ASIA/HOLY LAND – “Justice and Peace” Commission: the occupation of Palestine is the first cause of violence in the Holy Land

ASIA/HOLY LAND – “Justice and Peace” Commission: the occupation of Palestine is the first cause of violence in the Holy Land

Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) – The main cause and the first context of the perpetuation of violence in the Holy Land is the “occupation of Palestine”, an occupation that “has lasted for fifty-five years”. The Justice and Peace Commission of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem underlines this clearly and directly in a document published as a contribution to the reflection on the latest spiral of violence that has hit the land where Jesus lived his earthly life. The document, sent to Agenzia Fides, represents a careful examination of recent bloody events that have marked the news in recent months in Israel and Palestine, traced in the light of recent and ancient causes that have fueled the pain and people’s mourning. of the Holy Land. “In our attempt to understand the root of this violence” note the document’s editors – we are in no way seeking to justify it, but understanding is the only way to begin to find a way out of this murderous cycle”.
The reflection proposed by the Jerusalem Justice and Peace Commission is inspired by the assassination of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh killed in Jenin on May 11 by Israeli military forces: a “daughter of our Christian community” known throughout the region as a journalist for Al-Jazeera (see Fides 5/12/2022). Even the Israeli police’s assault on the funeral procession carrying Shireen’s coffin to the church – reads the Justice and Peace document – “left us stunned”. But the document also recalls that the violence during the funeral of the Palestinian journalist is only the latest painful episode in a spiral of violence which has recently bloodied the Holy Land, with murders and attacks.
In the past two months, forty-five Palestinians, sixteen Israelis and two migrant workers have been killed in what has been called “a new cycle of violence”. A silent massacre perpetrated mainly in Palestine, but which also involved Israeli territory, where fifteen Israelis were killed in attacks by Palestinians. The Commission’s document linked to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem recalls that “as long as the conflict between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs continues, as long as there is no justice, equality and peace in the Holy Land, no sincere commitment to end the conflict, death will continue to be victorious. As long as a regime of military occupation continues to be imposed on those living in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and as long as a regime of discrimination continues to be administered within the State of Israel, there will be no end to the cycle of violence”.
In a key passage of the document, devoted to describing the root causes of the violence, the authors of the document note that many analyzes “attribute the violence to Palestinian, Arab or Islamic ideologies that reject Israel, Israelis and even Jews. acts of violence must be analyzed first and foremost in the context of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and “must be repeated with unequivocal clarity: the root cause and primary context of the violence is the occupation of Palestine, an occupation that disappeared for fifty-five years”.
The violence of the occupation recalled in the document Justitia and Pax Jerusalem includes “the expropriation of land, administrative detention, denial of building permits, demolitions of houses, restriction of movement, stifling of political development, social and economic situation and the continued siege of the Gaza Strip”. The document also refers to the tensions in the holy city of Jerusalem which continue to aggravate the situation and increase the levels of tension, and include “the constant threats to the status quo in the Haram al-Sharif (also known as the Temple Mount), stifling restrictions on access to holy sites (for Christians, this was again highlighted this past Orthodox Saturday of Light, Saturday saint), and the continued attempts to claim property in occupied East Jerusalem, resulting in the eviction of people from their homes to be given to settlers, particularly in Sheikh Jarrah and S ilwan”. Much of the violence suffered by Palestinians – the document points out – is perpetrated by Israeli settlers and their activist groups, who occupy Palestinian lands and live illegally in the territories occupied by Israel. Even the so-called “Abrahamic Accords” between Israel and some Arab countries, promoted by the US administration under the Trump presidency, end up contributing to the sense of frustration that fuels further violence. These agreements, in the name of peace, bring Israel closer to countries with which, in reality, the Jewish state “has no conflicts”. They “pursue common regional interests such as opposition to Iran and economic and military collaboration. However, the agreements blatantly ignore the real Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Palestinian rights. For the Palestinians, this adds insult to injury, reinforcing their sense that, in the eyes of Israel and the powerful in the international community, they do not exist.” The new international scenarios opened up by the conflict in Ukraine – add the drafters of the document – also ended up underlining the asymmetry of the reactions of the international community to the different conflict situations: “As soon as Russia invaded Ukraine, the international community, led by the United States, condemned the invasion and far-reaching sanctions were imposed by many countries, including the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom, in order to pressure the Russian regime to withdraw from the Ukrainian territory and cease its aggression Many Palestinians compare these recent events to decades of conflict in their own homeland.Israel has occupied Palestinian territory since 1967 and has imposed a discriminatory regime of inequality ed to Palestinians inside Israel since 1948. However, those who most condemn Russian aggression have done so. little to denounce the Israeli occupation and discrimination. This double standard only has Palestinian frustration and desperation”. In conclusion, the document calls on the Israeli authorities to objectively seek “the reasons for the violence that engulfs us all. Responding to violence with violence, a logic of endless retaliation, is not the answer. Israel and Palestine have the same rights: the rights to security, freedom, dignity and self-determination. The violence will not stop until these rights are realized for Israelis and Palestinians.” (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 05/19/2022)


Share:

Elna M. Lemons