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Mati Milstein/Adalah
World News

Catholic agencies warn life for Palestinian in occupied territories is worsening

International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity (CIDSE) says the forced displacement of Palestinians "is making them poorer and keeping them in misery and despair".

Mary Lucas, representative for the Middle East at CIDSE member Cafod told Premier: "The Israeli authorities have really stepped up demolitions.

"In 2016, there were twice as many demolitions than in 2015 and, in the first week of this year alone, there were four times as many demolitions than the same time last year."

Palestinians immediately condemned the announcement hundreds of new housing units in three East Jerusalem settlements have been approved by Israel.

A decision on the building permits were postponed until after US President Donald Trump had taken office.

Trump vowed during his election campaign to recognise Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, despite the city's contested status.

The White House said it's in the "beginning stages" of discussing have the US embassy in Israel relocated to Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, in a new report, CIDSE is warning violence from the military and other sources, illegal house-building by Israel and restrictive planning rules are all factors contributing to the displacement of Palestinians.

Mary Lucas also said: "We firmly believe that the occupation causes harm to both Palestinians and Israelis, and that neither people can flourish unless the occupation comes to an end."

It has been nearly 50 years since Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the Six Day War which began on 5th June 1967.

Publishing their report, entitled 'No Place Like Home', CIDSE is condemning any violence by either side and is urging the UK government to support a renewed peace process.

Mary Lucas went on to say: "In particular, we will be calling on our government to protest these demolitions and, especially if these structures have been funded by European taxpayers, we believe we should be asking for compensation."

But Jacob Vince, from Christian Friends of Israel, told Premier: "I think there may be some truth in the fact that Palestinians' lives may be getting worse. The reasons for that we may differ on. For some Palestinians, life is doing reasonably well."

"I think the best way forward would be for the two sides to be in discussions together about the issues and situations.

"Within Israel there is the rule of law. In the surrounding regions there's some shockers going on, and to get that out of perspective isn't particularly helpful."

Click here to listen to Mary Lucas from Cafod speaking with Premier's Antony Bushfield:

Listen to Premier's Aaron James speaking to Jacob Vince:

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