Christian Organizations Demand Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza
We have joined our partner Friends of Sabeel North America in conjunction with a diverse coalition of Christian voices who long for justice and peace in the Holy Land, to release the following statement in response to the horrifying loss of innocent life in Israel and the genocidal massacre, destruction and inhumane siege on civilians in Gaza.
What sorrow awaits you who lie awake at night, thinking up evil plans. You rise at dawn and hurry to carry them out, simply because you have the power to do so. When you want a piece of land, you find a way to seize it. When you want someone’s house, you take it by fraud and violence. – Micah 2:1–2 (NLT)
As a diverse coalition of Christian voices longing for justice and peace in the Holy Land, we are horrified at the loss of innocent life in Israel and the genocidal massacre, destruction and inhumane siege on civilians in Gaza. We are likewise heartbroken and outraged by the cruelty and complicity of U.S. government officials, and the cowardice or callous indifference of many of our religious leaders and institutions.
In response, we call on our members and constituencies to demand:
- An immediate ceasefire by all parties;
- The adequate provision of humanitarian aid;
- Accountability for the perpetrators and enablers of war crimes, in accordance with international law;
- The comprehensive dismantling of the brutal and dehumanizing regime of Israeli apartheid, including its occupation and blockade, with full rights and equality for all living in the Holy Land, and the right of return for all refugees; and,
- An end to US military aid to Israel, an end to settler violence and IDF complicity in the West Bank, the release of all Palestinian and Israeli hostages, administrative detainees, and political prisoners, and full compliance with international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions.
The laws of armed conflict are clear. Neither civilians nor civilian institutions can be targeted. Yet, Palestinians in Gaza have been under the most intense and indiscriminate Israeli bombardment ever, targeting homes, markets, schools and universities, hospitals, health workers, journalists, and the entire civilian infrastructure, while cutting off all food, water, medicine and fuel. Since October 7th, Israeli forces have murdered upwards of 12,000 Palestinians in Gaza, 5000 of whom are children. Over a million and a half have been displaced, particularly as a result of “evacuation” orders, which amount to ethnic cleansing. Furthermore, prominent Israeli genocide scholar Raz Segal has described what Israel is doing in Gaza as “a textbook case of genocide.” Over 800 international scholars, including world authorities on genocide studies, as well as US and Palestinian human rights organizations and UN experts have all warned of an unfolding genocide. Israel’s genocidal war on Palestinians, supported militarily and politically by the US and major European powers, is undermining the legitimacy of international law in the eyes of many states.
We confess that we ourselves, our religious leaders, and our institutions have too often dismissed the example of Jesus when we have stood with the status quo and allied ourselves with the powers that be. Too often, we have failed to name and confront false prophets who provide ideological cover for authority and its abuses, destructive wars, and the neglect, exploitation, and sacrifice of those most vulnerable upon the altars of profit and politics. Religious devotion is being weaponized in the service of profound evil. In Palestine/Israel, there are countless ways in which religious ideologies and institutions have been employed in the service of violent dispossession and oppression, working to provide theological justification, financial capital, and political cover for decades of land confiscation, ethnic cleansing, settlement activity, and apartheid. And now, genocide itself.
Hearing the voice of the biblical prophets, however, and recognizing how often Jesus draws from them in his life and ministry, must dispel any notion that God stands with the status quo or alongside the agents of imperial violence. As followers of Jesus, along with those who seek to stand in the tradition of the biblical prophets, we are morally bound to raise our voices and stand against the perpetrators of grave injustice—particularly genocide, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid—and their ideological enablers. As people of faith, we must expose, condemn, and confront injustice and deconstruct death-dealing theologies and ideologies wherever they are found.
We acknowledge the reality that Zionism emerged within a context of abhorrent, deplorable anti-Jewish discrimination and violence, and we lament that Palestinians have been unjustly paying the price for centuries of western bigotry.
The eyes of history are upon us. We therefore: confess our complicity; raise our collective voice in protest; renounce the complicity and cowardice of our leaders and institutions along with the ideological justifications constructed in defense of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid; and call for an accountability for war crimes undertaken now in Gaza and throughout historic Palestine.
Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people of the land who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Have mercy. Likewise, help us to eliminate our cruelty to these, our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this world; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
—adapted from The Book of Common Prayer
You can read, sign and endorse this statement here: Christian Organizations Demand Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza — Friends of Sabeel North America (fosna.org)