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Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Land Must End, Say U.S. Churches
It is time for the U.S. to condemn Israeli bombardment of civilian centers and the blockade just as strongly as it has condemned indiscriminate rockets from Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups
It is time for the U.S. to condemn Israeli bombardment of civilian centers and the blockade just as strongly as it has condemned indiscriminate rockets from Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups into Israel, say member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in the United Sates, in a letter to President Barack Obama.
The letter issued by the churches on 22 July stressed that the latest escalation of conflict cannot be divorced from the broader context of Gaza occupation.
“To achieve a lasting peace, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, including the siege of Gaza, must end. The U.S. must, therefore, make ending the occupation and lifting the Gaza siege priorities for our foreign policy in the region,” reads the letter.
This letter from the U.S. churches joins other Christian voices calling for an immediate end to the violence in Gaza. “As the situation continues to deteriorate, and horrendous death and destruction mount in Gaza, we are called by conscience to say, ‘Enough’,” leaders of the churches state.
They went on to say that military aid to Israel creates a heavy moral obligation for the U.S. to ensure that this aid is not used in violation of U.S. law and human rights. Affirming that the Palestine and Israel conflict can be resolved with an ending of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, churches urged the U.S. government to help “stop the current violence and use U.S. influence and diplomatic weight to push for a just peace that will benefit all of the people of the region”.
The signatories of the letter included WCC member churches; the Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, the Office of Social Justice of the Christian Reformed Church, the United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries and the United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society, the American Friends Service Committee, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, as well as the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, the Mennonite Central Committee U.S., Pax Christi International and Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Extended Justice Team.
In another letter addressed to the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed concern over the situation in Gaza. The letter reiterated a plea from Pope Francis who spoke about the cycle of violence in the Holy Land and asked the political leaders “not to spare prayer or any effort to end every hostility and seek the desired peace for the good of all.”
Read full text of the U.S. churches’ letter to President Barack Obama
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