RAMALLAH, September 16, 2014 (WAFA) – PLO Executive Committee member, Hanan Ashrawi, met with the ‘Bishops’ Prayer Pilgrimage for Peace’ visiting delegation headed by Bishop Richard E. Pates, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, at the PLO Headquarters in Ramallah.
Both parties discussed the latest Palestinian political developments, Israel’s continued violations on the ground, the diminishment of Christians from Palestine as a result of the military occupation, Israel’s most recent campaign of aggression and terror in Gaza, and the imbalanced approach in the policies of both the U.S. Congress and of the Administration, respectively, as well as issues of mutual interest and cooperation.
Both Ashrawi and the Delegation stressed the need for a just peace and for the United States to play an even-handed role in curbing Israeli violations.
Condemning the drastic growth of the settler population in the West Bank, Ashrawi stated: “With the unprecedented increase of settlers and settlements in the West Bank, the Israeli government is willfully imposing a policy of lawlessness and land theft. It is evident that this did not happen unintentionally; Israel is deliberately stealing Palestinian land and forcibly displacing Palestinians from their homeland to ensure the creation of ‘Greater Israel’ and the one-state solution.”
“Israel has to face serious legal, moral and human accountability immediately for such criminality and violations of international law. It is high time that the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international bodies act to guarantee that Palestinian rights are safeguarded and that Israel’s impunity comes to an end before the chances for peace are destroyed indefinitely.”
In a separate matter, Ashrawi marked the 32nd anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre and said, “Thirty-two years later, we still remember the massacre of the Palestinian people in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut that took place with the collusion and support of the Israeli army under the leadership of Ariel Sharon.”
She added that, “This enormous historical injustice constitutes one of the worst tragedies in Palestinian history, and it serves as an important reminder that Israel continues to commit war crimes and acts of terror with immunity at the expense of the Palestinian people. However, we will remain undeterred in our efforts to liberate Palestine and to seek international judicial accountability for Israel’s violations.”
The meeting was hosted by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS)/Jerusalem, the Delegation included 19 Catholic bishops and 5 staff members.