Trócaire campaigns to knock the wall

June 5th 2007 marks the 40th year of Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. The impact of this occupation, which includes poverty, violence, social disintegration and internal conflict, continues to this day. As part of this occupation, Israel began the construction of a 700-kilometre wall that cuts through Palestinian communities, dividing families and their lands, keeping farmers from their crops, children from their schools, the sick from urgent medical care and denying people freedom of movement. 

Growing crisis in Palestine

Trócaire’s local partner in Jerusalem is appealing urgently for over 1.5 million euro to help Palestinians scrape by as salaries at the Palestinian Authority, which provides jobs for more than 150,000 people, go unpaid. The salaries have been frozen since Hamas won the January elections, prompting Israel and international donors to withhold funds destined for the new government. Those government employees directly or indirectly support a quarter of the entire Palestinian population of 1.3 million people. Other international organisations and donors also halted direct funding of the Palestinian Authority. About 40 per cent of children in Gaza already suffer from malnutrition because of the area’s absolute poverty. 

Trócaire seeks clarity from the Irish Government on aid to the Palestinian Authority

Trócaire has written to the Department of Foreign Affairs to seek clarity on the Irish Government’s position with regard to the suspension of funding to the Palestinian Authority. It follows the European Union’s recent threat to freeze direct assistance to the Authority at a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg on 10 April. The European Council’s conclusions come at a time when Israel’s closure policies, particularly the restrictions on the movement of people and goods in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, are having a deep impact on social services and economic activity. 

Gaza strip: An open air prison?

Last December I turned up at a border crossing
leading from Israel to the infamous Gaza strip as
part of a delegation of Catholic development
agencies. I was looking forward to the visit, to seeing
first-hand the situation in which thousands of
Palestinians were living. But four hours later I walked
away, together with half the group, refused entry by
Israeli security because our papers for entry did
not have the required approvals. While the
Palestinians living within this small piece of land
could not get out, I could not get in. Trócaire’s Director Justin Kilcullen writes of the bleak and harrowing conditions facing the thousands of Palestinians living in the Gaza strip, where they are effectively prisoners behind barbed wire fence.