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C of E Bishops call for ‘immediate ceasefire’ amid Rafah offensive

by Heather Preston
Israel tank war.JPG - Banner image
REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The Church of England has urged the Israeli government to stop its “relentless bombardment” of Gaza, as civilians in Rafah face increased air strikes.

The House of Bishops highlighted the “huge cost in civilian lives and civilian infrastructure” as Israel plans to intensify its offensive in the southern Gaza town, where 1.4 million displaced Palestinians have fled to seek shelter from the fighting.

The bishops argue the “manner in which this war is being prosecuted cannot be morally justified” and have urged Israel to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of Palestinian civilians.

Father Fedi is a church leader in in Ramallah, Palestine. In an interview with Premier he expressed his support for the ceasefire.

"We cannot, as a church, stay idle watching the death of many people, whoever they are"

Fedi said he is "perplexed" by the divide within the church in regards to whether a ceasefire is the best option.

"There shouldn't be any division among Christians when it comes to war and killing. The church has always advocated for the preservation of life rather than the elimination of life"

The house of Bishops, for me, was actually late to decalre or call for a ceasefire, but at least at this point, the church has understood that this war in the Holy Land will lead to nowhere but suffering and death"

It come after Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron shared his “deep concern” following Israel’s recent air strike on Rafah which killed 44 people. Cameron says those who have fled to Rafah have nowhere else to go and that it is "impossible to see how you can fight a war amongst these people.” He has called for an “immediate pause” to the fighting.

South Africa has lodged an "urgent request" with the UN court over Israel's military operations in Rafah and US President Joe Biden has also warned against the offensive, without a credible plan to safeguard people sheltering there.

Biden is working on a hostage deal with Hamas, which could stop the conflict for "at least six weeks".

The House of Bishops says it: “continues to advocate for the release of the remaining hostages and an end to the missile attacks on Israel by Hamas” while advocating a “just peace” for Israelis and Palestinians.

“This war can’t result in the consolidation of a system of occupation that has for too long denied Palestinians their rights and freedoms,” the bishops added.

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