IN A LETTER to the UN Security Council, the World Council of Churches (WCC) welcomed the establishment of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, while at the same time urging the UN to take a more assertive role to ensure the ceasefire is not simply a lull in the violence.

The letter laments the “heavy toll in civilian lives, especially children and women” – which has overwhelmingly affected the people of Gaza but which has also affected communities in Israel – as well as the destruction of schools and hospitals, and the attacks on the international media during this conflict.

“The responsibility under international law to protect these populations and institutions is fundamental” the letter emphasises, “and there must be accountability for violations thereof.”

The WCC has long sought peace between the people of the region, recognising the equal human dignity and rights of all people regardless of national, ethnic or religious identity.

“We appeal to the UN Security Council to remain seized of this matter, to monitor closely the ceasefire and any violations thereof, and to take appropriate and effective action to maintain the ceasefire and prevent any return to such wanton violence as we have seen over the last 11 days”, the letter reads.

The WCC has urged members of the Security Council to observe a unified and coherent approach to this matter, based on “a consistent unbiased application of the relevant principles of international humanitarian and human rights law.

“Moreover, we plead for stronger, more assertive and more consistent efforts by the Security Council to ensure that this ceasefire is not merely a lull between recurrent bouts of bloody violence, but that progress is made towards a just and sustainable peace in the region, for which the two-state solution remains – though increasingly disregarded and undermined – the best and most viable route”, the letter concludes.

* Read the WCC letter to UN Security Council

Source: World Council of Churches