Last Updated on 31 October 2023 by Ann-Marie Nye
Christian Aid and more than 20 church leaders and Christian organisations are calling for a ceasefire and all governments with influence to bring an immediate end to the violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
The Revd Dr Tessa Henry-Robinson Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly and the Revd Lindsey Sanderson, Moderator-Elect of the National Synod of Scotland, have joined the call.
In the statement, released on 27 October, the faith leaders and Christian organisations unequivocally condemned the violence carried out by Hamas in Israel on 7 October, and expressed grave concern at the mounting death toll across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. A demand for the release of all kidnapped victims has also been made.
The latest United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) update, dated 26 October, reports 7,028 Palestinians have been killed and 18,482 injured in Gaza. Following the weapon strike on the Al Ahli Anglican Episcopal hospital last week, Christian Aid has been calling on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to carry out an independent investigation into all war crimes to ensure accountability.
One of Christian Aid’s medical partners in Gaza explained: “Now we are worried about what will happen to other hospitals that have also been told to evacuate. Especially Al Shifa hospital, which takes half of the injured in Gaza.”
They added: “We are worried that hospitals will stop operating because of a shortage of fuel. We don’t know if hospitals have the fuel to keep going for days or hours.”
As the humanitarians warn that fuel is all but run out in Gaza, the same partner goes on to urge the international community to “pressure Israel to allow water, fuel and medication to enter Gaza and to allow medical teams to enter and to keep them protected so they can treat injured people”.
Christian Aid’s Head of Middle East Policy and Advocacy, William Bell, said: “Our established partners in Gaza continue to respond as best they can, but to respond at scale we need unfettered humanitarian access with water and electricity reconnected. Only a full ceasefire will deliver aid safely and effectively.”
Read the statement in full below:
Christian Aid, the undersigned church leaders and Christian organisations are gravely concerned by the mounting death toll across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. There can be no justification for the deliberate killing, maiming and kidnapping of civilians, which is a crime under international law and for which the perpetrators should be held accountable. We unequivocally condemn the violence carried out by Hamas in Israel on 7 October.
The subsequent Israeli military response in Gaza has added enormously to the toll of civilian suffering. Innocent Palestinians are going through an increasingly grave humanitarian crisis as a result the Israeli government’s strategy of relentless bombardment, which has left no place safe, and of siege, which effectively strangles life. The death toll in Gaza is over 7,000 and, with no end in sight, will no doubt dramatically rise.
We call on all governments with influence to help bring about an immediate end to the violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Specifically, we call for the following steps to be taken:
- Protection of civilians and an end to all violence, with adoption of a ceasefire without conditions.
- The unconditional and immediate release of all hostages.
- Unfettered and immediate humanitarian access, as urged by the UN, including immediate reconnection to water and electricity.
- Unequivocal support for the ICC to conduct a truly independent investigation into all war crimes to ensure accountability.
- Acknowledgement of the failure of the international community to effectively engage with any meaningful peace process, and a commitment to work ceaselessly from now on to address the root causes of the violence which must include an end to the occupation.
Image: Mohammed Ibrahim/Unsplash.