The WCC expresses its solidarity with its member churches in the Holy Land, and will continue to accompany them in their work for justice, reconciliation, and just peace.
The “nakba”, the catastrophe Palestinian families experienced 75 years ago, continues to cause unresolved dispossession and suffering for many Palestinians—particularly for the people of Gaza. That unarmed civilians – including children – are shot at with live ammunition, even killed, and many injured – cannot be defended legally or morally as an expression of “the right to self-defense of a state.”
The World Council of Churches has consistently affirmed the long-held understanding that the status of the city of Jerusalem—which is of profound significance to and beloved of three faiths and two peoples—must be resolved through peaceful negotiations. Jerusalem is a shared Holy City of the three religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
We urge the international community to accelerate all efforts toward a just and viable solution which respects the aspirations of all the people living in the Holy Land in line with international conventions and resolutions. Even as the threat of an increasing spiral of violence looms large, we join our member churches in hope and prayer that efforts toward peace will overcome the present tragic violence.
The WCC stands in solidarity with a statement from the Council of Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem which reiterates the churches’ call to strive for a just and lasting peace for in the Holy Land.
The statement urges everyone to work together to build a better and more humane future for all. “We remind everyone that peace can only be achieved when there is fairness and respect for human rights and international law,” the statement reads. “We believe that justice and peace are the keys to stability and prosperity in the region, and we declare our readiness to work with all concerned parties to achieve these noble goals.”
Palestine and Israel
At the outset of human history, the Tower of Babel was a symbol of the confusion of languages and minds. On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit enabled the believers of Jesus who were gathered in Jerusalem, to overcome the language differences and to understand one another. We ask God to send your Spirit upon us and renew the Pentecost experience among us. We pray that all men and women should begin to understand their brothers and sisters in love and justice. We ask that each and every one of us be inspired by love, not hatred, by peace, not oppression or injustice.
Lord, on this day, in this land, you sent your Spirit to renew the face of the earth and reconcile all people with you with their brothers and sisters. Today in this Holy Land we are in need of reconciliation. Send your Spirit upon us to renew us, to bring us reconciliation, peace and justice.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay,
World Council of Churches