The Archbishops' Council on The Middle East and the Holy Land issued the following statement this morning: The Archbishops' Council, dismayed by the horrific events in Israel/Palestine, endorses the appeal made by the Archbishop of Canterbury for an immediate cessation of violence. The Council welcomes the Alexandria Declaration by religious leaders and urges all parties to work together in implementing it. We also affirm the recent statement of Anglican Primates denouncing the shelling, suicide bomb attacks and military incursions as both evil and futile, and call upon people of good will everywhere to unite in prayer for justice, peace and reconciliation so that the healing process can begin. The continuing military action can only worsen the humanitarian crisis that is emerging with many thousands of innocent victims, many of them women and children, in urgent need of food, water, shelter and medicine. This reinforces the need for the suicide bomb attacks to cease, for Israel to withdraw immediately from the Occupied Territories in compliance with UN Resolutions, and for a UN-backed team of international observers to be deployed as quickly as possible to ensure respect for the norms of international humanitarian law. We urge the leaders of the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority to act without delay to break the spiral of retaliation on both sides of the conflict. We also call for a clear condemnation of suicide bombing, as morally unacceptable, from leaders of all faiths in the Middle East. We welcome Christian Aid's launch of an appeal for the Middle East and we encourage parishes and dioceses throughout the country to support this initiative generously as they pray for the Archbishop of Canterbury in his continuing efforts to bring peace and reconciliation to the Holy Land.
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