As the violence in the Holy Land continues to escalate, Israel says it has cut the Gaza Strip in two, hitting 450 targets in the last day, in its attempt to flush Hamas out of the region.
Thousands of Israelis and Palestinians have been killed since the war began just over a month ago, but political leaders have stopped short of calling for a ceasefire - preferring a humanitarian pause in hostilities.
But Christian commentator and columnist George Pitcher has told Premier Christians have a duty to be peacemakers and as such should be leading the calls for a ceasefire.
“I do think it's a Christian duty. And I think it's a broader duty of the West to be calling for a ceasefire, indeed, implementing a ceasefire if we possibly can. I think it's incumbent on the United Nations to endeavour to find a durable peace for the Middle East.
“We are called to be peacemakers. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.’ I'm very struck actually by Clive Stafford-Smith who said, that where there's hate, where people are being hated, it's our duty to get between the hated and the haters. And that I believe, is as good a summary of Christian responsibilities you're likely to get. Clive doesn’t speak from a Christian standpoint, but I've always been told, ‘be very careful where we encounter the Christ.’ I think that's the authentic voice of the Christ.”
“What’s going on at the moment seems to have no prospect of peace. It's simply mutual bombing, which is going to lead to more mutual bombing and missiles and death and destruction. And that cannot be a just war.”
However, retired British Army Major-General Tim Cross told Premier he fears a ceasefire would enable Hamas to reinforce their positions and bring in more weapons.
But he said Christians have a duty to “have to have a hope in this. That's what we bring to the debate, there's always a hope. What we need is wisdom. We need statesmanship. We need people who can sit above the tactical and operational campaign plans that are going on and get around a table and talk to one another and be prepared. Ultimately be prepared to forgive. And that's how you bring peace and reconciliation.”