ACT Palestine Forum statement calls for protection of civilians and access to Holy Sites
The ACT Palestine forum has issued a statement voicing deep concern “about the loss of life and human suffering we experience across Palestine and in Israel these days,” in view of recent violence in Palestine and Israel, and especially around the city of Jerusalem.
The forum strongly condemns violent acts such as “the killing of both Palestinian and Israeli civilians, use of excessive force by Israeli police and army against protesters, extra judicial killings, collective punishment in the form of severe restrictions of movement, closure of Palestinian neighborhoods and punitive home demolitions in East Jerusalem.”
It is composed of local churches and church-related development and humanitarian organizations including The Lutheran World Federation.
“We are convinced that violence cannot solve the conflict,” the statement reads. The signatories, including the LWF member church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the LWF local office in Jerusalem, call upon the international community to open negotiations “that will bring an end to the Israeli occupation” and to take measures for the protection of civilians.
It also urges faith leaders to advocate for the protection and free access to Holy Sites in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
The forum appeals to its partners and people of faith “to help carry the vision of peace, justice, hope, and dignity for Palestine and Israel, especially at times like now, when young and old alike are weighed down by despair and discouraged by the lack of a viable peace process.”
The LWF has been serving the needs of Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian territories for more than 60 years providing vocational training, scholarships and material aid. The LWF Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem provides specialty care for Palestinians from across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with services including a cancer center, a dialysis unit, and a pediatric center. Through its chairmanship in the ACT Palestine Forum, LWF is actively involved in advocating for justice, peace and reconciliation.