21 August 2015
Pax Christi join 31 organisations to challenge demolition of Palestinian homes. Full statement here
Thirty-one aid, faith, human rights, and development organizations are calling on world leaders to take urgent action to halt ongoing demolitions and hold the government of Israel accountable for the wanton destruction of Palestinian property and of projects funded by international aid in the occupied West Bank.
During a surge in demolitions this week, the Israeli army demolished at least 63 homes and basic structures across 10 Palestinian communities in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank where Israel has maintained full military and civil control. Among the demolished structures were 12 basic humanitarian necessities, including a solar panel, a portable latrine, animal pens, and tents financed by the European Union.
The organizations said that international donors should seek to recover the financial costs of their destroyed structures and commit to resupplying the aid. In May 2012, the European Union stated publicly that it expected the government of Israel to protect its aid in Area C. Since then, hundreds of aid items funded by European and other donors have been demolished or seized. At least 356 structures, including 81 internationally funded aid items, have already been demolished in Area C this year.
Pax Christi remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki
To mark this special 70 anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Pax Christi members around the country took part in vigils, times of prayer, exhibitions and other events to ensure that the message ” No more Hiroshimas” as conveyed to a wider public.
At Westminster Cathedral in London Pax Christi has an exhibition of its work, linked to Hiroshima and Nagasaki together with the Pax Christi ICON of Peace. Vigils and times of prayer were held on 6th and 9th August on the steps of the Cathedral and this was filmed and reported in a BBC TV discussion on the ethics of the bombing of these cities with Pax Christi’s Bruce Kent and Pat Gaffney interviewed.
Pat Gaffney wrote an article for The Universe entitled We cannot say we did not know reflecting on the words of Fr George Zabelka, Catholic Chaplain to the crew who carried bombs to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It begins:
Imagine a government deliberately setting in place plans that would result in the contamination of water and food supplies, the destruction of buildings and transport systems, the painful death of thousands of its population . This is exactly what the nine countries (USA, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) who together possess 16,000 nuclear weapons are doing today. This is exactly what happened 70 years ago this weekend when the United States dropped atomic bombs nicknamed ‘Fat Man ‘ and ‘Little Boy’ on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, resulting in the immediate deaths of 100,000 and 70,000 people. Have we learnt nothing?
According to the late Father George Zabelka, who in August 1945 served as a chaplain to the crews who dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they were ignorant of what was being prepared. Interviewed in 1972 he said, “ I was ‘brainwashed’. …,