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Christian Leaders Speak Against Latest Israeli-Palestinian Violence

Christian Leaders Speak Against Latest Israeli-Palestinian Violence

The Presiding Bishop today issued a statement following the latest violent clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians.

One more time we awake to the news of violence. Reports come in, even as you read this, about violence that has caused death, life-changing injury and destruction of property and lives. Violence which is borne of frustration, rooted in injustice and the violation of international law and in truth, the violation of human rights and human decency. In the Name of the God of all creation, the violence must stop, regardless of where it comes from and to whom it is directed.

One more time The Episcopal Church stands to say that violence is not the way forward.  We say the expansion of Israeli settlements at the expense of Palestinian families must end. We say incitement which encourages violence must end. We say enough is enough.

Bishop Curry’s statement follows another overnight exchange of bombs and rocket fire which has caused significant damage and killed or injured hundreds. (Some of the mainstream news coverage is available here, and here, and the BBC has an explanation of what is happening and why here.)

The chair of the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, Bishop David J. Malloy, joined the calls for an end to the violence.

The maiming and killing of one’s neighbor only serves to demonize one’s adversary and deepen passions that divide and destroy. The Holy Father reminded the world on Sunday, ‘Violence begets violence. Enough with the clashes.’

“The U.S. bishops have long called for upholding the Status Quo of the Holy Places, including the Al-Aqsa Compound, the site of much of this week’s violence. We affirm the need to adhere to international law in settling these disputes, rightly rooted in moral law, the rights of nations, and equal dignity of every people.

The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of Jerusalem also issued a statement in Arabic and in English:

We the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of Jerusalem, are profoundly disheartened and concerned about the recent violent events in East Jerusalem.   These concerning developments, whether at the Al-Aqsa Mosque or in Sheikh Jarrah, violate the sanctity of the people of Jerusalem and Jerusalem as the City of Peace. The actions undermining the safety of worshipers and the dignity of the Palestinians who are subject to eviction are unacceptable.

The special character of Jerusalem, the Holy City, with the existing Status Quo, compels all parties to preserve the already sensitive situation in the Holy City of Jerusalem. The growing tension, backed mainly by right-wing radical groups, endangers the already fragile reality in and around Jerusalem.

We call upon the International Community and all people of good will to intervene in order to put an end to these provocative actions, as well as to continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

The Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church, USA, J. Herbert Nelson, roundly condemned the violence.

We have watched with shock and dismay the violence that is once again ripping apart the Holy Land and its peoples, and we are deeply concerned about a further escalation. We send our condolences to the families of the deceased and our prayers for healing to those who have been injured.

However, being “deeply concerned” does not go far enough in understanding the root causes of this current crisis. The situation that existed in Jerusalem prior to this latest flare-up was already untenable.

… As people of faith, we must condemn violence in all its forms. Random acts of violence against one person or group over another, state-sponsored terrorism, the firing of rockets at civilian population centers and the heavy-handed aerial bombardment of civilian neighborhoods in densely populated locales are criminal and are not in keeping with God’s wish for God’s people.

 

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