STATEMENT: Pax Christi USA official statement on the violence in the Middle East

“Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity. All of this takes courage, it takes strength and tenacity.”

~Pope Francis, June 8, 2014

As the number of dead and wounded continues to rise in Gaza, Pax Christi USA calls for an immediate cease-fire by all parties in order to open the possibility for negotiations to end the senseless violence and address the underlying causes which fuel the decades-long tragedy in the Middle East.

Pax Christi USA mourns the loss of life on both sides of the conflict. We stand with all those who have been victimized by violence. Our hearts are broken over the death and destruction which only serves to terrorize hundreds of thousands of civilians in Gaza, those who call this relatively small piece of land home. We join with Pax Christi International members around the world in offering “our sincere condolences to all those in mourning and pray that those who have been killed will be the last to die violent deaths in this escalation of hatred and vengeance.”

As the violence escalates and broadens, we are witnessing, in some cases, the perishing of entire families, and the dismantling of what little infrastructure was still intact in the service of the basic human needs of the people who live in Gaza. The attack on Gaza has created a humanitarian disaster which is marked all the more tragic by the inability to provide the assistance needed because of the ongoing violence.

Pax Christi USA has been unequivocal in insisting that for peace to be possible, there must be an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, a dismantling of the barrier wall built on Palestinian land, and an end to the Gaza blockade. We have asserted that the policies of our own government have functioned to provide the support that enables the occupation and that we must continue to pressure our political leaders for a change in those policies. U.S. policy and aid must be tied to respect for human rights and the safeguards provided by international law for the human dignity of all. Even as the violence rages in Gaza, as U.S. citizens we have a responsibility to hold our own government accountable for its complicity in this conflict, as well as U.S. corporations which benefit from protecting the status quo.

We believe that even in tragedy lies hope. Our hope for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples is for a future built in recognition of their shared humanity, where the security of all is rooted in the practice of justice for all. Let this be the last of the bloodshed in this region which has suffered for so long. Let this tragedy awaken the consciences and loose the voices of the great majority of Israelis and Palestinians who yearn for peace. Let these be the last throes of the old hatreds and prejudices, and let the evil of this violence give way to the birth of a new day and a just peace for the Middle East.

12 responses to “STATEMENT: Pax Christi USA official statement on the violence in the Middle East

  1. Reblogged this on Project Peace and commented:
    This statement comes from Pax Christi USA, the parent organization of Tiffin Area Pax Christi, one of Project Peace’s supporters and partners.

  2. Reblogged this on Felician JPIC.

  3. Fr. Bernard Survil

    The Diocese of Greensburg has recently sent a delegation –led by the priest-Chancellor — to Israel, for what purposes remains to be seen. One would stretch one’s hope that it would be to affirm what is expressed here by the Pax Christi USA Statement on the violence in the Middle East.
    Fr. Bernard Survil, Diocese of Greensburg

  4. As a life long student of history and political machinations, I deplore the activity currently underway in what was once called “Palestine”. I pray and hope for peace as much as anyone and contine to support Pax Christi, the Quaker lobbying goup (FCNL) and any other peace group that wroks on all issues promoting diplomacy over conflicts.
    Now that I am retired and on a fixed income, I do not have as much to contribute financially, but I still can pray, demonstrate (I just held a peace sign last Wed. in downtown Olympia for about 40 minutes. The demonstrators were a part of FOR (Fellowship of Reconcilation) celebrating a century of peacemaking. It was formed during the Great War (World War I) with a Brit and German shaking hands and vowing not to fight each other, in 1915.
    I hope to find more PC members here and have talked with one from my local parish at a FOR meeting.

    Dona nobis pacem,
    Selma Troyanoski

  5. For US voters, might it be useful to voice your views and positions to your Representative and Senator. And if they are Catholics, to remind them of Pope Francis’ statement of June 8, 2014.

  6. Words lose all meaning as rockets and bullets destray the lives, the hope of the children. the death of the children signifies the truth or the falsity of all spoken words.

  7. My immediate reaction? The words chosen express my own concerns better than I can, I’ll be forwarding to peace friends of other organizations, and my personal friends too.

  8. Jerry Darring

    I am an admirer of PaxChristi, but I must say that I find this statement unbalanced. It seems to place all the blame and all the burden on Israel. Isn’t there something on the other side that we should also lament as we search for peace?

    • Thanks Jerry. We appreciate your question. The death and destruction in the current conflict, and throughout the history, has been heavily weighted on one side. I have not seen the latest figures, but a few weeks ago, the number of Palestinians who had died in Gaza was over 600 (mainly civilians) and the number of Israelis was 29 (almost all military). The power lies in greater part with Israel’s government. This is not to excuse the violence or rockets fired from the Palestinian side. But proportionately, in the Israel-Palestine conflict, the greater power lies with Israel while the broader suffering lies with the Palestinians. In the statement, we did lament those victimized on both sides and pointed out the desire for peace by both the majority of Israelis and Palestinians. Thanks for the question.

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  10. Thomas Moyski

    Hamas controls Gaza. Hamas are Terrorist,Killers, Murders. Hamas wants to annihilate Israel and the Jewish people.Unfortunately,there can be no negotiations with terrorism.

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