Statement on the Israel/Gaza conflict from the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA)

The United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) is saddened at the resurgence of violence characterized by rocket shelling in Israel and bombing of homes and facilities in Gaza. This periodic violence between the two nations shows a serious lack of leadership on both sides as well as the failure of international diplomacy.

The United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) is saddened at the resurgence of violence characterized by rocket shelling in Israel and bombing of homes and facilities in Gaza.  This periodic violence between the two nations shows a serious lack of leadership on both sides as well as the failure of international diplomacy.  There has to be urgent pressure exerted on both the Palestinian leadership and Israel to negotiate and find a long lasting political compromise that will ensure justice and peace in the region. The siege of Gaza continues to be a provocative act on the part of the state of Israel, which fuels efforts on the part of Hamas to challenge this ‘communal prison’.

The use of excessive military power by Israel is unwarranted and has led to many civilian deaths. Claims that the bombing of the house of a Gaza family where 10 family members including grandchildren died was ‘an error’ is deplorable. The targeting of more than a thousand sites from the air in such a small, densely populated area is unacceptable.   This deliberate shelling of crowded residential areas is in effect tantamount to a war against the civilian population of Gaza.  These tactics are not dissimilar to our experience here in South Africa where the apartheid regime did not value the lives of black people.  In similar fashion the Israeli political and military machinery has no regard for the lives of the poor, women and children of Gaza.  Even if it were true that Israel is provoked the wanton killing of innocent residents of Gaza is a violation of international law and the Hebrew scriptures challenges such behavior;

Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds!  At morning they carry it out because it is in their power to do so Micah 2:1

We call on the United Nations, the ecumenical movement and other political actors to censure Israel for its flagrant disregard of international law.  We call on the same bodies to engage Hamas with the view to stopping any provocation on their part.  The conflict between the two nations can only be resolved through negotiations, non-violent engagement and the recognition of the sovereignty of both nation states and a return to the 1967 borders.

Issued by:

Rev. Dr. Prince Dibeela, UCCSA General Secretary
Rev. Basil Manning, UCCSA President