ZENIT News Agency, The World Seen from Rome
Holy See's Address on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
"Two Steps Are Called For"
GENEVA, NOV. 16, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address that Archbishop Silvano
Tomasi, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations at Geneva,
gave at the 3rd Special Session of the Human Rights Council, held Wednesday.
* * *
1. In its short history, the Human Rights Council has faced tough challenges
given the persisting violations of human rights in several areas of the world,
violations it has not always been able to address with fairness and consistency
because of shortsighted political and economic interests. But a Human Rights
Council that does not contribute to change the quality of people's life on
the ground, in their daily tasks and normal activities, seriously risks a
loss of credibility.
To the delegation of the Holy See it appears that a priority of the council
would be a qualitative step forward in confidence-building, the adoption
of a courageous method of real dialogue that enables placing on the table
the real problems calling for solution no matter how different at the start
are the points of view. On the assumption of such a confidence, the present
Special Session can be a constructive occasion. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict
has been caught in a cycle of violence that, as experience shows, leads nowhere.
This tragic spiral of suffering must be broken.
2. Two steps are called for. First, the two people involved must recognize
each other's humanity and equality and start this process of mutual recognition
on a base of justice and respect of fundamental human rights and international
and humanitarian law. Peaceful coexistence is possible if justice and reconciliation
create the context for collaboration and mutual security.
Second, the family of states has a moral responsibility to promote a mentality
of peace; to collaborate through practical measures for the elimination of
the deep cultural, social and economic roots of violence; to aid and enable
the parties involved in pursuing a fruitful collaboration. This responsibility
in the first place is owed to the civilian population, to women and children
struck down by unwarranted violence, to young military lives cut short with
dreams unfulfilled. Violence never pays and generates new sorrows. Respect
of basic human rights, above all the right to life, is not an abstract consideration,
but an approach that pays a rich dividend in its political consequences:
It makes possible the reaping and enjoyment of the fruits of peace.
3. In the view of this delegation, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as a
major source of instability in the Middle East, becomes a chain in a vicious
cycle that produces instability in the whole region. In turn, such instability
makes the situation of the population of Palestine and of Israel much worse
and the reaching of peaceful goals more difficult. If the countries engaged
in the region and trying to assist in finding a honorable and just solution
to the conflict succeed, they would render an important service to the whole
world and show once again how the respect of human rights fosters peace and
peace sustains the living out of human rights.
4. Allow me to conclude with the recent words of His Holiness Pope Benedict
XVI addressing the deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip and expressing
his closeness to the civilian population asking that God "will enlighten
the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, as well as those of nations that
have a particular responsibility in the region, so that they may do all they
can to put an end to the bloodshed, increase humanitarian aid initiatives
and encourage the immediate resumption of direct, serious and concrete negotiations."
Thank you, Mr. President