia.
Caritas Jerusalem fears that the violence will only worsen suffering in the region, increasing unemployment and economic hardship for tens of thousands of families.