Religious leaders have issued statements on the war in Gaza, calling on participants and world community to cease the violence and return to negotiations for the sake of innocent civilians, especially children and their future:
The Archbishop of Canterbury writes today:
The spiralling violence in Gaza tragically illustrates the fact that the cycle of mutual threat and retaliation have no lasting effect except to reinforce the misery and insecurity of everyone in the region. I want to express my grief and sympathy for the innocent lives lost in this latest phase of violence. People of all faiths in this country will want to join their voices to the statements of the Christian Muslim Forum and the Council of Christians and Jews in urging a return to the ceasefire and efforts to secure a lasting peace. We must unite in urging all those who have the power to halt this spiral of violence to do so.
Those raising the stakes through the continuation of indiscriminate violence seem to have forgotten nothing and learned nothing. It must surely be clear that, whilst peace will not wipe out the memory of all past wrongs, it is the only basis for the future flourishing of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. The recent statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of Church in Jerusalem reflects a clear awareness that there can be no winners if the current situation is allowed to persist. Its continuation can only condemn ordinary Palestinian and Israeli citizens to the prospect of another year of fear and suffering.
Full statement is here.
The patriarchs and heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem on December 30 issued a statement expressing deep concern and regret about the situation in Gaza and calling for Sunday, January 4, to be observed as a day for justice and peace.
Accordingly, we call upon all officials of both parties to the conflict to return to their senses and refrain from all violent acts, which only bring destruction and tragedy, and urge them instead to work to resolve their differences through peaceful and non-violent means.
We also call upon the international community to fulfill its responsibilities and intervene immediately and actively stop the bloodshed and end all forms of confrontation; to work hard and strong to put an end to the current confrontation and remove the causes of conflict between the two peoples; and to finally resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a just and comprehensive solution based on international resolutions.
The full statement here.
Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani issued a statement on December 29 in response to the recent Israeli military attacks in Gaza. Full statement is here.
The heavy loss of Palestinian lives and the serious wounds and injuries to many hundreds of innocent bystanders require the immediate cessation of hostilities for the wellbeing and safety of both the Palestinian and Israeli communities, and especially for Gaza and the nearby Israeli population centers. The gravity of the situation threatens to engulf this entire region and we ask the Palestinians and Israelis to return to active negotiations for the wellbeing and safety of both communities.
On January 1, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori received word about the situation in Gaza. According to epiScope, here are portions of the note she received:
The situation here, as you can well understand, is quite difficult and "tense" due to the very sad specter of the tragic ongoing operations - with the consequent heavy loss of life, with the many hundreds injured, maimed and wounded. Our Al Ahli Arab Hospital in the heart of Gaza City is at an overflow capacity - taking care of all those who either come individually or are being brought in for specialized treatment from the Government's Al Shifaa Hospital. Al Ahli had to release those in a "moderate care" status to meet the heavy demand in the inflow of the wounded and injured.
Thanks to U.S. Aid, the first full truckload of U.S. contributed shipments of needed medical and other humanitarian and food supplies crossed over into Gaza. More assistance will be provided by U.S. Aid when the second list of emergency needed supplies is given to them.
The loss of so many innocent lives, children, women and men has stunned all of us with its shocking realities.
In closing, we do pray that this New Year will be a far more peaceful year on this "Fragile Earth, our Island Home."
As Gaza endures violence between the forces of Hamas and those of Israel, Episcopal Life Daily bulletin inserts for January 4 feature a statement from leaders of Christian churches in the Holy Land calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Bulletin inserts are available here.
Contributions to may be made to Episcopal Relief & Development. Or checks made out to DFMS with "Gaza" in the notation line can be sent the Church Center, 815 Second Ave., NYC, NY 10017.