Statement by Cardinal Seán Brady on the loss of life and human suffering in Gaza
“On a visit to Gaza two years ago I saw first hand the need for humanitarian aid because of the Israeli blockade imposed there three years ago this month. This blockade means that people in Gaza cannot easily leave to visit family, to get medical treatment, to study or to work. They also cannot get enough food, electricity, medical supplies and other basic essentials into Gaza where 1.5 million people are trapped on a strip of land 25 miles long and 6 miles wide. I vividly remember the long queues at shops with very little food, the cars at the side of the roads without fuel, the homes and school without power, the bombed out buildings which lined the roads. I was deeply moved by what can only be described as a dire and unnecessary situation of human deprivation and need.
“Yet, in the midst of all of this I was struck by the resilience and dignity of the people I met. Seventy per cent of the people in Gaza struggle to survive on less than one dollar a day. The Church’s development agency, Trócaire, has been working with Israelis and Palestinians to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza and to ensure that the human rights of every person in the region, whatever their background or identity, are respected and upheld.
“I deeply regret the loss of life and injury resulting from Israel’s military take-over in international waters of the flotilla of humanitarian aid to Gaza this week. Such loss of life is tragic and the violence associated with these events is reprehensible. I pray for the families and loved ones of those who were killed and for all those hurt or injured. It is clear that it is now time to lift the blockade on Gaza. The international community has to act to ensure that all parties in the region operate within international laws and conventions.
“Real change is required in the Middle East to allow a just and lasting peace for all. The international community has a responsibility to secure that brighter future. I ask for prayers this coming weekend for the people of Gaza and Israel to conclude this World Week for Peace in the Holy Land “.
Martin Long, Director of Communications 086 172 7678
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer, 087 310 4444