The past week of asymmetrical violence between Israel and Hamas has killed at least 119 people—mostly Palestinians, including 31 children—and injured 830 people in Gaza. At least eight Israelis have also been killed, including a child.

This most recent conflict in Gaza was triggered after the violent suppression of peaceful protests by Palestinians against evictions, in violation of international law, of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. The violence spread to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where Palestinians were prevented from attending daily prayers.

The Presbyterian Church in Canada supports a two-state solution to end this violence and has recently written the Canadian government requesting that it pressure the Government of Israel to live up to its international treaty obligations. Following this renewed conflict, we have also reached out to our partners in Palestine and Israel with messages of condolence, concern and support. We join other faith-based organizations in condemning violence and calling for peace, which cannot be had without justice. We lift up, in particular, the voices of Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem . Learn more about the call to work for peace here.

Living Faith reminds us that justice involves protecting the rights of others and protests against everything that destroys human dignity (Living Faith 8.4.3). Let us continue the work of advocating for the rights and dignity of all, and in so doing, pray:

God of Peace,
We pray for a cessation of violence, an end to this war
We pray for safety for families, for international treaties to be respected,
human rights to be upheld, and for protection for children.
We pray that a way to make lasting peace may be found.
As Palestinians and Israelis face terrifying violence that has killed and
injured hundreds of people,
We pray for the comfort of those who are grieving or are in pain,
We pray for the healing of communities broken by violence,
We pray for a just peace in Palestine and Israel.

Ecumenical responses and statements: