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21  April

COLUMN: A timely call for peace

27/03/2024 @ 10:44


Plaid Cymru’s election candidate Elwyn Vaughan shares his views on the ongoing situation in Gaza.

“Palm Sunday commemorates the Christian belief in the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, when he was greeted by cheering.

This year, Palm Sunday falls on March 24. Also known as Passion Sunday, it marks the start of Holy Week. The most sacred week of the Christian year includes the Good Friday re-enactment of Jesus’ crucifixion story and death, and their belief in his resurrection on Easter.

It’s that time of year where many see hope and light. When we feast too much, celebrate and enjoy with family and friends. When we attend chapels and churches; celebrating with our young people; enjoying time with our families, peace with our neighbours.

As we talk about Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Hebron; centres of importance to Judaism, Christianity, Islam or Bahai’s Faith – and talk about peace with our fellowmen – remember the current suffering in that land.

Of men, women and children impoverished in Gaza, with no electricity, lack of food, no roofs over their heads let alone any hope for the future.

As Israel presses its military offensive across Gaza, as a response to the Hamas atrocities in October, the army has been repeatedly advising some two million civilians to move to a “humanitarian zone” smaller than London's Heathrow Airport. Al-Mawasi is a narrow strip of land by the Mediterranean Sea. The zone designated as safe by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) is just 8.5 sq km (3.3 sq miles).

Thousands of homes, schools, hospitals, mosques and stores have been destroyed. UN monitors have said that about 70% of school buildings across Gaza have been damaged.

The head of the UN World Health Organisation has said he is “deeply concerned” about the “toxic mix of disease, hunger and lack of hygiene and sanitation” that people in Gaza are facing.

The Israeli military have launched a full-scale retaliation, with its operation killing more than 32,300 Palestinians, and injuring more than 74,600 others, which the World Health Organisation regards as credible.

Last week, an UN-backed food security assessment warned that 1.1 million people in Gaza were struggling with catastrophic hunger and starvation.

We have men, and it is usually men, on both sides who want to be tough and throw missiles at each other whilst it’s women and children who in the main suffer. Violence will achieve nothing and merely create another generation of recruits for Hamas.

During Easter celebrations, many will enjoy the decoration and the communal breaking of Easter eggs. Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include Easter parades, the Easter Bunny and egg hunting. There are also traditional Easter foods that vary by region and culture.

Whilst you enjoy your indulgences, let’s remember all those in Gaza that don’t have sufficient food. At a time of peace and goodwill to all, at a time of hope, at a time when many look towards the Holy Land, let’s unite in calling for the resurrection of peace - let’s have that much needed ceasefire, and a commitment to a long term solution for the sake of humanity. Happy peaceful Easter.”