Appeals for peace after Hamas attack on Israel

(Photo: Unsplash/Jeff Kingma)

Church leaders have been calling for an immediate cessation of violence after Hamas launched an astonishing attack on Israel. 

The Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem said they "stand in solidarity" with the people of the Holy Land as they lamented the "devastating consequences of continued strife".

"Our faith, which is founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ, compels us to advocate for the cessation of all violent and military activities that bring harm to both Palestinian and Israeli civilians," they said.  

They appealed to both sides to respect the legal status quo of holy sites and to enter into dialogue to find a lasting solution. 

In addition, they said that they "unequivocally condemn" any acts targeting civilians and urged the international community to "redouble its efforts to mediate a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land, based on equal rights for all and on international legitimacy". 

"It is our fervent hope and prayer that all parties involved will heed this call for an immediate cessation of violence," they said. 

"We implore political leaders and authorities to engage in sincere dialogue, seeking lasting solutions that promote justice, peace and reconciliation for the people of this land who have endured the burdens of conflict for far too long."

They added, "Let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul: 'For God is not a God of disorder but of peace' (1 Corinthians 14:33). In the spirit of this divine message, we implore all to work tirelessly towards an end to violence and the establishment of a just and lasting peace that will allow the Holy Land to be a beacon of hope, faith and love for all."

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem warned that the latest violence has plunged the region "back to the worst periods of our history" and "will create more hatred and division, and will destroy more and more any perspective of stability".

It called on international and religious leaders "to make every effort in helping to de-escalate the situation, restore calm and work to guarantee the fundamental rights of people in the region". 

"Unilateral declarations surrounding the status of religious sites and places of worship rattle religious sentiment and fuel even more hatred and extremism," it said.

"It is therefore important to preserve the status quo in the holy places in the Holy Land and in Jerusalem in particular.

"The continuing bloodshed and declarations of war remind us once again of the urgent need to find a lasting and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in this land, which is called to be a land of justice, peace and reconciliation among peoples.

"We ask God to inspire world leaders in their intervention for the implementation of peace and concord so that Jerusalem may be a house of prayer for all peoples."

In the UK, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York said they are "grieved and deeply concerned" at the violence in Israel and Gaza, and "unequivocally condemn the attacks by Hamas".

They said they were praying for all who were mourning, the injured and those fearing for their safety.

"We pray for restraint on all sides, and renewed efforts towards a just peace for all," they said.

"The way forward must be for both sides to build confidence in a secure future through which Israel and its people can live in security within its internationally recognised borders, and Palestinians have their own state and live in their lands in security, and with peace and justice."

The Orthodox Archbishop of London, Archbishop Angaelos said he was praying for peace and healing and added that "in the midst of extensive reporting, rhetoric and analysis of yesterday's attack and counter attack in Israel and Gaza we cannot lose sight of the real human cost of hundreds who have died and many thousands bereaved and fearful on both sides today".

The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, asked people to pray that the conflict "will quickly come to an end". 

"Violence is never a solution. Retribution is never a contribution to peace. Please pray today for that peace," he said.

Anglican broadcaster and commentator Giles Fraser said he was "sickened by the disgusting images coming out of southern Israel".

"Worried for my family over there. Prayers for those who have been taken. I stand with Israel," he wrote on X, formerly Twitter. 

Republished from Christian Today UK.