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Jerusalem's Church Leaders Condemn Israeli Attack on Gaza Civilians, Urge for Immediate Ceasefire

March 2, 2024 (EIRNS)—As Vatican News reported yesterday, the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem condemned the Feb. 29 “wanton attack against innocent civilians” by the Israeli army in Gaza during a distribution of emergency food aid and call for an “immediate and lengthy ceasefire.”

In their statement, representatives of the churches in Jerusalem “call for the warring parties to reach an immediate and lengthy ceasefire that allows for the speedy disbursement of relief supplies throughout the Gaza Strip, and for the enactment of a negotiated release of those held as captives and prisoners.” They also denounced the fact that: “Although government spokesmen initially tried to deny the soldiers’ involvement in this incident, later that day Israel’s Minister of National Security not only praised IDF fighters for acting ‘excellently,’ but also attempted to blame the victims for their own demise, charging that they had sought to harm heavily armed soldiers.”

In sending their thoughts to all the “innocents suffering from the war,” the statement offered “special prayers of support to the Christian communities in Gaza under our pastoral care.” These include the 800 Christians who have taken refuge for the past five months in the Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrios and the Catholic Church of the Holy Family in Gaza City. “We likewise extend these same expressions of solidarity to the intrepid staff and volunteers of the Anglican-run Ahli Hospital, and to the patients they serve.”

In conclusion, the Church leaders expressed their ultimate hope for an end to the violence, the release of captives, and care for the victims can “open a horizon for serious diplomatic discussions that finally lead to a just and lasting peace here in the land where our Lord Jesus Christ first took up his cross on our behalf.”