The ACT Alliance Palestine Forum has issued a second statement on the situation in Gaza
The ACT Palestine Forum is appalled, and grief-stricken by the unacceptable attacks being committed against unarmed civilians.
We condemn all violations of international law committed by both sides of the conflict and we deplore the attack that targeted innocent Palestinian civilians seeking refuge in the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza on October 17th. An attack on a hospital is a grave and unacceptable violation of International Humanitarian Law and must not be tolerated by the international community. Initial reports by the Palestinian Ministry of Health spoke of more than 500 casualties, including patients, medical personnel, and individuals seeking shelter at the hospital. It is even more heartbreaking that a significant number of the casualties were women and children.
The ACT Palestine Forum expresses deep concern for the loss of innocent lives and the extensive destruction of vital civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, mosques, churches, and private homes. We call on all governments to promptly demand and implement a humanitarian ceasefire and put an end to the conflict in Gaza.
Any attack on civilians is not justified under any circumstance, we also demand accountability. The protection of civilians and the adherence to international humanitarian law (IHL) must be upheld in any conflict. Those who are currently targeting civilians must be held accountable.
The current escalation of violence is intolerable and shows no concern or respect for human life. Thousands of women and men, girls and boys, have been killed on both sides of this conflict so far, and many more have been injured. In Palestine, those injured cannot access proper care, they lack medicines, water, and food. The blocking of humanitarian aid must be revoked, and civilians must be assisted.
The ACT Palestine Forum appeals to the global community to commit to addressing the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while upholding the principles of international humanitarian law and human rights. The ACT Palestine Forums’ mission is to bring an end to the Israeli military occupation, alleviate human suffering, and emphasize the urgent need for an immediate and peaceful resolution to this conflict.
The ACT Palestine Forum urges all members of the ACT Alliance to stand in solidarity with us and join in the call for a three-day period of mourning. The situation is deeply distressing; a mourning period would allow us to honor the victims and express our empathy and concern for those affected. During these challenging times, we must come together to remember and pay our respects to the victims of these attacks and their families. We continue to pray for justice and peace.
October 19, 2023
The ACT Alliance Palestine Forum has issued the following statement regarding the escalating violence on the Gaza Strip. The statement can be downloaded here.
We at the ACT Alliance Palestine Forum feel deeply concerned and distressed after a day full of escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and its surrounding area. The resulting potential for major escalation throughout all of Palestine and Israel is extremely likely. The ACT Alliance Palestine Forum extends its heartfelt empathy and concern to all affected innocent civilians and their families, and we lift them up in prayer during these challenging and uncertain times.
The current situation demands our critical attention. As a local forum deeply committed to promoting the rights and well-being of the Palestinian people, we recognize the urgent need to respond efficiently and effectively to the crisis in Gaza. We have been in close coordination and communication with ACT Alliance Secretariat and with our dedicated colleagues on the ground in Gaza to assess the immediate needs and ensure that our response is timely and impactful.
Assessing the immediate needs on the ground is an exceptional challenge due to the current situation. We are currently collecting data that will inform our plans as a forum and as ACT Alliance to provide critical needed assistance to those affected by the war.
Our response efforts will encompass a wide array of vital humanitarian interventions including delivering crucial psychological support to individuals wrestling with the emotional aftermath of the warfare.
We wish to emphasize the protracted nature of the Gaza Strip’s enduring blockade, which has persisted since 2007, resulting in countless violations upon the basic rights of its population. In response to these distressing circumstances, we not only demand an immediate cessation of this blockade but also strongly advocate for the establishment of a fair and enduring peace that will secure the restoration of these essential rights to all people.
Furthermore, as members of the ACT Alliance Palestine Forum, we are in strong agreement in denouncing the violation of sacred sites, especially Al Aqsa Mosque and ongoing harassment faced by Christian sites and pilgrims. We acknowledge the significance of safeguarding and upholding the sanctity of these locations. Additionally, we sincerely appeal to the international community to stand with us in our endeavors to address the root causes of the conflict and uphold the principles of international humanitarian law.
As members of the ACT Alliance Palestine Forum, we strongly call for an immediate and peaceful resolution to this conflict. Our unconditional commitment is to ensure the well-being and fundamental rights of all individuals involved.
October 9, 2023
Statements from the World Council of Churches
Porphyrios Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is condemning an attack on one of the buildings within the compound of the St Porphyrios Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza. The building—affiliated with the church, which is one the oldest churches in Gaza—has collapsed in the explosion, caused by Israeli missile strikes, according to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.
October 20, 2023
WCC calls for urgent humanitarian response in Gaza and UN-Led criminal investigation
The World Council of Churches (WCC), in consultation with heads of churches and representatives of Palestinian Christian organizations within the Jerusalem Liaison Office Advisory Group, is making an urgent call for an international investigation led by the United Nations into the numerous war crimes committed against civilians during the ongoing conflict.
October 19, 2023
WCC outraged at news of attack on hospital in Gaza, calls for justice and human dignity
The World Council of Churches (WCC) expressed both outrage and shock at the news of an Israeli airstrike on the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza. “Thousands of Palestinians who had lost their homes already were taking refuge at the hospital, run by the Anglican Church,” said WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay. “The attack amounts to collective punishment, which is a war crime under International Law.”
October 17, 2023
WCC calls for immediate ceasefire, urgent humanitarian aid for Gaza
“The World Council of Churches (WCC) appeals once again urgently for an immediate cessation of this deadly violence, and for Hamas to cease their attacks. We urgently ask both parties for de-escalation of the situation,” said WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay. “We are deeply concerned about the conflict between Israel and Palestinian armed groups, and of the inevitably tragic consequences for the people of the region – Israelis and Palestinians alike – following a period of escalating tensions and violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem.”
October 15, 2023
World Council of Churches urgently appeals for an immediate ceasefire
“The World Council of Churches appeals urgently for an immediate cessation of this deadly violence, for Hamas to cease their attacks and ask both parties for de-escalation of the situation,” said WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay. “We are deeply concerned about the imminent risks of spiraling conflict between Israel and Palestinian armed groups, and of the inevitably tragic consequences for the people of the region – Israelis and Palestinians alike – following a period of escalating tensions and violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem.”
Pillay added: “The current attacks threaten only more violence; they cannot provide a path to peace or to justice.
“We urge all WCC member churches to join today in praying for just peace in the land of Christ’s birth, and in solidarity with all the people affected and threatened by violence,” he concluded.
October 7, 2023
Images: WCC/Albin Hillert and CWS/Trish Murray