Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Sunday, 26 November 2023
Holy Land: US, Irish Churches welcome cessation of armed conflict in Gaza :

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) welcomed the recent announcement of the agreement between Prime Minister Netanyahu's government in Israel and Hamas concerning the release of 50 hostages and a parallel prisoner exchange, in addition to the desperately needed few days of cessation of violence.



The y state: "This is a critical step in helping to stop further suffering, but much more must be done. We celebrate the return home of released hostages and the expected release of prisoners to their families and continue to call for the freeing of all hostages. The hostages and prisoners are said to all be women and children. Children should never pay the price of war.


"A temporary cessation of violence is necessary in the moment, but remains not enough. CMEP continues to condemn all violence against civilians and abhors the number of mass casualties being reported as a result of the bombing campaigns on Gaza.



"The latest statistics of deaths from Gaza reported by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on November 22 reported that more than 14,500 Palestinians have been killed, including 6,000 Palestinian children and 4,000 women.



These numbers are appalling. Each number is a human being. The killing must be stopped! To prevent the further loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives, diplomatic efforts must be redoubled to bring to fruition a durable end to hostilities.



The civilian population in Gaza continues to suffer from a desperate need for basic life-saving supplies such as water, food, fuel, and medical aid, in addition to the effects of a 16-year blockade that intensified in the last several weeks.



Resuming bombing after a few days of a pause in violence will only cause greater trauma, displacement, and death for the people of Gaza.


In addition to endangering the lives of remaining hostages, the continued bombing of Gaza will not lead to security and human rights for all in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. A permanent ceasefire is critically needed at this moment.



We call on Congress and the Biden Administration to commit to using the full force of US diplomatic power to work with all parties to do so. A long-lasting bilateral ceasefire must also be followed by concrete actions from the United States government to address the core issues underlying the current violence. These include the Israeli military occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza, the blockade of Gaza, and an acknowledgment of the rights of Palestinian refugees. A failure to do so in a meaningful way will only lead to more suffering and violence. Without addressing the core issues, a durable and lasting just peace will remain elusive, and the cycles of war and violence will continue.



Irish Church leaders welcome cessation of armed conflict in Gaza



On the other hand, members of the Church Leaders' Group in Ireland warmly welcomed the cessation of armed conflict in Gaza and Israel, notwithstanding its temporary nature.

Deeply mindful of the immense pain and hurt being experienced by so many on all sides, they prayed for all impacted by the terrible war and violence in the region. The Church Leaders called on everyone who has influence to work earnestly for a lasting peace, for the release of all hostages, and to enable essential humanitarian aid to reach all those who are in such desperate need of help.

Present at the meeting were: Archbishop Eamon Martin, Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland; Archbishop John McDowell, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland; Rev David Turtle, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland; Rev Trevor Gribben, General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland; Dr Damian Jackson, General Secretary of the Irish Council of Churches; Rev Dr Heather Morris, General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Ireland; Monsignor Joe McGuinness, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference; and, Very Rev Shane Forster, Church of Ireland Dean of Armagh.