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“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another; do not be arrogant, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

Romans 12:15-18 (NRSVUE)


Washington, D.C., April 5, 2024—The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) condemns the tragic killing of seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) humanitarian aid workers on a food-delivery assignment in Gaza on Monday, April 1. While NCC recognizes that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has taken responsibility for the loss of the seven aid workers, acknowledging the tragic mistake that was made and taking action to discipline the soldiers involved, an apology does not reduce the degree of sorrow and suffering caused nor does it exempt the inhumane conditions experienced by those in Gaza. 

The news of these deaths has reverberated around the world and points to the escalating concerns surrounding the humanitarian crisis in the Israel-Hamas War that has claimed the lives of almost 200 aid workers since the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, 2023, not to mention the more than 33,000 Palestinian civilians who have lost their lives. The Oct. 7 attack itself claimed 1,200 Israeli lives.

“How many more families must suffer? How many more lives must be lost before we study war no more and choose the path of peace? Must benevolence and sacrifice continuously be met with violence? We say no, it should not, and we reiterate our call for unrestricted humanitarian aid to be allowed in Gaza,” said Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, NCC President and General Secretary. 

This incident amplifies the necessity for this violence to end and for decision-makers to be held accountable to protect innocent civilians and aid workers. Violence leads to more violence and the alarming food insecurity and risk of famine being experienced in the region should make us more determined to end this war even as we demand humanitarian aid be allowed in Gaza unhindered. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, 1.1 million people in Gaza are at imminent risk of famine, with food insecurity rated as “catastrophic.” At this level, households experience an extreme lack of food, starvation, and exhaustion of coping capacities.  

“NCC mourns with those who mourn on both sides, while remaining adamant in calling for a permanent and immediate ceasefire and for the hostages to be freed. No more delay,” stated Bishop McKenzie.