Church of Scotland urges end to violence on Israel border with Gaza

Yesterday, as Israel celebrated the birth of a nation 70 years ago, we witnessed heart rending scenes of killing and violence on the border between Gaza and Israel.

Rev Dr Richard frazer
Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church and Society Council

It is very likely that today, when the Palestinians mark the 70th anniversary of the forced removal of more 700,000 people from their homes at that time, more violence will ensue. Many of those protesting are the children and grandchildren of people removed from their homes at that time.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland states:

“The killing of civilians is a matter of international concern and the whole world should stand together in calling for an end to violence and seeking a settlement of this conflict that has continued for 70 years.

“Unilateral actions by states, such as the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem only serve to fuel the despair that Palestinians feel that their rights have been overlooked.

“Yesterday’s violence is shocking, shameful and is to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

“We know from our partners in Israel and the Occupied Territories of Palestine, as well as from members of the Church of Scotland who have visited the region in recent weeks and months, that life in Gaza is becoming more precarious and the violence being perpetrated against the Palestinian people is getting worse.

“The world cannot stand by and allow this to continue. For 70 years, Palestinians have been forced to be refugees in their own land. As in so many conflicts, the shocking and needless loss of life should be a spur to the international community to reaffirm the universality of human rights and human dignity.”

The UN has stated that 'Gaza may be uninhabitable by 2020' unless serious measures are taken to end the structural injustice that has driven the already desperate people of Gaza into further despair in what has been described by many as 'an open air prison', the ongoing blockade of Gaza by Israel has led to serious privations for the two million people living there.

The Church of Scotland reaffirms its firm belief that Christian theology should never be used to justify or perpetuate a situation of injustice.

The Church of Scotland stands in solidarity with both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to bring an end to the unbearable suffering that has escalated in the lead up to this 70th anniversary of Independence for Israel and dispossession for Palestinians. We encourage people to pray for peace and work hard on the costly road of being peace makers.