Washington office of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) calls for ‘immediate ceasefire’ in Israel-Palestine

OPW also urging US to offer ‘sustainable solutions that promote life, development, hope and peace’

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of the Office of Public Witness)

LOUISVILLE — An Action Alert calling for an immediate cease-fire in the war that’s raging in the Israel-Palestine region has been issued by the Presbyterian Office of Public Witness (OPW).

The Oct. 30 alert from the Washington office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) says that “the nature of this war can have no other possible outcome than horrendous death and a legacy of violence that will be passed from one generation to the next.”

The alert goes on to urge the public to tell Congress “to call for a ceasefire and an immediate halt to military activity until Palestinians find safety.” It also recommends urging Congress to “prioritize protecting people in Palestine and Israel” and to facilitate the providing of food, water, electricity, medicine and safe evacuations.

“Presbyterians have always sought guidance from scripture and the Holy Spirit,” the alert notes. “We affirm that the Word of God issues a sovereign call for the protection of the innocents, usually illustrated by children and the elderly,” and believe that it’s important to “put away any retaliatory inclinations and instead embrace a humanitarian response even within the confines of war.”

The Action Alert follows a coordinated attack on Israel by the Palestinian Islamist military group Hamas on Oct. 7 that led to Israel formally declaring war in response to killing and hostage-taking. Since then, violent conflict has continued, with more bloodshed on both sides.

“We decry the October 7 actions of Hamas brutally murdering more than 1,400 Israelis,” OPW states in the Action Alert. “We mourn the response of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to order an aerial bombing campaign that resulted in the deaths of 5,791 Palestinians, including 2,360 children.”

The office goes on to say, “The immense suffering has been compounded by the implementation of a siege of Gaza (that has included) withholding water, fuel, medical supplies, and food. To date, over 8,000 Palestinians have been killed, with a third of them being children.”

In addition to decrying the “escalating violence,” OPW is calling for the United States to offer “sustainable solutions that promote life, development, hope, and peace,” and is stressing the need for diplomacy.

“The United States must offer more than military assistance and lean heavily on diplomatic insistence that the weapons of war are silenced and demand peace for civilians who are innocent of the carnage that started this conflict,” the Action Alert states. “Congress, in conjunction with President Joe Biden, must call for an immediate ceasefire alongside an increase in the humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza. The world must respond by supplying the necessities of life including food, water, electricity, medical supplies, and fuel. In addition, safe passage must be granted to Palestinian civilians who desire to evacuate as the U.S. must call upon heads of states in the Middle East to further open borders and provide welcome to those fleeing the war zone.”

The alert concludes with, “We still believe in a two-state solution and pledge to work until its arrival.”

To read the Action Alert in its entirety, go here.

To read the Oct. 13 statement of the Rev. Bronwen Boswell, Acting Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA), go here.

OPW is one of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

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