Statement on the current violence in the Holy Land
The Sovereign Order of Malta expresses its deepest concern about the tragic events of the last few days in the Holy Land.
It strongly condemns the acts of terrorism perpetrated in Israel against the local population and the tragic deaths they caused. It rejects the culture of violence that tolerates the indiscriminate killing of civilians and the holding of hostages.
The Order of Malta believes that the spiral of violence should be immediately stopped. No acts of terrorism as well as the indiscriminate use of force against innocent populations can be justified.
Destruction and sufferings caused to civilians are never acceptable. The tragedy of conflict and strife has been going on for too long in the Holy Land.
We call for the full respect of International Humanitarian Law, the rule of law and the protection of innocents caught in conflict.
We appeal to all parties to respect the rights of those who serve in hospitals and clinics, who provide first aid and who operate ambulance services. Too often those who selflessly assist the sick and needy become victims themselves.
In this regard we recall the role of the Holy Family Hospital in Betlehem, which serves all those in need, irrespective of their origin, nationality, religious belief, in the very spirit of humanitarian assistance rendered by the Order of Malta, according to its historic mission.
The Order of Malta calls upon the international community to make every possible effort to end the escalation and the spiral of violence, to protect human lives and create the conditions for a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, in the spirit of the pertinent United Nations resolutions.
The status of and free access to all the Holy Places and religious sites in the Holy Land should be guaranteed. All parties concerned should cooperate with a view to avoiding any further spread of a culture inspired by hatred and extremism.
The Holy Land and its people have a special place in the heart of the Sovereign Order of Malta.