An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Christian Aid on Gaza

This is not about Gaza. Christian Aid believes that while the scale of destruction and suffering in Gaza is unprecedented, the current crisis should not be a surprise to anyone. It is the result 
of decades of political failure and continuous Palestinian displacement. We call for 
an immediate end to all violence against civilians, and honest and concrete 
measures to demonstrate to all those who breach international law that they 
will be held to account.

This latest outbreak of violence is not about Gaza. The people who are now dying in their 
hundreds are paying the price for a lethal combination of international political impotence 
and indifference to decades of Palestinian dispossession and displacement. It appears 
from its actions that Israel disregards the most basic rights of Palestinians. 

Those who have died deserve us to be honest about what is happening. The world 
cannot claim to be unaware, as it has been paying for the consequences of consistent 
political failure, weak Palestinian leadership and Israel’s actions since the first Palestinian 
refugees were forced from their homes in 1947. Billions have been poured into Palestinian 
‘development’ aid, while Israeli actions have fuelled ‘de-development’ and undermined 
a viable Palestinian economy by occupying more land for illegal settlements in east 
Jerusalem and the West Bank, and restricting access and movement of people and goods.
Israel controls and has an impact on almost every aspect of Palestinian life. This includes 
forcing people through humiliating checkpoints; allowing settler violence to go unpunished; 
imposing a seven-year blockade on Gaza; arresting and holding thousands without charge; 
and demolishing homes and livelihoods. 

Anyone bearing witness to these facts on the ground will no doubt conclude that any 
possibility of a two-state solution has all but failed. Despite the international community’s 
claim that it is the only solution, it has not acted to stop Israel usurping Palestinian land and 
natural resources, and has allowed Palestinians to become the highest per capita recipients 
of donor aid in the world. 

If there is doubt about the current Israeli Government’s intentions then Prime Minister 
Netanyahu’s comments in the Times of Israel (13/07/14) clarifies things: ‘I think the Israeli 
people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any 
agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.’ 
This clearly means not giving a Palestinian state full sovereignty. 

For Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory to be truly secure, democratic and peaceful, and to end the poverty that degrades the lives of so many, the occupation must end and all within it must be treated equally. If the international community continues with the same approach to this conflict, then it is complicit in the current situation. Christian Aid believes that relationships must change between Israelis, Palestinians and third-party states, and be transformed into ones that centre on accountability.

Christian Aid believes that for there to be security for both peoples, the climate of impunity 
must come to an end, and every individual and collective action must be accounted for 
through a framework guided by international law and justice. This is the essence of peace: 
building new relationships founded on equity. If non-violent forms of justice, such as 
respect for international law, are routinely ignored, then the international community 
will continue to fund an unsustainable status quo. 

As a Christian mother I cannot bear to see the children of Gaza suffering. 

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