A STATEMENT from the World Council of Churches (WCC) executive committee has called upon “all parties involved to immediately commit to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, to ensure unhindered humanitarian access from all borders and the delivery of sufficient quantities of aid to all those who need it, and to engage in meaningful political processes that allow the peoples of the region to live in peace and dignity.”

The statement notes the death toll now surpassing 36,000 people, over two-thirds of them children and women; more than 83 per cent of the population displaced; and the complete destruction of medical, educational, and other civilian infrastructure, with more than 50 per cent of homes destroyed, leaving over one million people homeless.

The suffering, the statement notes, is due to “indiscriminate nature of the Israeli military actions in the territory, and of the lack of respect for fundamental principles of international humanitarian law and morality.”

The WCC governing body urged “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held in Gaza without violence, as well as of persons detained in Gaza and the West Bank without due legal process.”

The statement applauds the people around the world, especially young people, who raise their voices against war, and adds: “We deeply regret that in several educational institutions where student protests against the war emerged, administrators have bowed to political pressure to respond to such protests with draconian and excessive measures.”

The statement asks all members of the international community to “rediscover their moral and legal commitment to the equal human rights of all.”

* Read the full statement on the escalating crisis in Gaza here.

* Source: World Council of Churches