Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, stated this Tuesday before the Special Political and Decolonization Committee on the U.N. and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
"The United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Pontifical Mission for Palestine," reiterated Archbishop Chullikatt, "have been working for over 60 years to assist the Palestine refugees by providing medical, educational and other social services, services which would normally be the responsibility of the local governing authority."
"Nonetheless," the prelate added, "my delegation is confident that there exist men and women of good will who have the desire and dedication to promote the establishment of such a governing authority."
History repeats itself
The archbishop reminded the assembly that "it is the view of the Holy See that many of the issues raised in the year's report of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA are in essence the symptoms of larger issues which have festered in the region for far too many years."
"Each year at this meeting, we are presented with a seemingly endless list of difficulties and differences separating Israelis and Palestinians," he continued.
The permanent observer hoped that the renewed peace process "can address the root causes of these symptoms and, once and for all, assist the Israelis and the Palestinians in establishing a secure state for the citizens of Israel and a secure State to be the homeland of the Palestine people."
"Each population," he noted, "has been forced for over six decades to live under threat of explosive acts of terror or military incursions which result often in the death of innocent civilians, children, adolescents and the elderly."
Archbishop Chullikatt urged the involved parties to address the negotiations, "the mutual communication and the respectful exchange of positions, in a responsible fashion without delay."
The key to resolving so many of the situations that bring chaos to the region of the Middle East is deeply connected to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said.
The prelate reiterated that after six decades of conflict, "the time is now to substitute this failure with determination that resorts to negotiation rather than violence" in order to "bring stability and peace to the Holy Land."
In this regard, Archbishop Chullikatt urged the international community to "continue its efforts to facilitate with haste the rapprochement of the two parties."
Jerusalem, a city for all
The Holy See, he added, "further underlines that a lasting solution must include the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem."
"In light of the numerous incidents of violence and challenges to free movement posed by the Security Wall," the archbishop said the Holy See renews its support for "internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to the Holy Places by the faithful of all religions and nationalities."
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