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Archbishop Justin urges parishes to pray and act as violence escalates in Gaza

Date: 01 August 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on leaders in Israel and Gaza to immediately end the violence and is urging Anglican churches to pray and offer support to victims of the conflict.

Following a recent update from staff at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, the Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken publicly of his concern for the deteriorating situation in Gaza.

He said: “You can't look at the pictures coming from Gaza and Israel without your heart breaking. We must cry to God and beat down the doors of heaven and pray for peace and justice and security.

"Only a costly and open-hearted seeking of peace between Israelis and Palestinians can protect innocent people, their children and grand children, from ever worse violence.

“My utmost admiration is for all those involved in the humanitarian efforts on the ground, not least the medical team and staff at Al Ahli Arab Hospital. Providing relief and shelter for those displaced is a tangible expression of our care and concern, and I encourage Church of England parishes and dioceses, as well as the wider Communion, to pray for them and support the Diocese of Jerusalem's emergency appeal.

“While humanitarian relief for those civilians most affected is a priority, especially women and children, we must also recognise that this conflict underlines the importance of renewing a commitment to political dialogue in the wider search for peace and security for both Israeli and Palestinian. The destructive cycle of violence has caused untold suffering and threatens the security of all.

“For all sides to persist with their current strategy, be it threatening security by the indiscriminate firing of rockets at civilian areas or aerial bombing which increasingly fails to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, is self-defeating.

"The bombing of civilian areas, and their use to shelter rocket launches, are both breaches of age old customs for the conduct of war. Further political impasse, acts of terror, economic blockades or sanctions and clashes over land and settlements, all increase the alienation of those affected.

"Populations condemned to hopelessness or living under fear will be violent. Such actions create more conflict, more deaths and will in the end lead to an even greater disaster than the one being faced today. The road to reconciliation is hard, but ultimately the only route to security. It is the responsibility of all leaders to protect the innocent, not only in the conduct of war but in setting the circumstances for a just and sustainable peace."

To find out more about the Diocese of Jerusalem's appeal click here.

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Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

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