(Vatican Radio) A new report released this week says the forced internal displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is making them poorer and keeping them in misery and despair.
The document entitled “No Place Like Home” was issued by the International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity (CIDSE), an alliance of Catholic development agencies which says the current status quo is unsustainable.
Janet Symes, Head of Region for the Middle East and Asia with Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, CAFOD spoke to Vatican Radio.
Ms Symes points out that , “in 2016 there were 1,593 people displaced which is double the figure from 2015 and that 290 homes were demolished… so those are the statistics, but the reality of that is that people are losing their homes…”
Asked about what help is available both on a humanitarian and legal level, she says “as CAFOD we support one of our partner agencies, the Jerusalem Legal Aid Centre and they provide legal assistance to Palestinians who have received demolition orders.” She goes on to say that this aid is absolutely crucial for people who have no money to pay for legal fees and who don’t know where to start in order to get the help they need.
So, what can the international community do in order to contribute to peace efforts in the region? Ms Symes says a huge amount can be done if there is “the political will for a peace process”. She goes to stress that, “it’s really important that efforts are made to reignite that peace process; it’s also very very important to ensure that all sides recognize and have a respect for human rights, are complying with international law and that democratic values are being promoted.”