World Council of Churches - News Release
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For immediate release - 03/03/2008 03:43:57 PM
WCC "ABSOLUTELY CONDEMNS" ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS IN GAZA AND ISRAEL
Absolute condemnation for the "deadly attacks on civilians by the Israeli military on Gaza and by militants firing rockets from Gaza" was expressed by the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia today. Claiming that "the path to peace stands open but empty," he called for an end of the "incessant violations of life and of human rights" and of the "blockade that has systematically deprived Gazans of almost all their rights."
Attacks across the Gaza-Israeli border have killed more then 110 Palestinia ns and three Israelis since the middle of last week. One third of the mostly civilian dead are reportedly children.
In a statement published on 3 March, Kobia calls on the WCC member churches to join in education, advocacy and public witness activities during a week of International Church Action for Peace in Palestine and Israel, 4-10 June 2008. A worldwide prayer for peace, with central events in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, is to be held on Sunday, 8 June 2008.
Kobia reiterated the alarm over the situation in Gaza expressed recently by the central committee, governing body of the WCC. During its 13-20 February meeting, it had adopted a minute on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. The minute reminds "all the authorities directly involved, the de facto Hamas authority and the Palestinian authority - to the extent that they exercise control - as well as the government of Israel," of their "primary obligations to protect the population of Gaza under international human rights and humanitarian law." It also points to the indirect involvement of governments "providing financial assistance to the occupying power for actions concerning Gaza that are wrongful and illegal under international law".
Full text of the general secretary's statement: http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=5645
Full text of the central committee Minute on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip: http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=5614
More information on WCC work to accompany churches in the Middle East: http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=3113
Additional information:Juan Michel,+41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363media@wcc -coe.org
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from the Methodist Church in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland. WCC ID: nJoBWU5exi1qWrutF9UPe3zxFO1kvkS1uXQ4WDHV1NjMpf3OQUc2W1yD9KlKiEs