National Council of Churches opposes Israeli invasion of Gaza
Washington, July 18, 2014 – The President and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA expressed deep disappointment and sadness Friday over the invasion of Gaza by Israeli Defense Forces.
The Israeli government said it is “hitting Hamas hard” following the Palestinian faction’s refusal to accept a peace plan brokered by Egypt.
NCC President and General Secretary Jim Winkler said, “The overwhelming military superiority possessed by Israel, exhibited by days of air strikes against Gaza and the consequent deaths of hundreds of Palestinians and the wounding of thousands more, guarantees the besieged and impoverished people who live there will suffer much more.”
Nearly 300 persons have been killed in Gaza during recent hostilities between Israel and Hamas, and 1800 persons have been injured.
“The deaths of 18 members of one Palestinian family, and of four little boys playing on the beach, as a result of Israeli attacks are just a few of the heartbreaking results of the conflict,” Winkler said.
“Just as we express opposition to Israel’s invasion, so too do we oppose the firing of thousands of rockets from Gaza into Israel,” Winkler said. “We grieve at the news of the death of an Israeli as a result of a rocket attack.”
“One thing is certain,” Winkler said. “Israel’s invasion of Gaza will not bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine nor will rocket fire from Gaza bring peace. The long cycle of violence must be broken. It appears neither side possesses the courage, faith, or imagination necessary to alter the dynamics of the situation in a positive direction. Too many Palestinians and Israelis are held captive by the self-defeating notion that violence must be met by violence to bring about a secure future. I will continue to pray that God’s word is heeded in the land we consider holy, and that God’s peace will ultimately prevail.”
The current round of fighting between Hamas and Israel was triggered by the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, allegedly by Palestinians, and the kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian youth, allegedly by Israelis.
The National Council of Churches supports a viable two-state solution, which takes into account the right to self-determination of, and security for, both Israelis and Palestinians; an end to Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian land, and resolution of issues such as refugees, the Separation Barrier, checkpoints settlements, water resources, and the status of a shared Jerusalem.
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
NCC News contact: Philip E. Jenks, 646-853-4212 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org