By Robin Gomes
The Holy See is urging Israelis and Palestinians to alleviate the suffering of the people and pursue a future of peace and stability in the region.
“Too many innocent civilians, on both sides, have paid the price of the indiscriminate use of violence and force,” lamented Monsignor Tomasz Grysa, the First Counsellor of the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission at the United Nations in New York on Monday.
Speaking on behalf of the Holy See’s Permanent Observer, Archbishop Bernadito Auza, Msgr. Grysa noted that in Gaza, a disastrous humanitarian situation is feeding the despair among the Palestinian population, which at times is manipulated by extremist groups who resort to violence, while fear for Israeli security increases.
Underscoring the need for unity as essential for a politically stable and economically viable Palestine, the Holy See official commended the tireless efforts of neighbouring countries in forging talks with the various Palestinian factions and facilitating dialogue among them. These efforts, Msgr. Grysa pointed out are important towards respecting the inalienable rights, achieving the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and in attaining lasting peace and security for Israel.
The increasingly fragmented Palestinian land, Msgr. Grysa noted, is making the two-state solution more difficult to realize. However, "difficulty does not mean impossibility", he pointed out, adding that it depends on Israelis and Palestinians, regional actors and the rest of the international community, to make every effort and use all their political and diplomatic persuasion to prevent this difficulty from becoming an impossibility.
Regarding a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem, he urged that the cycle of violence be broken and that both parties avoid unilateral actions.
The Holy See commended countries that have increased their donations to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which, while supporting the refugee population, especially children, is also helping wider regional development and security.
“Status quo” of Jerusalem
Msgr. Grysa also raised the issue of the identity of Jerusalem and its status quo, saying, it affects the fragile populations who live there and has potentially detrimental effects on peace and stability in the region.
In this regard, he recalled the joint appeal that Pope Francis and King Mohammed VI of Morocco signed in Rabat on March 30, that calls for preserving the “Status quo” of the Holy City of Jerusalem “as the common patrimony of humanity and especially the followers of the three monotheistic religions, as a place of encounter and as a symbol of peaceful coexistence, where mutual respect and dialogue can be cultivated.”