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Hands Off The West Bank

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand today called on the government to oppose the planned annexation by Israel of the West Bank, which is due to begin on 1 July.

“We are very concerned about the Israeli government’s plan to unilaterally annex a large portion of land in the West Bank. A feasible peace deal, without annexations, must be arrived at,” said Caritas Director Julianne Hickey.

Caritas believes that the government has a duty to dissuade the Government of Israel from annexing the West Bank.

“We believe, together with the Holy See, that respect for international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions is an indispensable element for the two peoples to live side by side in two states, within the borders internationally recognized before 1967,” said Ms Hickey.

Caritas has long advocated for the Holy Land and its diverse communities. It calls for:

- the occupation of Palestine to end,

- all parties to cease violence, and

- the Palestinian people to have control of their own destiny and enjoy the benefits of their own state,

- recognising Israel’s right to exist with peace and security.

“We are appalled by the profound humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories. During my last visit to Gaza I saw first-hand the dehumanising way that Palestinian people were living. We want to see all the communities in the region living in peace and security. Every person deserves to be treated with respect and to be able to go about their day to day lives without continued surveillance and harassment,” said Ms Hickey.

Caritas is asking people of goodwill to let the government know that this sort of aggression is not acceptable and that the New Zealand government should continue to stand up for what is right and just in the international community.

“Along with the Holy See, we hope that Israelis and Palestinians will be soon able to find once again the possibility for directly negotiating an agreement, with the help of the international community, so that peace may finally reign in the Holy Land, so beloved by Jews and Christians and Muslims,” said Ms Hickey.

Background: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz reached an agreement to form a coalition government, and Netanyahu was sworn in again as prime minister on May 17. He had promised to bring a proposal to the full Israeli government as early as July 1 to annex the land on which some 130 Jewish settlements are built in the West Bank, settlements the United Nations Security Council has declared a “flagrant violation” of international law.

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