The Church Cannot Stay Quiet

Catholic News Agency

– The Catholic Church will speak out against injustice and avoid any attempt to normalize the “festering wound” of the Israeli-Palestinian situation, a commission from the region’s leading Catholic bishops has said.

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“The Church cannot ignore fundamental injustice or acts that endanger peace and the welfare of the human person.

“By her very nature, the Church opposes occupation and discrimination and is committed to promote justice and peace as well as the unique dignity and equality of every human person.

“The Church can never ignore injustice as if all is well but rather is obligated to speak out, resist evil and work tirelessly for change. Like the prophets of old, the Church, a prophetic body, points out injustice and denounces it,” the Justice and Peace Commission said.

The Justice and Peace Commission saw an important intersection between the Church’s position against injustice, and political discourse against “normalization” of the Israeli-Palestinian situation. The local Church is responsible for reminding the universal Church that the situation is “an open, festering wound and that the situation cannot be considered normal,” the commission said.

While in the State of Israel, Jews and Arabs have equal rights in principle, in practice Arabs face discrimination in access to development, jobs, education, and public funding for their cities, the group added.

“Some of these forms of discrimination are embedded in legislation, but others are indirect and hidden.”

The military occupation of Palestine undermines the residents’ daily lives, through settlement, road-building, Israeli construction on Palestinians’ private land, but also military incursion, assassination, arbitrary arrest, collective punishment, confiscation of land, and destruction of houses. Checkpoints limit their freedom of movement, which hinders economic development and family reunification.

“In both societies, Israeli and Palestinian, the life of the Palestinians is far from normal and acting as if things were normal ignores the violation of fundamental human rights.”

Palestinian citizens need Israeli permits and approval for many parts of life, such as visiting holy sites and Palestinian parishes, schools and hospitals in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem. Similarly, they need Israeli permits to build homes and businesses in Israeli-controlled areas.

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