[World Council of Churches] The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has expressed deep concern about the conflict in Gaza and Israel. In a recent statement he urged both sides to “cease hostilities” to ensure that “civilians will be protected”.
News reports on Friday afternoon said some 20 people have been killed in Gaza and three in Israel because of the violence. Several hundred people, including women and children, have been injured, with most of the injuries in Gaza.
Saying that the WCC is closely following the developments in Gaza and Israel, Tveit stated that “violence should stop immediately so that the lives of civilians, who are always the main victims, be spared.”
He went on to say that “the loss of peoples’ precious lives in the eyes of God, on both sides, cannot be accepted as a price to be paid in the unresolved political problems and in political agendas.”
“We call upon the UN Security Council and the Arab League to take immediate resolutions and measures to put an end to the escalation of violence, in the interest of both parties,” he added.
In his statement, he also reiterated the WCC’s call for an end of the six-year blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel.
“The WCC declares that the rocket attacks from Gaza into civilian communities in Israel, which are reprehensible and never justifiable, might also have very negative effects at a time when Palestinians are seeking international support of, and recognition by, the international community for a future viable and contiguous state,” concluded Tveit.