July 23, 2014

CWS Issues Statement on Israel-Palestine Conflict

As a faith-based agency working around the world to eliminate hunger and poverty and promote peace and justice, Church World Service expresses profound sorrow at the military operations taking place in the Israel – Palestine conflict.  We condemn both Hamas militants’ practice of firing rockets into Israel, and Israel’s bombardment of homes, hospitals and other civilian centers in Gaza. Military activity in Gaza has resulted in hundreds of deaths, including many women and children, caused grieving families, destroyed vital community services, and threatens the dignity and hope for all people in the region.

We join others who are calling for the United States and the international community to use its influence to bring about an immediate end to the violence and to address its underlying causes.

This ongoing conflict will only be resolved when the blockade on Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt is ended. This blockade includes severe restrictions on the movement of goods and persons in and out of Gaza and restrictions on farming and fishing, resulting in high levels of food insecurity and an over 40 percent unemployment rate.  The occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands profoundly undermines Israel’s own security in addition to devastating Palestinian lives and hopes.

The U.S. should lead in seeking a negotiated agreement that would end the blockade and all rocket fire, and contribute to a two-state solution in which a viable Palestinian state and a secure Israel live side-by-side having Jerusalem as their shared capital.

CWS is the U.S. Coordinator for the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program for Palestine and Israel, and is a member of the ACT Alliance, which will be providing humanitarian assistance to persons and communities in Gaza devastated by the fighting and bombing.