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

Ecumenical body appeals for prayers for Gaza churches

The head of the World Council of Churches (WCC) has appealed to its members around the world to demonstrate their solidarity with churches in Gaza through prayers and advocacy.

The head of the World Council of Churches (WCC) has appealed to its members around the world to demonstrate their solidarity with churches in Gaza through prayers and advocacy.

Trouble flared up in the region again on Wednesday when tens of thousands of Palestinians poured into Egypt from the Gaza Strip after a border wall was blown up by militants. From there, the crowds scrambled to Egyptian shops where they stocked up on food, fuel and other basic items in short supply as a result of an Israeli blockade.

In a letter issued on Wednesday, the General Secretary of the WCC, the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia, urged the ecumenical body’s 347 member churches worldwide to pray for an end to the suffering in Gaza, which has come under increasing scrutiny in the international media.

Dr Kobia also pressed WCC member churches to speak up on behalf of people in Gaza to their national governments.

"Address your parishes, the public, your governments and the embassies, calling for an end to the siege, an end to their collective punishments and a negotiated ceasefire,” wrote Dr Kobia.

He suggested that WCC members demonstrate their solidarity with churches in Palestine by writing to them with messages of comfort or by supporting local churches and church-related agencies like Action by Churches Together that are working on the ground to care for the most vulnerable.

WCC member church heads in Jerusalem and the Holy Land issued a statement on Tuesday in which they called on the international community and the state of Israel to end the blockade, which has left hundreds of thousands without electricity and hampered the delivery of medicine, fuel, food and other vital goods into Gaza.

“This is illegal collective punishment, an immoral act in violation of the basic human and natural laws as well as International Law,” read the statement. “It cannot be tolerated anymore. The siege over Gaza should end now.”

The church leaders appealed to the Palestinian leadership to “overcome their differences for the sake of their people in Gaza”.

“Put the differences aside and deal with this crisis for the good of all human beings demonstrating that you care for your brothers and sisters who have suffered enough already,” they wrote.

“We would say to all concerned parties; while ever you persist in firing rockets into Israel you encourage public opinion outside this land to feel there is a justification for this siege.”

They urged Israel, meanwhile, to “act responsibly” and “immediately end this inhuman siege”.

“This siege will not guarantee the end to rocket firing, but will only increase the bitterness and suffering and invite more revenge, while the innocents keep dying,” they said. “True peace building is the only way to bring the desired security.

“We pray for the day when the people of Gaza will be free from occupation, from political differences, from violence and from despair.

“We pray for the Israelis and Palestinians to respect human life and God’s love for every human life, and to take all possible measures to end this suffering.

“Only bold steps towards just peace and ending the violence will protect the human life and dignity of both people.”

2008-01-24T00:00:00+00:00 January 24th, 2008|Categories: News|