Palestinian children arrested by heavily-armed Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank city of AlKhalil. (Photo: EPA)
A lasting solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict must include ending the occupation of the Palestinian territory, said the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), a global communion of 148 churches in the Lutheran tradition, representing over 77 million Christians in 99 countries and advocating for a more just, peaceful and reconciled world.
"The Council is deeply concerned by the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the recent escalation of violence, including the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, other journalists and other innocent victims", said LWF in a statement issued on Thursday.
"It is discouraging that thus far, no solution has been provided to the serious situation and as a result people's human rights, lives, livelihoods and dignity are threatened," added the statement. “The Council affirms and aligns itself with international human rights and humanitarian laws and principles as important instruments that must be protected. The Council regards the continuous occupation as a violation of these instruments”.
LWF praised the work of its affiliate hospital, the Augusta Victoria Hospital, noting that the hospital's services are "often threatened by a recurring financial crisis that is directly linked to the conflict."
The Council affirmed the Christian presence in the Holy Land, saying it shares the local churches' concern for the protection of holy sites and the need to maintain the historic status quo with respect to them.
The Council called on the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to immediately address the escalation of violence and violation of human rights and ensure peace and justice for all.
It urged the international community to redouble its efforts towards finding a lasting solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and to ensure the adherence to international human rights and humanitarian laws and to bring an end to the occupation.
It also called on the European Union to expedite the disbursement of its earmarked funding to the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, which is part of the EU’s 2021 payments to the Palestinian Authority.