Catholic World News

Patriarchate of Jerusalem says Israeli occupation of Palestinian land must end

March 22, 2016

The Catholic bishops of the Holy Land have issued a statement arguing that the root cause of Israeli-Palestinian violence is "occupation, which is deprivation of freedom and human dignity."

The statement, released by the justice-and-peace commission of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, takes note of a recent Pew survey showing strong support among Israelis for the expulsion of Arabs. That result, the statement said, "showed that Israel today is less democratic, less egalitarian, less free than it has ever been."

Violence will never resolve the conflict, the patriarchate argues. The statement retraces the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

Jews in Palestine and throughout the world succeeded in establishing a state in 1948 on 78% of the territory of Palestine. The Palestinians did not succeed in establishing a state. In 1967, Israel occupied the rest of Palestine, the remaining 22%. These lands are still occupied or surrounded and under siege. A Palestinian state only exists as a dream. A large number of Israelis declare that they do not want to be occupiers and Palestinians demand an end to the occupation.

Despite promises, the statement says, "the laws, the military ordinances, the demagoguery of politicians, assassinations, arrests, land confiscations, family separation and daily frustrations" continue. The result, the statement concludes, is "hopelessness and the eruption of violence, in particular among young people who are convinced that they have nothing to lose, because they see no future."


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  • Posted by: space15796 - Mar. 22, 2016 10:23 PM ET USA

    I couldn't disagree more strongly. The wording the bishops used makes it sound as if Jews were triumphant in 1948, like there was no history leading up to the re-establishment of a Jewish state. WWII anyone? 6,000,000 dead? The Jews have a right to defend the state thus established. The Bedouins have not make the dessert bloom like the Jews have. The Palestinians have a long history of violence - sadly, this didn't start in 1948.