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Published on 15 January, 2009

Christians appeal for peace in Gaza

Israel (MNN) — As the world watches the Israel/Palestinian conflict in Gaza, you're probably saying to yourself there's nothing you can do. The World Evangelical Alliance says you can make a difference.

The WEA, which represents Christians in Israel as well as in Gaza, has been following with deep concern the events unfolding in Israel and the Gaza Strip. WEA's International Director Geoff Tunnicliffe says they're so concerned they wrote an open letter "not only to government leaders, but also to our Christian community calling for an urgent response to end the conflict and to respond with humanitarian aid to those who have been so deeply impacted by it."

The destruction in Israel and Gaza to lives and material is heart-rending, and the world has taken sides. But Tunnicliffe says, "Now is not the time for casting blame. We've got to deal with the real issues, obviously, but now we must seek an end to the conflict which is impacting so many innocent lives both in Israel and in the Gaza strip. We've already seen 250 children that have been killed."

In the Open Letter, WEA is asking leadership to do their utmost to end all hostilities and consequent violence. "We appeal to all parties to come before God, the Giver of life and wisdom, who freely gives wisdom to those who ask. We appeal to all decision-makers to listen to the voice of reason within their own ranks and to do their utmost to ensure that what is happening does not repeat itself.

"We also call upon the international community to carefully but resolutely respond to the crisis. The feelings on the ground are highly sensitive; it is not a time to blame but to respond with concern for all who are undergoing trauma. We appeal to the international community to work hard to bring an end to the current crisis and make every effort to remove all the causes of this conflict."

"It is hard to imagine that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be resolved at all. We understand that it is extremely complex and that it needs a lot of work to build up trust and the political will on all sides. However, we dare to dream together of a Middle East where Jews and Arabs are able to enjoy life side by side in peace.

"The God who is near wants to bless the Jewish people but not at the expense of the Arab people. And He wants to bless the Arab people but not at the expense of the Jewish people. We all call Abraham, the friend of God, also the father of our faith. For his sake and the sake of our God, may this conflict raise us up to a place where God pours His love for each person into all our hearts. May this inspire those who make political decisions as well as the families, especially those who have lost loved ones. Let their deaths not be in vain but be the cause of a better world for the glory of God."

Tunnicliffe is asking Christians around the world to pray for the conflict this Sunday, January 18. "We would pray for the people of Israel, for the people in Gaza — the Palestinians and the Israelis — first of all that there would be an end to the conflict. And, we also need to pray that humanitarian aid will be able to get into Gaza and ultimately that long-term solutions will be found."

If a ceasefire doesn't happen, Tunnicliffe says, "the great danger is that this situation now can perpetuate a regional conflict, and we're going to be in a worse position down the road if we don't resolve this."

In addition, we would ask that churches and individual Christians respond generously to the humanitarian disaster created by this conflict.

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