The Rev. Bronwen Boswell, Acting Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has joined other U.S. church leaders in asking President Biden “to support an immediate ceasefire, de-escalation, and restraint by all involved” in the ongoing violence in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank.
Their letter, published last week by Religion News Service, can be read in full here. The names of the nearly 30 leaders and their institutional affiliations are found at the bottom of the letter.
Noting that they “condemn the brutal attacks of Hamas on October 7th that caused the loss of life of nearly 1,400 Israelis and citizens of other nations” and “call for the immediate release of all civilians held hostage,” the leaders state that “the horrific violence of Hamas does not justify further violence against Palestinian civilians,” including an estimated 10,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza in the last month during Israel’s air bombardment and ground invasion.
“Hamas’ actions and the Government of Israel’s response in Gaza in no way advance peace,” the letter continues. “Instead, they have caused loss of life and much harm, grief, and devastation, not only to the individuals affected but also to the legitimate cause of the Palestinian people in seeking an end to the decades-long occupation and the blockade of the Gaza Strip.”
The leaders also call for the Biden administration to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza “by demanding immediate and adequate access to and provision of humanitarian needs,” to work toward demilitarizing the conflict and to urge all combatants to abide by the Geneva Conventions. Beyond Gaza, the letter urges the president to “ensure the accountability of settlers in the West Bank who are using this opportunity to attack Palestinians and illegally confiscate even more Palestinian land through violent means.”
The letter ends by asking the United States to “demonstrate its commitment to the protection of all human life, advocating for a just and durable resolution to this crisis in which all Israelis and Palestinians might realize a vision of a just peace, illuminating human dignity, advancing security and self-determination for all.”
To learn more about the letter, contact the Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon with Churches for Middle East Peace, a coalition of national church communions and organizations “working to encourage U.S. policies that actively promote just, lasting, and comprehensive resolutions to conflicts in the Middle East.”