WCC laments “precious lives lost,” abhors violence affecting places of worship in Holy Land
World Council of Churches (WCC) acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca expressed mounting concern and profound grief at the rising toll of people killed and injured in the escalating violence in Israel and Palestine.
“We appeal urgently to all parties to step back from the brink of even more deadly and destructive conflict,” Sauca said. “We lament every one of the precious lives already lost, Palestinians and Israelis, in Gaza, in Ashkelon, near Lod, and elsewhere.”
The WCC shares in the grief of the families and communities whose dear ones have been ripped away, Sauca said.
“Among those with whom we commiserate, we lift up before God one of the employees of our partner organization DanChurchAid and Norwegian Church Aid in Gaza, who lost five young members of her family – a son, a daughter, a grandson and two nephews, with three other sons seriously injured and in critical condition,” he said. “Dear God, move the hearts of all those with the means of such violence in their hands, to think of the many others who will die, be maimed, or suffer terrible bereavement like our colleague in Gaza if this cycle of violence continues and escalates.”
Sauca urged people to put down their arms, and work to address the injustices and mutual antagonisms that sustain the recurrent cycles of violence.
“We abhor the violence affecting places of worship, the incursions into the al-Aqsa mosque, and the attacks against synagogues in Lod,” he said. “We pray that the holy places of Jerusalem and the region will not be further desecrated by violence and violations, but instead become centres of inspiration for peace.”
Read the full statement of the WCC acting general secretary on Israel and Palestine
Patriarchs and Heads of Jerusalem Churches express concern for Al-Aqsa Mosque worshippers and Sheikh Jarrah families (WCC press release 11 May 2021)
WCC calls for end to violence, urges respect of status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem (WCC press release 08 May 2021)