Press Release
CAFOD statement on escalating violence between Israel and Gaza

12 May 2021 

The violence in the West Bank and Gaza including East Jerusalem is deeply disturbing and must be brought to a halt before it spirals out of control and more lives are lost.  Continued escalation only harms the most vulnerable people. There is an urgent need for responsible leadership ready to work for justice and peace for Palestinians and Israelis creating an alternative to this cycle of violence that divides and kills.

Pray for peace

The latest violence was triggered by weeks of tension and clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians regarding a renewed spate of threatened evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem to make way for Israeli settlers claiming ownership as well as protesting restricted access to the Haram al-Sharif (or Temple Mount) during the holy month of Ramadan.  Hamas reportedly retaliated by sending rockets from Gaza into Israel with reports saying that 5 Israelis killed and Israeli airstrikes in response have killed 35 Palestinians including 10 children.

Palestinians had been protesting the imminent eviction of eight Palestinian families (around 87 people including 28 children) from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah which Israeli police responded to with extreme violence. The right to a home is a fundamental human right and it is a question of justice for inhabitants of the city to live, pray and work there with dignity.

CAFOD opposes the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes which is a violation of international law. We call for an immediate cessation of all violence.

Pope Francis has joined calls for an end to the cycle of violence, saying:

“I pray that the city might be a place of encounter and not of violent clashes, a place of prayer and peace… I invite everyone to seek shared solutions, so that the multi-religious and multi-cultural identity of the Holy City might be respected, and that fraternity might prevail.”

A statement by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said: 

“The historic position of the Churches in Jerusalem is clear with regard to our denouncement of any attempt which makes Jerusalem an exclusive city for anyone. This is a city sacred to the three monotheistic religions and, based on international law and relevant UN resolutions, also a city where the Palestinian people, Christians, and Muslims, have the same right to build a future based on freedom, equality and peace.” 

CAFOD believes that the only way out of the cycle of violence and for Israelis and Palestinians to be truly secure, is to revive hope for a just Israeli-Palestinian peace process, aimed at creating the conditions for a stable peace based on justice, where all must be treated equally. 

Note to Editors: 

For further information, interviews or briefings please contact: Nana Anto-Awuakye on: Email - nanto-awuakye@cafod.org.uk - Mobile: 07799477541 OR, CAFOD’s 24-hour media hotline on +44 (0)7919 301 429 

  • Read the full statement from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, here 
  • Figures quoted from BBC as of 8:00am on 12th May 2021 
  • CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and part of Caritas International. We reach out to people living in poverty with practical help, whatever their religion or culture. Help us build a world where no one is beyond reach of the love and care they need.

ENDS///

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