Church leaders in Jerusalem have released an open letter calling for “restraint” and “self-control” in a bid to end the “exploding, senseless cycle of violence in the Holy Land”.
They called the violence – which has resulted in the deaths of 32 Palestinians and seven Israelis – “self-perpetuating” and called for everyone to work together to defuse the tensions.
Earlier this week, Pope Francis urged Israelis and Palestinians to halt “the spiral of death”. The comments came after a Palestinian gunman killed seven people and wounded three others in a synagogue shooting on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Prior to the attack, Israeli war planes struck Gaza in overnight attacks, with Palestinians returning two rockets. The attacks are considered to be one of the worst days of violence the West Bank has seen in years.
Church leaders have warned that the violence will continue to escalate without robust action.
The open letter reads: “In the aftermath of this latest, tragic wave of violence, we pray for those killed and injured, and we ask that God stay close to their families and loved ones.
“We pray also for healing for the wounded, and that the Almighty would give strength and perseverance to those caring for them.
“Finally, we ask that God grant wisdom and prudence to political leaders and people of influence on all sides, leading them to devise ways to help us overcome violence, keep our communities safe, and work tirelessly to bring about a just and peaceful solution for our beloved Holy Land.”