‘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.'
Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) has joined Christian calls for an end to violence in Israel and Palestine.
The joint statement, with other churches including the Methodists and the United Reformed Church, calls on all governments with influence to help bring an immediate end to the violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
Convened by Christian Aid, the statement outlines how this could be achieved, including a ceasefire without conditions, and the release of all kidnapped victims. Signatories include Mike Royal, general secretary of Churches Together in England, and Christine Allen, director of CAFOD. Drawing on their experience of working in the region, the signatories call on governments to offer ‘unequivocal support for the International Criminal Court to conduct a truly independent investigation into all war crimes to ensure accountability’.
They also call for unfettered humanitarian access for aid, as urged by the UN, including immediate reconnection to water and electricity.
Governments should ‘acknowledge the failure of the international community to effectively engage with any meaningful peace process and commit to work ceaselessly from now on to address the root causes of the violence which must include an end to the occupation,’ they add.
The statement says: ‘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.’
It adds: ‘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.’
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