BETHLEHEM, May 19, 2015 (WAFA) – The World Assembly of Pax Christi urged all United Nations member states to recognize the state of Palestine and ban Israeli settlements’ construction in the occupied territories.
In a press release that WAFA received, the 160 participants in the Assembly of the international Catholic peace movement in Bethlehem/West Bank from 13th to 17th of May are deeply concerned about Israeli policies that deny Palestinians’ rights and preclude the possibility of a two state solution.
Pax Christi International affirmed its full support of Palestinians in their nonviolent struggle to end occupation and Israelis who stand for human rights and international law, including as applied to Palestinians.
It welcomed the Vatican’s recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state and said that bilateral recognition is an important acknowledgement of the right of Palestinians to self-determination.
“With the new Israeli government’s refusal to turn 22% of the land of the former Palestine Mandate into the new state of Palestine, the UN must implement UNSC Resolution 242, by which Israel is required to withdraw from the territories occupied since 1967.”
Considering that the Israeli government is determined to continue allowing settlement activities and the enlargement of existing settlements, both of which are violations of international humanitarian law, Pax Christi International insisted that all collaboration with occupation must end.
Third parties, including the US, the Russian Federation and EU member states are responsible for ensuring respect for international law, said Pax Christi International.
It added, in order to prevent settlements from becoming profitable, settlement products should be banned.
It also noted that Palestine’s membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC), war crimes can be sentenced now.
Participants in the Assembly, who came from five continents, joined the Nakba commemoration in Bethlehem. They remembered the 750,000 Palestinians who were driven out or fled in 1947/1948, as well as the ongoing Nakba, which threatens Palestinians with expulsion from home and land at any time.
The participants visited refugee camps and farmers in villages in the Jordan Valley and in the south of Hebron, where farmers fear the Israeli military to destroy their houses, water systems and stables if the international community does not act to prevent such violations of international law.
Pax Christi International encouraged both Palestinian and Israeli human rights and peace organizations to continue work for a just peace in the Middle East based on human rights and international law and proclaim its solidarity with these groups.
It also encouraged all pilgrimages to the Holy Land to engage with the local people of Palestine.
It finally said, “Without hope and vision and solidarity neither the oppressed nor the oppressor can find a way out of violence, war and a culture of death. To stand for life is Pax Christi’s international responsibility.”