The Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem have released a new statement calling for de-escalation and a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It comes in the wake of the latest period of violence in the Holy Land. On Sunday night, a man was killed after dozens of Israeli settlers rampaged through the Palestinian town of Huwara near Nablus. Dozens more were injured with metal rods and tear gas, and buildings and cars were set alight. The attacks were in retaliation for the killing of two Israeli settlers by a Palestinian gunman near the same town. Eleven Palestinians were killed in the previous week in Nablus.
The statement reads :
‘We the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem, are saddened by the latest escalation of violence in the Holy Land.
“This recent escalation came during and following the conclusion of a rare meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Aqaba, Jordan, in which Israel promised to halt settlement expansion in the Palestinian areas, and to stop, along with the Palestinians, a spiralling and senseless escalation.
“These painful developments make it ever more necessary not only to immediately de-escalate tensions in words and deeds, but also to find a more lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in accordance with international resolutions and legitimacy.
With all people of good will, we pray to the Lord for peace and justice in our beloved Holy Land, where all have been tormented by this painful, long-term conflict.”
Since the beginning of 2023, 63 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, with 14 Israelis killed by Palestinian militants.
Following the US brokered talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jordan last week, it’s hoped the two sides will meet again later this month in the bid to stop the violence.