A flock of birds flies over Jerusalem.

The World Council of Churches (WCC), in the aftermath of brutal violence where thousands of innocent civilians lost their lives, is calling for a new approach to resolve the conflict in the Holy Land. “The horrific situation today in Israeli and Palestine, leaving so many dead, thousands injured, many families either displaced or living in shelters, and hundreds held in captivity and prisons is exactly what we all feared would happen,” said WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay. “It is now thirty years since the Oslo agreement was signed. In the meantime, the number of settlements has grown to at least 250 with 800,000 people.”

Instead of peace, Pillay said, we witness more violence, displacement, and war.

“The international community must acknowledge the need for a new approach with an end goal of just coexistence,” Pillay urged. “The peace process has failed both peoples, Palestinians and Israelis alike.”

He called for a fresh approach. 

"History has taught us that exploitative agreements that create a semblance of peace do not stand the test of time and lead to bloodshed the type we are witnessing right now,” he said. “The Jerusalem Heads of Churches, during the last one year or so, have issued no less than 12 statements calling for an approach based on justice and cautioning that tampering with the religious and historical status quo especially in Jerusalem would lead to violence.”

“Our call is the establishment of clarity regarding a future built on justice instead of military power, where International Law is applied consistently without partiality,” he added. “We must reimagine sustainable peace for the region, peace that can withstand the test of time,” he said. “At the core of such peace is equality and justice. We hope and pray that our call will be heeded; and that Palestinians, Israelis, and the entire Middle East find a new path to peace."

Statement: WCC calls for a new approach to the conflict in Palestine and Israel (13 October 2023)

Church leaders in Holy Land call for de-escalation, respect for human rights (9 October 2023)

WCC urgently appeals for immediate ceasefire in Israel and Palestine (7 October 2023)