A call for peace and justice in the Holy Land
In accordance with repeated requests by the United Nations we, Bishop Patrick Dunn, Bishop Ross Bay AND Bishop Jim White, on behalf of the Catholic and Anglican communities in Auckland, call on Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders as a pre-requisite for dialogue to establish a lasting and just settlement in the Holy Land.
We believe the continued violence in Gaza violates the human dignity of Palestinians and Israelis alike, and condemn all parties who are capitalising on this tragedy in pursuit of their own selfish political ends.
We note with sorrow the deaths in the violence of more than 1900 people, the majority of them civilians, and are appalled that around one third of victims are children with one being killed on average each hour the conflict continues.
Violence and war are never a proper solution to disagreements, and the Israeli bombing and missiles and the Hamas rockets targeted at civilian populations is a grave moral evil.
Retaliation and violence are never the right responses and will only make problems worse, harden positions on all sides, foster vengeance and hatred, causing more deaths, destruction and human suffering. All of these will prevent peace from becoming a reality.
We support Pope Francis’ appeal for the "courage to forge a peace which rests on the acknowledgment by all of the right of two States to exist and to live in peace and security within internationally recognized borders." 1
We join with the Archbishop of Canterbury, who declared that: "As each day passes we see more innocent lives, including those of children, lost in the terrible cycle of revenge – no good can possibly come of this. 2
We also support the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon who has stated that "in the name of humanity" an "immediate and unconditional" ceasefire must happen, allowing for the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip3
We reject all forms of anti-Semitism and anti-Arab racism and support the many initiatives that encourage Israelis and Palestinians to get to know and understand each other and so grow towards peace. We call on the New Zealand Government to make full use of all diplomatic channels to work hard towards an immediate end to the violence and for a just resolution of the injustices faced by the Palestinian people as well as the difficulties faced by Israelis who are living in fear as a result of the conflict.
These injustices demonstrate a loss of dignity and humanity for all sides in this conflict and there are serious wrongs perpetuated by them all.
1 Statement by Archbishop Tomasi, Permanent Observer of Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland, Jul 24, 2014 http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/holy-see-calls-for-immediate-ceasefire-lasting-peace-in-gaza-43967/
3 28 July 2014 http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48357#.U9hRRLEew2M.
For pdf version Click here
Media inquiries to
Rev’d Jayson Rhodes