The World Council of Churches (WCC)has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip. WCC general secretary Rev Dr Olav Tveit issued a statement late last month in which he expressed deep sadness and grave concern at the continued escalation of military operations in Gaza.
“As well as the Israeli strikes against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, the Council condemns the indiscriminate firing of rockets against Israeli civilian targets by Hamas and the positioning of rocket launchers in close proximity to civilian populations.”
The statement appeals to all parties involved in the deadly dispute to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.
“This latest resort to armed conflict – and the consequent intolerable suffering inflicted on families and communities – can do nothing to promote a just and sustainable peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” Dr Tveit said.
“On the contrary, it serves only to perpetuate the deadly cycle of violence, stoking the fires of mutual demonization and division, and further diminishing the vision of two peoples living side-by-side in peaceful co-existence.”
Calling for the restoration of compassion, Dr Tveit asked Israelis and Palestinians to commit to creating a peaceful environment for future generations. This could be achieved through the resumption of talks to establish a two-state solution with internationally recognised borders.
“The peoples of Palestine and Israel deserve to live in peace,” he said.
The Uniting Church in Australia is a member of the WCC.