“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

I have come to give them life, and life abundantly

As a church, we believe that all human life is sacred. We believe that God’s intent for humanity is revealed in the words of Jesus: “I have come to give them life, and life abundantly.”

As a church, we believe that all human life is sacred.  We believe that God’s intent for humanity is revealed in the words of Jesus:  “I have come to give them life, and life abundantly.”

Accordingly, we are appalled and outraged by the indiscriminate disregard for human life exhibited by the Israeli Army in the past week in Beit Hanoun, especially the violent bombardment killing a whole family, young and old, men, women and children, as they slept in their beds.  Yet this incident is only part of a week-long military campaign that killed 80 Palestinians and kept a city of 30,000 under siege and in terror.  In fact, this month is just part of the recent bloodletting of almost 500 Palestinian lives in 5 months, and a siege on Gaza that included the deliberate destruction of its only power plant.  This blatant disregard for innocent human life and extensive destruction of property constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention as stated in Article 147. Also, the Israeli Army has failed to fulfill its obligation to respect the special protection awarded to medical personnel and places of worship, as respectively provided in Article 15(1) of the First Additional Protocol of 1977 and Article 56 of The Hague Regulations, both reflective of customary international law.

In light of all that has occurred, we call on Israelis to immediately stop all military actions.  These attacks only create more hatred, desire for revenge and growth in extremism.

We Palestinians are losing hope that anyone, including the so-called Quartet, remembers the Road Map or sees the abhorrent conditions here, especially in Gaza.  We call on the Quartet to assume its responsibility, immediately intervene to stop the bloodshed and begin to implement the Road Map.  We need an international force of observers here to supervise and uphold a ceasefire and to hold both sides accountable, and we need it now.  Having been under siege for 5 months, with borders hardly open at all and no income, we as a church are worried that Gaza is at a breaking point. We are under a military occupation and yet dependent on the occupying power for protection and support.   The Quartet, the UN and signers to the Geneva Convention have a duty to insure humane treatment and justice.

The only way out of this stalemate is through dialogue with Israel and the PA.  When one bans dialogue and negotiations, it brings desperation, and desperation has no limits.  Dialogue and negotiations are the only alternative to violence.  Only when all people are treated as human beings with equal worth and dignity will we begin to make progress. First, dialogue should concern an immediate ceasefire, then a prisoner exchange to build confidence.  Then the final outcome must be based on a two-state solution along the 67 borders, political solutions to the refugee problems and the illegal settlements and a shared Jerusalem between Israelis, Palestinians, Muslims, Christians and Jews.

Revenge and counter-revenge will not bring justice and peace.  It will only add to the bitterness of the vicious cycle.  The time has come for the international community to step in and bring hope in a hopeless situation and dare to take courageous and prophetic actions for the sake of justice and humanity, and to allow our children and future generations to enjoy the blessings of this Holy Land.

As we soon enter the Advent season, I ask our Christian sisters and brothers, and all people of good conscience and faiths, to be with us in prayer and fasting.  Many are losing hope, and the relentless killing and calls for retaliation make us afraid that we are on the brink of an even bloodier season.   Please, be our voices in your countries to call for an end to the violence and the beginning of dialogue.  Thank you for your prayers and support, and may God bless us and bring healing peace to our land.

2016-10-24T07:29:07+00:00 November 9th, 2006|Categories: News|