Vatican Rep. Recounts Horrors Of Gaza: "The Level Of Destruction Was Unprecedented; Palestinians Forced To Sleep In Rubble, Children Dying of Hypothermia"
By Martin Hill
January 28, 2015


Vatican radio has released a revealing interview with the Vatican's Regional Director of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, Sami El-Yousef. El-Yousef recently travelled to Gaza and recounts some of the horrors that exist there.

The Pontifical Mission for Palestine was founded in 1949 by Pope Pius XII. The organization's website states

"On 18 June 1949, Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church, published an Instruction announcing that the Holy Father had erected a Pontifical Mission for Palestine and outlined its competence: " has been decided to bring together under the Pontifical Mission, operating in the Holy Land, all those organizations and associations which are engaged in activities concerning the East, and which are scattered throughout many countries of Europe and other continents."

...Pope Paul VI's concern - In October 1963, a few months after his election to the papacy, Paul VI, expressing his personal appreciation of and identification with the work of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, wrote to its president that "We esteem highly the efforts and admirable achievements of that Mission, which we helped establish...." He exhorted relief agencies everywhere to collaborate with the mission, addressing in particular Catholic Relief Services, the Custody of the Holy Land and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
Pope Paul VI went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in January 1964. His vivid and personal experiences there prompted him to call for new, important and creative initiatives on behalf of Palestinians and the church in Palestine. On 25 March 1974 in the encyclical letter on the increased needs of the church in the Holy Land, Nobis in animo, the pope spoke of "the grave religious, political and social problems existing in the Holy Land: the complex and delicate problems of the coexistence of the peoples of the region, of their living in peace, and questions of a religious, civil and human nature which involve the life of the different communities that live in the Holy Land."

In this latest interview, released today, Lydia O'Kane interviews Pontifical Mission Palestine's Sami El-Yousef, Regional Director for Palestine and Israel. He describes the situation after numerious wars and how reconstruction has yet to begin.

"I must admit really that when I returned from Gaza after that visit," El-Yousef began, "...seeing the level of the destruction, it took me maybe a week or so to get those images and clear my mind really out of what I had seen... because the level of destruction was unprecedented, as far as Gaza is concerned; 18,000 homes destroyed, 37,000 destroyed beyond being uninhabitable, businesses, ministries, government offices, hospitals, schools; you go through complete neighborhoods and see total destuction... homeless people all over the place."

Asked about the relationship between Hamas and Christian institutions, he notes that Hamas has developed a cetrain respect for the Christian organizations that are aiding the people of Gaza; a "courteous, respectful" relationship has been established.

El-Yousef then explains that none of the humanitarian aid money promised to Gaza has been recieved: "None of the funds have come through. Over $6 billion dollars was alleged for the reconstruction of Gaza at the international conference that was held. Unfortunately until now, none of those funds have been recieved actually by the local authorities and at the present time you cannot even claim that any serious reconstruction effort has started in Gaza. And it is unclear whether this reconstruction will start anytime soon. Keeping in mind that reconstruction efforts after the 2008-2009 war has not materialized in any great sense until now; reconstruction efforts after the 2012 war have not materialized, and there are homes really that are on the list from those previous wars that have not been fixed to date. It does not look very bright at the present time as far as these reconstruction efforts in the very near future."

The reporter then asks 'how much do the people in Gaza, the children, how much do they really want to believe that people care what's happend to them?'

He responds "Well, they are resiliant. I must admit really that the hope that you see in the eyes of the children in particular is something I think children around the world should learn from." He continues "Gaza is Gaza. It has kicked back after the 2008-2009 war despite all the physical damage that you continously see on the ground; they kick back from the 2012 war and I'm sure they will kick back from this 2014 war. They are brave, I have all admiration for them, and they have, in many ways, really have hope for the future that tomorrow will be a better day than yesterday."

You can listen to this 7:40 interview here:
Vatican Rep. Visits Gaza :"The Level Of Destruction Was Unprecedented"

On November 3, 1999, the fiftieth Anniversary of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, Vatican representative H. E. Archbishop Renato R. Martino wrote:
"My Delegation notes with appreciation the valuable services rendered by UNRWA to the Palestinian people in need for almost half a century. Yet, the report by the Economic and Social Council on the "Economic and Social Repercussions of the Israeli Occupation on the Living Conditions of the Palestinian People..." (A/54/152-E/1999/92) causes concern... The ongoing expansion of settlements and confiscation of land could pose a real threat to a stable and definitive solution to the crisis in the land which is the Holy Land especially to believers of the three monotheistic religions.

...It is inconsistent that the international community offers great praise for the political negotiations towards a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, while on the other hand the lived negative experiences of the refugees continue unabated. It is unfair to raise exaggerated hopes through the mass media proclaiming peace as land is confiscated, settlements expand in the occupied territories, closures play havoc with employment, and checkpoints control freedom of movement. The hopes of a people who long for a lasting peace might even thus remain unfulfilled. The Holy See feels morally bound to assist those in need. The Pontifical Mission for Palestine, in collaboration with other agencies... seek to provide the aid necessary to sustain a level of decent human living for those displaced by settlement expansion and land confiscation.

A just and stable peace requires sacrifice, sacrifice from all. The Holy Land and its inhabitants have experienced too much suffering in the past five decades. The urge for peace has therefore become imperative today. That is why Pope John Paul II, in his New Year�s Address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See on 13 January 1997, made the following appeal: "All people together, Jews, Christians and Muslims, Israelis and Arabs, believers and nonbelievers, must create and reinforce peace: the peace of treaties, the peace of trust, the peace in people's hearts. In this part of the world as elsewhere, peace cannot be just nor can it long endure unless it rests on sincere dialogue between equal partners, with respect for each other's identity and history, unless it rests on the right of peoples to the free determination of their own destiny, upon their independence and security."

Earlier this month, 16 Catholic Bishops from around the world visited Gaza and condemned the "Terrible Destruction, Shocking Scandal": Israeli Settlements "Illegal Under International Law.. Simply Unjust" They added that "political leaders must defend the human dignity of the people in Gaza." Catholic Bishops Visit Gaza- slideshow

Also see: Catholic Bishops condemn "Israeli occupation" & mistreatment of Palestinians; tell Jews that "use of scripture to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable." 11/17/14

The Vatican Radio story can be found here: People dying in Gaza due to funding shortage to repair homes - Palestinians sit outside a tent near the ruins of their houses in the southern Gaza strip

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Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise,,,,, Economic Policy Journal,, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association,,, WorldNetDaily,,,,, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show,, Pasadena Weekly,, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640,, Redlands Daily Facts,, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report,,,,, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze,,, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer,, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at and DontWakeMeUp.Org.

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