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 yesterday. 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 Palestinians 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. A worldwide prayer for peace, with central events in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, is to be held on Sunday, 8 June. 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". Source: WCC