Monday, January 19, 2009

Holy See and Gaza: Humanitarian Relief


VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2009 (VIS) - "In the face of the unrelenting conflict in the Gaza Strip, which has provoked a major humanitarian crisis, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has affirmed several times his closeness to our brothers and sisters, who have already suffered so much", reads a communique released today.

"In his name, the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum', the dicastery of the Holy See entrusted with implementing the charitable initiatives of the Holy Father, has sent a personal concrete sign to aid the relief efforts of the small but fervent Catholic presence in Gaza. It is directed to Fr. Manuel Musallam, pastor of Holy Family Church, the Missionaries of Charity, and other religious congregations, who serve those especially vulnerable in the homeland of Jesus, now being tragically scourged by death, human pain, material damage, and tears that cry out for peace".

CON-CU/AID GAZA/... VIS 090119 (150)


VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2009 (VIS) - On 16 January, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, participated in the tenth emergency special session of the U.N. General Assembly dedicated to: " Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory: draft resolution (A/ES-10/L.21)".

Speaking English, Archbishop Migliore turned his attention to "the dramatic situation in Gaza and some Israeli cities", expressing his solidarity "with the civilians in those regions who bear the brunt of a cruel conflict". He also highlighted the need "to step up the pace of the joint diplomatic efforts and ensure that urgent humanitarian assistance reaches those in need.

"The Holy See asks that Security Council resolution 1860, of 8 January, which calls for an immediate and enduring ceasefire as well as for unimpeded humanitarian assistance, be implemented fully", he added. "In the past few days we have witnessed a practical failure from all sides to respect the distinction of civilians from military targets. Within the context of this resolution, we call on all parties to fully abide by the requirements of international humanitarian law, in order to ensure the protection of civilians".

Over sixty years of coexistence, he went on, Israelis and Palestinians have "witnessed a long succession of conflict, but also of dialogue, including the Madrid meetings, the Oslo Accords, the Wye Memorandum, the peace process of the Quartet, the road map and the Annapolis Conference with their two State solution. Unfortunately, however, the many efforts to establish peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples have so far failed", he noted.

"The United Nations has the weighty task to get the parties to respect the ceasefire, pave the way to negotiations and agreements between them and ensure humanitarian assistance. In particular, this General Assembly can assist the parties in the conflict to discover new patterns for establishing peace, patterns based on mutual acceptance and co-operation amid diversity".


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