A new report released last week says the forced internal displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is making them poorer and keeping them in misery and despair.
The document entitled “No Place Like Home” was issued by the
International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity (CIDSE), an
alliance of Catholic development agencies which says the current status
quo is unsustainable.
Ms Symes points out that , “in 2016 there were 1,593 people displaced
which is double the figure from 2015 and that 290 homes were
demolished… so those are the statistics, but the reality of that is that
people are losing their homes…”
Asked about what help is available both on a humanitarian and legal
level, she says “as CAFOD we support one of our partner agencies, the
Jerusalem Legal Aid Centre and they provide legal assistance to
Palestinians who have received demolition orders.”
She goes on to say
that this aid is absolutely crucial for people who have no money to pay
for legal fees and who don’t know where to start in order to get the
help they need.
So, what can the international community do in order to contribute to
peace efforts in the region?
Ms Symes says a huge amount can be done if
there is “the political will for a peace process”.
She goes to stress
that, “it’s really important that efforts are made to reignite that
peace process; it’s also very very important to ensure that all sides
recognize and have a respect for human rights, are complying with
international law and that democratic values are being promoted.”