...Israel has a right to defend itself, but we cannot support its sweeping counterattacks on civilian areas, civilian infrastructure, blockades and other acts of war in Gaza and Lebanon. Punishment of an entire population for the indefensible acts of extreme armed factions is wrong and causes unjustified harm to noncombatants. Such actions are also counterproductive because they deepen hostilities and widen the circle of violence. Israel must act with restraint. Otherwise we fear that Israel could isolate itself, undermine its long-term security interests and play into the hands of extremists who seek a wider confrontation and an unending battle with Israel....
From the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem:
...As I write to you, I am preparing to leave with other bishops for Nablus with medical and other emergency supplies for five hundred families, and a pledge for one thousand families more.
On Saturday we will attempt to enter Gaza with medical aid for doctors and nurses in our hospital there who struggle to serve the injured, the sick, and the dying.
My plan is that I will be able to go to Lebanon next week - where we are presently without a resident priest - to bury the dead, and comfort the victims of war. Perhaps as others have you will ask, “What can I do?” Certainly we encourage and appreciate your prayers. That is important, but it is not enough. If you find that you can no longer look away, take up your cross. It takes courage as we were promised.
Write every elected official you know. Write to your news media. Speak to your congregation, friends, and colleagues about injustice and the threat of global war. If Syria, Iran, the United States, Great Britain, China and others enter into this war - the consequence is incalculable. Participate in rallies and forums. Find ways that you and your churches can participate in humanitarian relief efforts for the region. Contact us and
let us know if you stand with us. I urge you not to be like a disciple watching from afar.
2 Corinthians 6.11:
“We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians, our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return - I speak as to children - open wide your hearts also.”
In, with, and through Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Riah H. Abu El-Assal
Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem