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Sunday, December 4, 2016
CAFOD rushes aid to Palestinian victims
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¬†CAFOD is donating £40,000 to help its partner, Caritas Jerusalem to provide emergency assistance to families in the West Bank and Gaza whose lives have been devastated by the current violence. Caritas Internationalis, the parent group of Catholic aid agencies worldwide, issued an emergency appeal for £500,000 ($700,000) for Caritas Jerusalem to meet the urgent needs of families caught up in the violence of the region. The money will be used to provide medicines for hospitals, food, clothing and bedding for those whose possessions and homes have been destroyed during the current fighting. Caritas Jerusalem works with community-based organisations throughout the region. The agency's knowledge and experience in the region mean it can target and reach the neediest families. The agency is providing assistance to 1,000 families in the region. It is distributing food, providing basic health care as well as helping those made homeless to find shelter. Claudette Habesch, Director of Caritas Jerusalem, said: "What we want to do is provide families with bedding and clothing for the children. And we want to help them rent apartments." An estimated 200 Palestinian gunmen and civilians have taken refuge in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, bringing the Christian churches directly into the conflict. Some critics have suggested that the churches are losing their neutral stance in the conflict and siding with the Palestinians. Claudette Habesch refutes this: "We help people in need. We don't care about their religion. We help human beings based on their need, not on their creed." The Patriarchs and Heads of churches in Jerusalem last week issued a plea to both sides to return to the negotiating table. In Bethlehem, an ad hoc emergency community group has been set up jointly by Christians and non-Christians working side by side to help families and civilians caught up in the violence.
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