Ceasefire Now on background of destruction in Gaza

Image: courtesy of Oxfam

IT HAS long been said that truth is the first casualty in war. In the age of digital technology, social media, AI and deepfakes, that awful reality has been turbo-charged. The continuing bombardment and assault on Gaza and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are prime examples here.

Like others, Ekklesia has been following the Palestine-Israel conflict for many years, not just since the awful Hamas attack on 7 October – itself a terrible part of a long history of occupation, brutality and cycles of violence going back decades.

We wish to see peace, justice and security for both Palestinians and Israelis alike in the region, an end to illegal occupation and settlement, a secure state for the Palestinians (either a two-state solution, or a federal single-state Israel/Palestine one with guaranteed rights and protections for all), and a recognition that war and killing are never a solution. We also oppose racism and discrimination in all its forms, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

1. Reliable news, comment and advocacy sources

In terms of news sources, we follow events via both mainstream outlets/agencies (AP News, Reuters) and the United Nations and its organisations plus a variety of human rights, civil society and faith/church agencies with proven connections to, and/or presence in, Palestine Israel. Our own regularly-updated social media and reporting coverage has focused on credible news networks, Jewish and Israeli human rights organisations and campaigns in particular, and organisations building solidarity between Israelis and Palestinians in opposition to violence, war and occupation in all its forms.

That includes Human Rights Watch (international human rights agency), Amnesty International (Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories), +972Magazine (quality independent reporting from Palestine-Israel), the B’Tselem (‘image of God’) non-profit organisation (Jerusalem) documenting human rights violations in the occupied territories, Haaretz (Israeli newspaper, founded in 1918), Churches for Middle East Peace (regular updates via Facebook), Francesca Albanese (UN Special Rapporteur), International Middle East Media Center (run by Palestinians living in the Palestinian territories, working together with international journalists), Middle East Eye (UK-based news and comment), Middle East Monitor (online magazine), Electronic Intifada (Chicago-based, in-depth Palestinian perspectives), UN News (official agency), Al Jazeera (24-hour English-language news channel, funded by Qatar), Quds (news network), Times of Gaza (news and media company), The New Arab (journalism from the MENA region), Mondoweiss (news and opinion on Palestine and Israel), AJ+ (digital news and storytelling project for human rights), Middle East Council of Churches (MECC – official ecumenical body), Physicians for Human Rights Israel (monitoring and advocacy), MSF International (Médecins Sans Frontières), CPT-Palestine (building partnerships to transform violence and oppression), Good Shepherd Collective (based in Palestine, working for justice), Institute for Middle East Understanding (NGO, untold stories from Palestine), Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention (global grassroots genocide prevention), Standing Together UK (a solidarity campaign in support of Israel’s Jewish-Palestinian grassroots movement for peace, equality and social justice), the Quakers (engagement with Israel and Palestine), Jewish Voice for Peace (US-based advocacy organisation), Gisha (Israeli NGO seeking to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, especially Gaza residents), Accountability Archive (crowdsourced record of journalists, politicians, and public figures endorsing or encouraging ethnic cleansing in Gaza and defaming pro-ceasefire activists), Rabbis For Ceasefire (activist network), IfNotNow (American Jewish movement for justice for Palestinians), Refuser Solidarity Network (supporting war resisters), Voices Against War (people in Israel-Palestine for an end to the war and relies of hostages), Peace Now (Israeli action group promoting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), Mennonite Action (US direct action to resist war and occupation), War Resisters International (WRI, global antimilitarist network), Pax Christi International (Catholic peace organisation), Na’amod (“Jews in the UK seeking to end our community’s support for Israel’s occupation and apartheid”), Sabeel (ecumenical Palestinian liberation theology), Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (North American network), Kairos Palestine (Christian Palestinians inspired by the Kairos Document in South Africa), Just Jews (an alternative Jewish viewpoint in the UK), Mesarvot (Israeli war refusers), Breaking the Silence (Israeli veterans), Jewish Elders for Palestinian Freedom (US-based), Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (US-based advocacy), Tikkun (Jewish, Interfaith and Secular voices for healing and transformation), Amos Trust (human rights organisation), Torah Judaism (non-Zionist conservative Jews supporting Palestinians), New Profile (movement to demilitarise Israeli society), Institute for Palestine Studies (research), Munther Isaac (academic dean, Bethlehem Bible College, convener of Christ at the Checkpoint network), Rabbi Alissa Wise (organiser, Robbie for Ceasefire), Rabbi David Mivasair (peace and justice activist, Canada), António Guterres (Secretary-General of the UN),  Mehdi Hasan (British-American broadcaster and author), Peace Action (US foreign policy lobbying), IfAmericansKnew (Independent research NGO focusing on Israel-Palestine), Mariam Elsayeh (freelance journalist and story producer who has written for BBC, Al Jazeera, The New Arab, etc.), Kenneth Roth (attorney and former HRW executive director), Lindsey Hilsum (Channel 4 international editor and correspondent), Jonathan K. Cook (journalist, Bristol/Nazareth), Mairav Zonszein (Senior Israel Analyst, Crisis Group), Mohamad Safa (diplomat, United Nations ECOSOC),  Canon Richard Sewell (Dean of St George’s College, Jerusalem), Alison Phipps (UNESCO Chair, University of Glasgow), Myriam François (director of ‘Finding Alaa’, presenter France in Focus), Sarah Abushaar (policy adviser), Sarah Wilkinson (social media campaigner), Jan Egeland (Secretary General, Norwegian Refugee Council), Yael Kahn (Israeli activist – daughter of Holocaust survivors), Robert Cohen (“edgy Jewish thinking”), John Aziz (British-Palestinian musician, peace activist, analyst of Middle East politics / history), Sayeeda Warsi (Conservative peer, Muslim), Owen Jones (Guardian columnist), Peter Oborne (conservative journalist with strong MENA interests), Religion Dispatches (acute comment on Palestine-Israel), Democracy Now (independent global daily news), Novara Media (independent left-wing alternative media organisation based in the UK), Double Down News (independent progressive media), DeclassifiedUK (public interest journalism on UK foreign, military, intelligence and climate policies), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ, supporting journalists worldwide), Bureau of Investigative Journalism (UK non-profit network), Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs), ICAN (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists on Israel and nuclear issues), and many others.

The bold names above reflect sources and advocates we have cited most frequently in our social media and reportage, though that can change.

2. Our own partners

Massacre of Innocents mural in Edinburgh, with scenes from Gaza

Mural: Massacre of Innocents, (c) St John’s Episcopal Church, Edinburgh

We especially recommend the analysis of our longstanding friend and associate Dr Harry Hagopian (international lawyer, ecumenical advisor and political observer of the MENA and Gulf regions). His book Keeping Faith With Hope: The Challenge of Israel-Palestine, provides  important background and was published by Ekklesia Publishing in May 2019. See also his commentary on YouTube. His 22 March article on Gaza is here.

We have been longstanding supporters and cooperators with Community Peacemaker Teams (formerly Christian Peacemaker Teams) and EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel), who work with the World Council of Churches and the Quakers. Ekklesia is a member of the Network of Christian Peace Organisations in the UK.

We welcome the Christian Aid Middle East Crisis appeal, alongside those from Oxfam and Save the Children. Donations to UNRWA’s emergency Gaza appeal can be made here

3. Latest news/information

  • Ekklesia twitter updates.
  • Israeli use of heavy bombs raises serious concerns under laws of war. (23 June)
  • Rishi Sunak should correct record on arms sales to Israel. (10 May 2024)
  • CAFOD update from local partners on the ground in Rafah. (9 May 2024)
  • ‘Protect freedom of speech and academic freedom on campus’ in wake of Gaza protests, says ACLU
  • The scale of destruction in Gaza is almost beyond belief. (Haaretz newspaper, Israel)
  • Rate of attacks on Gaza healthcare currently highest in global conflict.
  • Israel’s slaughter of aid workers is a tragedy. But it is also a story of western racism (Middle East Eye)
  • ‘The machine did it coldly’: Israel used AI to identify 37,000 Hamas targets (Guardian)
  • Majority of voters in UK back banning arms sales to Israel, poll finds (Guardian)
  • Jesuits refuse to be silent on Gaza and call for immediate ceasefire.
  • Latest marches in London and Ipswich calling for a ceasefire and an end to genocide.
  • Stations of the Cross for Gaza. (Christians for Palestine UK)
  • UK must stop arising Israel. Sign the petition now. (Oxfam)
  • Global Christian leaders call for permanent Gaza ceasefire.
  • UN Security Council resolution calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire (BBC, 25 March)
  • An Israeli conscientious objector with anti-militarist organisation New Profile has spoken at Friends House in London.Details of Gaza health facilities destroyed
  • More on New Profile, the movement to demilitarise Israeli society.
  • UN chief says it’s time to ‘truly flood’ Gaza with aid and calls starvation there an outrage (AP News)
  • Reflections on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the language used to describe it (Humanity Journal).
  • Can we dare to hope when it comes to Israel-Palestine? Harry Hagopian, Ekklesia associate.
  • Israel continues blocking aid to Gaza despite ICJ genocide ruling.
  • Human Rights Chief deplores move to expand Israeli settlements.
  • South Africa requests the International Court of Justice to issue new additional provisional measures against Israel.
  • The Shoah after Gaza‘, by Pankaj Mishra (London Review of Books, Vol. 46 No. 5, 7 March 2024) — really important context.
  • Gaza: Israel’s dehumanisation of displaced persons must end, says UN expert (6 March).
  • Jewish Voice for Peace: “We are devastated to be marking 150 days of genocide. As of today, 30,631 people, including 12,000 children, have been murdered by the Israeli military.We will always bear witness. We will never forget.Ceasefire Now! (5 March)
  • A group of journalists has written to both the Israeli and Egyptian governments asking for access to Gaza, so the war can be reported on fully.
  • Gaza and a ‘beyond alarming’ election result, by Ekklesia associate Bernadette Meaden.
  • Recording: A service of prayers, music, readings, poetry, silence, and a call to action; with the sermon given by Rev Dr Munther Isaac, pastor of Christmas Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bethlehem.
  • Latest updates from the excellent Middle East Eye.
  • UK Parliament debates SNP motion calling for an immediate #ceasefire in Gaza, but scuppered by Labour. 
  • Number of Palestinians killed each day since the invasion of Gaza (via Shane Claiborne)
  • Antisemitism and the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October 2023 (Religion Dispatches).
  • Leading British rabbi warns against Rafah invasion: ‘If I said nothing, I couldn’t live with myself’ (Jewish News)
  • Sunday 18th February, 2pm at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church: vigil for Gaza, with Rev Mother Isaac.
  • The next national, UK-wide day of action for a ceasefire is Saturday 17th February – London, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow and many more. Look out for local details.
  • Bishops (C of E) call for an immediate ceasefire.
  • Forced evacuation of Rafah would be ‘catastrophic and unlawful’.
  • Israel-based civil society and human rights organisations call for a ceasefire.
  • Policy Advisor and graduate from Harvard and Stanford University, Sarah Abushaar, recounts the violence of the past 100+ days in Gaza, along with the past 75 years of Israeli occupation of Palestine, in spoken word.
  • Grave dangers as US and UK leaders defy Genocide Convention, by Ekklesia associate Savitri Hensman.
  • Locations of UK companies helping to arm Israel revealed.
  • 110,000 Palestinians killed, wounded or missing in the ongoing Israeli aggression on Gaza.
  • Online seminar on Christian Zionism and action for peace and justice, with the Rev Dr Munther Isaac. Sunday 4th February at 6:30pm UK time. Full details and registration here.
  • The next national (UK-wide) day of action for a ceasefire in Gaza will be Saturday 17th February.
  • A UK ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ conference will take place on Sunday 18th February. More info to follow.

    EuroMed Human Rights, 4 February 2024

  • Codepink (Women for Peace) Action for Palestine – including petition to Biden on UNRWA funding.
  • Know their names: Palestinian children killed by Israel in Gaza (Al Jazeera)
  • Israeli army shoots and kills the director of volunteers at Red Crescent Society Hidaya Ahmad in the office of the Red Crescent Society in Khan Younes.
  • Gaza: UN rights experts condemn ‘killing and silencing’ of journalists.
  • Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention issues a warning to several nations about their direct involvement in the intensification of genocidal acts against the Palestinian people (*.PDF file).
  • Joint statement by aid agencies on suspension of UNRWA funding (1 Feb)
  • UK will consider recognising Palestinian state, says Foreign Secretary.
  • Petition: asking President Biden not to veto another ceasefire resolution at UN following ICJ interim judgement.
  • Accountability Archive: a crowdsourced record of journalists, politicians, and public figures endorsing or encouraging ethnic cleansing of Gaza and defaming pro-ceasefire activists.
  • UN Member States urged to stop fuelling crisis in Gaza.
  • Raz Segal: Why International Court of Justice ruling against Israel’s war in Gaza is a game-changer (LA Times)
  • UNWRA: Israeli official calling for its “destruction”.
  • The ICJ ruling is a repudiation of Israel and its western backers – Kenneth Roth
  • Holocaust Memorial Day: a powerful message from descendants of survivors.
  • Indie Nile on The Psychology of Israeli Propaganda.
  • Letter from American rabbis to President Biden.
  • Christian peace group renews ceasefire call after ICJ ruling.
  • International Court of Justice interim ruling on genocide charges against Israel.

    What had happened within five days of the ICJ interim ruling on genocide (26 January)

  • The International Court of Justice will deliver its Order on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa in the case #SouthAfrica v. #Israel this Friday, 26 January 2024, at 1pm (The Hague). Watch live on UNWebTV here.
  • The economic case for a Gaza ceasefire (Chatham House, 23 January 2024.
  • Women and children in Gaza bearing brunt of ongoing war (World Council of Churches, 16 January 2024).
  • The daily scenes of death, suffering and destruction from Gaza are shocking and sickening. According to Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, 32,246 people have been killed (including 29,720 civilians, 12,660 children and 6,860 women, 657 health professionals) by the 105th day of the assault, 19 January 2024. That includes people buried in the rubble, missing and believed dead. Another 1,955,000 are displaced, 72,440 homes have been destroyed completely and 190,000 partly destroyed, 208 hospitals and health care facilities destroyed, 326 schools damaged or destroyed.
  • South Africa’s case against the Israeli government at the International Court of Justice highlights the incredibly high stakes of the current situation.
  • Statement from the Church of England Bishop of Southwark calling for a ceasefire.
  • Appeal from the  International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to support journalists in and around Gaza.
  • Documenting of atrocities committed in the assault on Gaza.
  • Mitri Raheb, Decolonizing Palestine: The Land, the People, the Bible (published September 2023).

(It is worth noting that the BBC, US [CNN] and European networks are subject to Israeli government monitoring and censorship in some aspects of their reporting. See: CNN staff say network’s pro-Israel slant amounts to ‘journalistic malpractice’. A huge number of journalists (current estimates vary from 96 to 115) have been killed by IDF operations and targeting in Gaza, and international reporters are barred. Citizen journalism material continues to emerge, however. The overall situation is clearly one of horrific death and destruction, mass displacement, a humanitarian and health catastrophe, the growing threat of hunger, and evidence of serious war crimes.)

This page will be updated as often as possible. Last updated 10 May 2024.