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Canberra bishops urge Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories


Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn Pat Power has joined Anglican bishop George Browning in expressing dismay at the loss of human life and destruction of poverty in the escalation of violence in Palestine.

Condemning all acts of terror and violence, the bishops pointed to the inconsistency of the Israeli Government condemning Yassar Arafat for his lack of control over suicide bombers, while at the same time ordering military action to undermine Arafat's leadership.

They said: "We call upon the Israeli Government to withdraw its forces from the Palestinian territories immediately. We appeal to the Palestinian people to refrain from any acts of terrorism."

"It is incumbent on the US administration to take a more even-handed stance in the conflict, following the example of the United Nations."

"Finally, we appeal to the Australian Government to give leadership in organising an international peace-keeping force which could provide a buffer between the warring parties."

The Bishops applauded the aid workers, peace activists and members of the media who are putting their lives at risk in the conflict.

Meanwhile Britain's Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor condemned the "wanton and indiscriminate killing" associated with the Israeli Defence Forces' invasion of Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities and towns, suggesting that it is just as reprehensible as the Palestinians' suicide bombings.

SOURCE
Canberra Bishops/CMO

3 Apr 2002