Aid to Palestinians Crucial in Preventing More Suffering

OTTAWA – Carl Hétu, CNEWA Canada’s National Secretary, urged Canadians to support projects and programs to sustain Palestinians reeling from escalating unemployment and deteriorating living conditions.

“Economic sanctions imposed by Canada and many other Western countries following Palestinian elections in January imperil the lives of most Palestinians,” he said, “especially expectant mothers, children and the elderly.

“If unemployment continues to escalate and if support for such basic services as medical care and food is not soon secured,” he said, “Palestinian society will collapse with enormous sociopolitical consequences throughout the Middle East.”

Working in conjunction with the local church, CNEWA-supported programs in Palestine include medical care to expectant mothers and their children in a number of clinics in Gaza, which has been crippled by sanctions.

CNEWA’s job creation program, particularly in the West Bank communities of Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour and Ramallah, provides hundreds with meaningful employment and income, bolstering both family and community life.

On 19 June, representatives of 22 international Catholic agencies, including Mr. Hétu, will meet in Rome to coordinate Catholic assistance to Palestine and the rest of the Middle East. Hosted by the Holy See’s Congregation for the Eastern Churches, the planning meeting is held semiannually.

Founded in 1926 by Pope Pius XI, CNEWA is a special agency of the Holy See providing support to the church and peoples of the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. Its projects include village redevelopment; health care, education; needy child, seminarian and religious sister sponsorship programs; public awareness and interreligious dialogue programs.

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