A Call to Stop the Violence
The United Church of Canada Adds Its Voice
to Those Calling on the Canadian Government
to Intervene with Israel
~ from the United Church of Canada’s webpage posted on May 12, 2021
The United Church of Canada joins Canadian civil society in renewing the call to the Canadian government to intervene with Israel and de-escalate the spiralling violence and negotiate its end. The violent suppression of peaceful protests by Palestinians against settler-initiated, court-ordered evictions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem have escalated into violence, with more than 300 people wounded by Israel in the city, and a deadly assault on the people of Gaza―with initial reports of more than 50 people killed, among them several children, and the death toll continues to climb—the result of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. At least half a dozen Israelis have been killed in rocket attacks from Gaza, including a child.
In an April 20 joint letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canadian churches, agencies, and networks asked the Canadian government to intervene with the Israeli government to halt the evictions, illegal under Geneva Convention IV (Part III, Section III). Since then, violence has spread to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, preventing Palestinians from daily prayers and violating the sanctity of the revered religious site to both Muslims and Jews. Rockets fired into Israel from Gaza have killed several Israelis and injured many more.
The churches are calling on the Canadian government to renew international efforts to vigorously pursue its policy of a two-state solution and demand Israel stop expanding the illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.
“Palestinian and Israeli partners are clear that negotiating a just peace is the only way out of the cycle of bombs and guns,” says the Right Rev. Richard Bott. “I invite United Church people to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to put faith into action by writing to urge Minister Garneau to uphold international law.”
Letters and statements have also been issued by the following:
- Patriarchs and Heads of Jerusalem Churches
- World Council of Churches
- Global Ministries Leadership, Christian Church and United Church of Christ
- National Council of Canadian Muslims
A Prayer for Peace in East Jerusalem and Gaza
In this turbulent time,
as violence and tension escalates around Gaza and East Jerusalem,
and during these holy days,
as we prepare for Eid, Ascension, and the feast of Pentecost,
we turn to you, God, our help and our strength,
offering prayers of sorrow, grief, and yearning,
knowing that we cannot adequately convey the depths of feelings in our heart.
No words can console those grieving the deaths of children and civilians.
No words can justify acts of violence and oppression.
And yet, we pray to you with inadequate words,
trusting that you, who know us completely, will receive the longings in our hearts.
In this trust:
We pray that you will provide those grieving the deadly assaults in Gaza and East Jerusalem that has killed over 50 people and wounded hundreds the comfort and healing that words cannot.
We pray for an immediate halt to the forced expulsions in Sheikh Jarrah, and an end to the ongoing displacement of Palestinian people and the Israeli occupation of their territories.
We pray that all who seek to worship can do so safely and without fear.
We pray for an immediate end to the violence in Gaza and East Jerusalem, and for a just peace in Palestine and Israel.
We pray that all people in Palestine and Israel will be able to go to school, go to work, visit a loved one in the hospital, chat with a neighbour, or have dinner with a friend with equal dignity, security, and respect.
during this turbulent time and these holy days, we remember your prayer for Jerusalem,
the city of peace,
and we long for the time when Palestine and Israel will be symbols of justice, peace, and liberation for all.
~ from the United Church of Canada website