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Peace is Possible:

MEDIA RELEASE November 29, 2006

Peace is Possible:

Caritas Supports International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People

On this solemn day of commemoration, our global Caritas Confederation seizes this opportunity to express again our solidarity with the Palestinian people. We offer our thoughts and prayers for a just and durable peace for all those in the Holy Land – Palestinians, Israelis, Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

On this international day of solidarity, organized annually for decades under the auspices of the United Nations, our Confederation of 162 member organisations working in 200 countries and territories, firmly believes that “Peace is Possible” wherever there is a responsible, determined will to communicate, face the facts, and work together towards reconciliation.

Caritas Australia applauds the recent ceasefire agreement and cannot overemphasize the urgency we share that justice be done, that the occupation come to an end, and that the fundamental root causes of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict be put squarely at the heart of fair negotiations.

Caritas Australia condemns all forms of violence by any party under any circumstance, especially the killing of innocents. We plead for comprehensive rapprochement where the needs of the poor and most vulnerable are placed at the centre of dialogue. Instead of more resolutions or politicized rhetoric, we need more definitive, strategic actions based on the fundamental realization that every life is sacred.
Caritas Australia hopes that this day will help to mobilise governments, diplomats, international civil society, and religious leaders to take action to contribute to a lasting peace. From our side, we reaffirm our readiness to work towards justice, reconciliation, and peace-building.

We offer our faith and hope, as we walk daily with our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land – and with all those in the ever-fragile Middle East region. We admire the courage of the local Church and Caritas partners in their efforts to build bridges and heal wounds - and we stand with them.

Knowing that peace is possible, we share Pope Benedict's prayer: “That God will enlighten the Israeli and Palestinian Authorities as well as those nations that have a particular responsibility in the region so that they may do all they can to put an end to bloodshed, increase humanitarian aid initiatives and encourage the immediate resumption of serious and concrete negotiations.”

Caritas Australia donated $83,000 to Caritas Jerusalem this year to assist medical and family support needs of Palestinian communities resulting from the withdrawal of international assistance and continue the job creation activities aimed at alleviating the effects of worsening unemployment and poverty.

Finally, we call on the United Nations and the Quartet Members (the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, and Russia) to remove every perceived obstacle that impedes negotiations. We call on all those responsible to act with boldness and determination, to bring the parties face-to-face, before more lives are tragically lost in the absence of a more vigorous and comprehensive vision for peace. Together we must be more robust in our resolve. Together we can and must lift up this land and its people.


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