Bishops call for complete and immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Bishops call for complete and immediate ceasefire in Gaza Palestinians gather March 4, 2024, at buildings in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, that were destroyed by an Israeli airstrike amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. (OSV News photo/Mohammed Salem

The Irish bishops’ conference has called for an immediate and complete ceasefire in Gaza, urging Israel and Islamist terrorist organisation Hamas to work for a just peace.

“We join with many in our parishes, together with all people of goodwill, in demanding an immediate end to the daily horror of killing, wounding and destruction of property and infrastructure there,” the bishops said in a statement from their Spring gathering on March 5.

Israel and Hamas have been engaged in a protracted war following Hamas premeditated terrorist attack on October 7 last year. The Hamas run health ministry in Gaza has claimed that more than 30,000 Gazans have been killed in the conflict.

The Irish bishops called on the Israeli government to comply with “basic human and international standards in ensuring that Palestinians have full and unimpeded access to food, water and basic safety requirements”.

They also called on Hamas to release all hostages and end missile attacks on Israel.

The Irish bishops condemned the attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, saying that what is happening in the region “cannot be morally justified”.

The Irish bishops warned that “there is no future in the perpetuation of conflict and human suffering”.

“This is especially so when one considers the intensity of what is happening in the Holy Land. The only future is one of dialogue and the putting in place of a sustainable plan for a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis,” they said.

The bishops call came after the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem criticised a February 29 incident that saw 100 Palestinians killed by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), saying that “in the aftermath of yesterday’s horrifying events and their cruel context, we, the patriarchs and heads of Churches in Jerusalem, condemn the wanton attack against innocent civilians”.

The patriarchs called for both parties involved in the conflict “to reach an immediate and lengthy ceasefire that allows for the speedy disbursement of relief supplies throughout the Gaza Strip, and for the enactment of a negotiated release of those held as captives and prisoners”.