ICC Note: As Israel and the Palestinian territories continue their hostile actions, Bishop Munib Younan is afraid that this could spark a large wave of Christians fleeing their homes and the region. Only an unconditional cessation can calm the Church in the region to prevent yet another country plagued by Christian emigration. This declaration by the Bishop was also used as a time to speak up about the Palestinian Christians affected by the tension between Israel and the Territories. Fearing that this event could cause Christians to leave the Holy Land, the Bishop is pleading for a quick ceasefire and an end to the recent conflict.
07/18/14 Israel (Ecumenical News) – Calling for a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Palestine Holy Land Lutheran Bishop Munib A. Younan is afraid this current wave of violence may force more Palestinian Christians to emigrate.
After a five-hour temporary ceasefire and the rejection by Hamas of a total cessation of hostilities, Israel began a military ground offensive into Gaza on Thursday night expanding from its aerial and naval bombardment.
In a statement issued on Wednesday from Jerusalem, Younan, who heads the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land called for an immediate and unconditional cessation of the hostilities.
“Witnessing the bombardments, hearing the sirens, listening to the cries of mothers and children, seeing the ambulances carrying the wounded and people living in absolute fear, the ELCJHL cries out to God.
“We also raise our voice to all Christian sisters and brothers, along with all people of goodwill, to end this latest round of violence between the State of Israel and the Palestinian people.”
Younan said, “And what is the Holy Land without its Christians?
“To Palestinian Christians here in this land, I call upon you to remain, continuing your service as instruments of peace, brokers of justice, bridge builders, and agents of change.”
The bishop condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas against civilian targets and the ongoing Israeli blockade and bombardment of Gaza.
This has resulted in the deaths of more than 200 people in Gaza, 80 percent of whom are civilians, and 20 percent include children.
Younan, who is also President of The Lutheran World Federation, said that many people in the region are depressed, frustrated and wondering about the future of Palestine and the Middle East.
“What Palestine and Israel need at the moment is justice, peace and dignity rather than the radicalization, revenge, and bloodshed promoted by one-sided diplomatic or military support for either group,” he said.