Christian World Service is alarmed at the harm being done by the escalating violence to civilians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian territory.
CWS supports the call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to all forms of violence. Our prayers are for all those people who have lost loved ones, are injured or are traumatised in Israel and Palestine. We join churches and people in renewing our commitment to pray for a just peace.
“The suffering of civilians, especially children and older people is of great concern to us. Over half of the population are under 18 years old. It is not right that children grow up with such trauma,” says Trish Murray International Programmes Coordinator who was in Gaza three weeks ago.
The failure of the peace process and the lack of commitment to genuine negotiations are fuelling a climate of hatred and fear. Palestinians and Israelis have a right to security but these rights are intertwined.
This latest round of attacks is a reminder of the suffering caused by the failure of Israeli and Palestinian leaders to forge a path towards meaningful peace.
“When I visited Gaza, I could see signs of hope amidst the desperate poverty. There were new buildings since my last visit four years ago and young people eager to learn a trade. Reading reports of what is happening I worry about the people I met.” says Trish Murray.
“We are in need of a genuine political process that would bring to an end Israeli occupation,” says Dr Bernard Sabella, executive director of CWS partner the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR), writing from its central office in East Jerusalem.
DSPR runs three mother and baby health clinics in Gaza providing vital health services to over 20,000 patients last year. The Shaja’ih clinic had to be relocated and reequipped after it was bombed in 2009.
DSPR was established in 1948 to work with the refugees. It runs vocational training programmes for young people, summer camps for the children, and provides emergency cash grants for families in need.
Donations to the Palestine Appeal for emergency relief can be made here or sent to PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140 or by calling 0800 74 73 72.
Note: CWS is a member of ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together), a global coalition of more than 140 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development in more than 140 countries.
Photo: DSPR Young girls in Gaza participate in a DSPR programme to help them deal with trauma – before the outbreak of violence July 2014.
11 July 2014