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European Bishops plead for ceasefire in Israel-Hamas war

Decrying the violence in the Holy Land, the leaders of the Christian Churches in Europe call on the political leaders of all parties to exercise their responsibility to ensure a ceasefire on all fronts. Meanwhile, Jordanian Heads of Churches cancel Christmas festivities in solidarity with those who are suffering.

By Linda Bordoni

In a statement on the war in the Holy Land, the leaders of the Christian Churches in Europe highlight the fact that “the destruction of life advances no freedom, no truth, no justice,” and they call on the international community to mobilise to uphold international law and promote “serious negotiations” for peace.

In the Declaration released by the Joint Committee of the Council of Bishops’ of Europe (CCEE) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) on 7 November, the signatories condemn the violence in the Middle East and “call on the political leaders of all parties to exercise their responsibility to ensure a ceasefire on all fronts.”

“We demand that terrorists are brought to justice, that all civilian lives – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – are protected, and that humanitarian corridors are opened to allow access to care and evacuation,” the statement reads.

“We demand that all civilian lives are protected and that humanitarian corridors are opened.”

The Declaration goes on to note: “The grave situation in which the people of Gaza live, restricted in their fundamental rights and forced to suffer injustices, has been going on for too long.”

“We demand the entire international community to mobilise and uphold the international law, in particular the UN resolutions, with the aim of opening serious negotiations to create a lasting peace, in truth and justice,” the statement says.

“Serious negotiations must aim to create a lasting peace, in truth and justice.”

Immense suffering on both sides

Firmly condemning the violence and cruelty of Hamas terrorists who struck Israel on 7 October, the Christian leaders express their compassion for the victims and their families.

They also acknowledge “the historical context of colonialism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia which has led to the current situation” and the immense suffering on both sides of this conflict.

“We stand in solidarity with those in Israel and in Palestine who work to promote peace and we affirm that violence cannot be a way to defend a cause,” they write.

“Violence cannot be a way to defend a cause.”

Two-state solution

Finally, inviting the faithful to pray for all who suffer, they invoke God’s mercy, “remembering that we are all members of the one common humanity,” and they uphold a two-state solution for the good of all.

“We also pray and hope that those in authority over nations engage in a genuine dialogue that will uphold the human dignity of all and make a peaceful coexistence of the two peoples in two states possible,” he said.

No Christmas festivities in Jordan

A statement by the Council of the Heads of Churches in Jordan has announced the cancellation of all Christmas celebrations and festivities this year, out of respect for the victims.

Celebrations, they note, will be restricted to prayers and church rites, and all church donations for next Sunday will be forwarded to the Gaza Strip for the benefit of its suffering people.

Encouraging believers to make donations through the official channels that some of the churches in Jordan have provided for this purpose, the religious leaders call for prayers of peace and harmony.

“We pray in all the churches of the Kingdom this Sunday for peace and harmony.”

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