From the Worldwide Faith News archives

LWF General Secretary on June 18 Jerusalem Bombing

From "Frank Imhoff" <>
Date Tue, 18 Jun 2002 10:50:23 -0500

Statement from the LWF General Secretary on June 18 Jerusalem

Today, my prayers are for the families of the innocent victims of
the suicide bomb attack on a bus in southern Jerusalem. Many
schoolchildren are reported to have been among passengers on the

I do not believe that any act in this tragic cycle of violence
does more to offend the will of God and harm the cause of peace
than the deliberate killing and maiming of children.

Israelis and Palestinians alike live in hope of a better future,
in which their children could exist in peace, justice and
security. When these children, bearers and objects of such hope,
become a target of brutal attack like today's, the very vision of
a just and peaceful future is itself undermined.

The Lutheran World Federation condemns all attacks upon civilians,
as a matter of moral and legal principle. The situation and
motivations of perpetrators of such acts are irrelevant. In no way
can they be justified.

Responsible leadership on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian
conflict must recognize that attacks on civilian communities leave
not only a legacy of hate for future generations but also hamper
the cause of peace.

This morning's brutal bombing and many others like it, contribute
nothing to realization of the Palestinian people's legitimate
rights and aspirations. They de-legitimize those aspirations in
the world's eyes, providing easy justification for Israeli
military response. President Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian
Authority are right to condemn such attacks, and must continue
doing so.

During my recent visit to Israel-Palestine, just over a week ago,
I witnessed a little of the legacy left behind by 'Operation
Defensive Shield' in the occupied Palestinian territories, and do
not consider it a contribution to the peace Israelis seek. On the
contrary, Israel's tightening military occupation of the occupied
territories promotes hate and desperation, swelling the ranks of
suicide bombers.

Political and religious leaders on both sides should refrain from
acting in ways that promulgate hate and enmity between their
peoples--peoples that must ultimately find a way to live together
in peace, on the small piece of land that the three Abrahamic
religions call holy. Instead, they must promote and encourage
efforts toward understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.

Leaders of powerful countries that have the capacity to
constructively contribute to the search for peace in the Holy Land
must exert their courage and wisdom to the full. I am convinced
that political leaders worldwide have not done nearly enough to
break the current cycle of violence and promote dialogue.

This is the shared task of all who pray for peace in the Holy
Land. We all have a duty to seek peace with justice in
Israel-Palestine, especially those of us who trace the roots of
our faith to that land. But there is a tendency on the part of
political leaders and religious communities outside the region to
opt for sides rather than principles, thereby participating in the
conflict rather than the search for peace.

In Israel-Palestine, I observed fragile signs of hope. I saw
people from both communities--human rights workers, religious
leaders and ordinary people--coming together in mutual solidarity,
trying to build bridges, and working for a peaceful future for
their children. This is a genuine contribution to the search for a
sustainable peace. My prayers on this day--another day of violence
in Israel--Palestine-are also for such people who work for
peaceful reconciliation, rather than desolation.

Geneva, 18 June 2002

Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko
General Secretary

(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the
Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now
has 133 member churches in 73 countries representing over 60.5
million of the 64.3 million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on
behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as
ecumenical relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human
rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and
development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva,

[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is the information service of
the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Unless specifically noted,
material presented does not represent positions or opinions of the
LWF or of its various units. Where the dateline of an article
contains the notation (LWI), the material may be freely reproduced
with acknowledgment.]

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