The World Council of Churches is following developments in Israel and Palestine with mounting alarm and profound grief at the rising toll of people killed and injured in the escalating violence. We appeal urgently to all parties to step back from the brink of even more deadly and destructive conflict.
We lament every one of the precious lives already lost, Palestinians and Israelis, in Gaza, in Ashkelon, near Lod, and elsewhere. We share in the grief of the families and communities whose dear ones have been ripped away. Among those with whom we commiserate, we lift up before God one of the employees of our partner organization DanChurchAid and Norwegian Church Aid in Gaza, who lost five young members of her family – a son, a daughter, a grandson and two nephews, with three other sons seriously injured and in critical condition..
Dear God, move the hearts of all those with the means of such violence in their hands, to think of the many others who will die, be maimed, or suffer terrible bereavement like our colleague in Gaza if this cycle of violence continues and escalates. Putting down their arms, may they work to address the injustices and mutual antagonisms that sustain the recurrent cycles of violence from which the people of the region have suffered so grievously for so long.
We abhor the violence affecting places of worship, the incursions into the al-Aqsa mosque, and the attacks against synagogues in Lod. We pray that the holy places of Jerusalem and the region will not be further desecrated by violence and violations, but instead become centres of inspiration for peace.
God of life, inspire all the people of the Holy Land to pursue the peace and justice that is your will, that they may live together not in enmity but as reconciled sisters and brothers.
Geneva, 12 May 2021
Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca
Acting General Secretary
World Council of Churches