New call to action shared with ecumenical partners emphasizes relief for the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza
by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Office of Public Witness has again issued an Action Alert, asking Presbyterians to advocate for a ceasefire and an increase in humanitarian aid for Gaza.
With the devastating loss of life in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories mounting since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, the United States “must intensify its efforts to halt the bloodshed, appeal to all parties to respect international humanitarian law, and promote long-term diplomatic efforts,” the Action Alert states. “The humanitarian crisis in Gaza must be addressed immediately, and all hostages still held in captivity must be released.”
The Action Alert notes that Israel has imposed a 16-year blockade of Gaza, which it has tightened since the start of the war. The alert calls on U.S. officials to “urgently press” Israel to:
- Allow for humanitarian aid including water, food, shelter and fuel to flow unabated and reach those in need in Gaza
- Allow Gazans to access safe spaces such as schools, hospitals, houses of worship, etc., and to respect those safe spaces by abiding by international humanitarian law
- Enact an immediate ceasefire and address the ongoing impact of the occupation.
The current conflict has displaced more than 1.9 million Palestinians in Gaza, which remains sealed with no space for Gazans to move out of harm’s way. More than 24,000 civilians have been killed, and an overwhelming amount of Palestinian infrastructure in Gaza has been destroyed. Eighty percent of Palestinians in Gaza are on the verge of starvation.
The PC(USA) recently joined global ecumenical colleagues in a letter to the Biden administration calling for a ceasefire, stating, “Our faith compels us to speak out. To make clear that we oppose violence, whether directed toward Israelis or Palestinians. Even the loss of one more life is one too many. International humanitarian law must be respected and adhered to by all sides.”
“We are deeply grieved by the complicity of the United States and several other Western countries in the continued violence through efforts to actively oppose a ceasefire, including by vetoing multiple United Nations resolutions. Instead, we call on governments worldwide to do everything possible to secure a bilateral ceasefire, one that will stop all violence from Hamas and Israel, allow for the safe release of civilian hostages held in Gaza and give immediate and adequate access to desperately needed humanitarian aid to be delivered, including through crossings to Israel.”
The Office of Public Witness urges Presbyterians to “join the call from the global ecumenical community” by contacting the administration and their members of Congress “today, and urge them to support a ceasefire, guarantee humanitarian to Gaza, and ensure respect for international law.”
Those contacts can be made directly here.
Together with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, the Office of Public Witness is part of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries. Israel-Palestine resources can be found here. To support Israel-Palestine relief efforts coordinated by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, go here.
You may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.