“Pax Christi International stands with the people who brazenly demand justice, all the more if they are caught up in an asymmetric conflict in so many ways. We recommit ourselves to supporting all forms of nonviolent resistance and plead that the international community, instead of blaming, recognise and lift-up the truth of each side’s transgressions and longings. Peace may be elusive; it might hide from view, yet we hold on to a solitary truth that if truly desired it is not impossible.”Pax Christi International statement on the situation in Jerusalem, 2021
As part of the wider Pax Christi community, Pax Christi USA advocates a just peace in the Holy Land. Many Pax Christi USA members have traveled to or lived in the Occupied Territories; several were able to participate in the Pax Christi International world assembly in Bethlehem in 2015 and a subsequent pilgrimage which included visits to holy sites on the West Bank and in Israel; and most recently, Pax Christi USA Program Director Roxana Bendezú visited the West Bank with a Pax Christi International delegation in early 2023.
We are heartbroken and angry about the current violence taking place in Gaza and other areas around Israel and the Occupied Territories. As Pax Christi USA Executive Director Johnny Zokovitch wrote, we are “deeply and tragically aware of the U.S. government’s complicity in the conflict, its tacit support of the ongoing occupation by frustrating efforts to apply international law, and the unchecked military aid. As members of Pax Christi USA, we bear a special responsibility to holding the U.S. government to account, speaking out against military aid that will only lead to greater bloodshed, and demanding action on behalf of a cease-fire and the painstaking work to create a just peace rooted in equality, human rights, and dignity for all.”
To learn more about Pax Christi USA’s Palestinian Solidarity Working Group, which meets on a regular basis to help guide and resource our work, contact Roxana Bendezú at [email@example.com].
Below are resources for prayer-study-action.
- November 20: Candlelight prayer vigil at the White House, organized by Churches for Middle East Peace
- November 2: Pray-in at the White House
- Every Wednesday, pray for peace with Churches for Middle East Peace
- Pope Francis invites all to pray, fast on October 27.
- A prayer for peace in Israel and Palestine, Rose Marie Berger, Sojourners magazine
- World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel – 16-23 September 2023
- Intercessions for the first Sunday of Advent and for the cry of hope of the people of Palestine (2020)
- Preach Palestine, November 29, 2020
- Tears for Gaza interfaith memorial service, March 18, 2009
Prayer for Israel and Palestine
God of mercy and compassion,
of grace and reconciliation,
pour your power upon all your children in the Middle East:
Jews, Muslims and Christians,
Palestinians and Israelis.
Let hatred be turned into love, fear to trust, despair to hope,
oppression to freedom, occupation to liberation,
that violent encounters may be replaced by loving embraces,
and peace and justice could be experienced by all.
The Reverend Said Ailabouni, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Chicago, IL
- Churches for Middle East Peace
- Friends of Sabeel North America
- If Not Now
- Jewish Voices for Peace
- Voices from the Holy Land
- Pax Christi International Statement on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, November 29, 2023
- Christian organizations demand immediate ceasefire in Gaza, November 18, 2023
- Statement from Pax Christi Victoria (Australia), November 14, 2023
- Caritas Internationalis statement on the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe and violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law unfolding in the Holy Land (Gaza, Israel and the West Bank), November 13, 2023
- Franciscans International condemns violence in the Holy Land and joins calls for an immediate ceasefire, November 2, 2023
- Joint Kairos Southern Africa and Kairos Palestine Open Letter to Church leaders and Christians in the USA, Europe and the Ecumenical Family, November 1, 2023
- Letter from the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, October 24, 2023
- Pax Christi International statement on humanitarian crisis in Gaza, October 17, 2023
- Pax Christi International statement on escalated conflict in Israel-Palestine, October 11, 2023
- Pax Christi USA signs letter to Biden urging ceasefire, humanitarian aid, October 20, 2023
- Pax Christi USA signs letter to Congress urging action to de-escalate violence, protect life in Israel-Palestine
- A call for repentance: An open letter from Palestinians to western Church leaders and theologians, October 21, 2023
- Open call for immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and Israel to prevent humanitarian crisis and further loss of life, Save the Children, October 18
- Jewish Voice for Peace calls on all people of conscience to stop imminent genocide
- Gaza, colonial violence, and the pursuit of a Just Peace, Friends of Sabeel North America
- Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) implores restraint, de-escalation of conflict, humanitarian access, and addressing core issues of conflict
- Statement from Pax Christi International’s 2023 delegation to Palestine
- Tunnels for safety, tunnels for death, Kathy Kelly, November 22, 2023
- From Gaza with rage, Dr. Mona El-Farra, November 18
- Calling for a “pause” in Israel’s assault on Gaza isn’t enough, Kathy Kelly, November 9
- The violence and grief are overwhelming, Marie Dennis, National Catholic Reporter, November 3
- Inside Gaza’s last Catholic parish, The Atlantic
- Make no mistake: The Pope is not on the same page as the Biden administration, by Johnny Zokovitch
- Take the side of peace, a reflection by Pax Christi USA 2016 Teacher of Peace Art Laffin
- God is under the rubble in Gaza, a sermon published October 30 by Sojourners
- Everywhere is war, a reflection by Kim Lamberty
- Both Israelis and Palestinians are victims of Israel’s apartheid system, by Phyllis Bennis
- Despair, anger, and the call to pray and act, by Johnny Zokovitch
- Tragedy unfolds in the land where Jesus walked, by Pax Christi USA 2023 Teacher of Peace Fr. Joe Nangle OFM
- Register (by Dec. 4) for “For a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine,” with the Parents Circle-Families Forum, 2023 Pax Christi International Peace Laureates, December 10
- Injustice in the Holy Land: Israel-Palestine and Catholic Social Teaching, December 5, Ignatian Solidarity Network
- Marketing the Israeli Occupation – Part Two: Media and the Palestine Problem, November 19, Voices from the Holy Land
- Webinar on the Middle East conflict, offered by the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, November 6
- Faith, justice, and the struggle for change: A theological dialogue: Please join Sabeel for a theological discussion and reflection on the current situation in Palestine.
- Rise and take action for Palestine, a weekly speaker series from Kumi Now, an initiative of Sabeel, the Palestinian Christian liberation theology program, held each Tuesday at 12 PM Eastern (6 PM Bethlehem)
- Emergency Series: Palestine Speaks: Register here for Green Olive Tours’ emergency webinar series giving people around the world a forum to hear directly from Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank about the ways their communities are being impacted by the events of this last week and about the escalating violence they are experiencing. The series will take place on Sundays at 8PM Jerusalem (1PM EST) beginning on October 22. Meetings will take place by Zoom; every webinar in this series will use the same link. These events are free and open to the public. Everyone who registers will automatically receive recordings of the events.
- Catastrophe in Context, a teach-in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and beyond, from the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research
- Online film, “Killing Gaza,” Thursday, Nov. 9, 7 PM Eastern: Community Church of Boston will host a virtual screening of the documentary “Killing Gaza” which is about the war in/on Gaza in 2014. After the film, an open discussion will be held with with audience members.
- The situation in Gaza: A briefing, Foundation for Middle East Peace
- Hate has no home here, video recording of an interfaith solidarity event, held on October 22 in Naperville, IL. Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace Tom Cordaro was emcee for the event, which was organized after the burning of a Quran in Naperville and the murder of a Palestinian Muslim child in nearby Plainview.
Advent Ceasefire Chains: Every day this Advent (starting December 3), Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) invites individuals and groups to take action by offering a prayer and a call to Congress for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, immediate and adequate humanitarian aid to Gaza, and a holistic response to the long-standing root causes of the conflict in Israel and Palestine. Use this link to learn more at the CMEP website.
Sign the #CEASEFIRENOW petition: Use this link to add your name to an open call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Call the White House (Tuesday-Thursday, 11 AM-3 PM Eastern)
Urge President Joe Biden to do all he can to de-escalate the conflict and call for a humanitarian ceasefire to allow for more corridors of humanitarian aid to reach the people in Gaza in urgent need of food, water, shelter, medical care and electricity.
- Call the White House Comment Line at 202-456-1111. Hours of operation are 11am to 3pm ET, Tuesday – Thursday.
- Email the White House at https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
Suggested talking points:
- As a [Catholic/person of faith], I am deeply concerned about the escalating violence and suffering in Israel and Gaza.
- I want to thank President Biden for everything he has done so far to work for the release of the hostages held by Hamas. I ask him to keep them and the civilians in Gaza who are also in need of protection, at the center of his efforts.
- I also want to thank the president for his words in Israel, calling for restraint. I ask that he continue to prioritize words and actions that de-escalate the conflict. The humanitarian situation in Gaza has become catastrophic. It is unsustainable, and is counter to the Catholic value of promoting the sanctity of human life.
- I also ask President Biden to focus on protecting human life by calling for a humanitarian ceasefire now, to allow for more corridors of humanitarian aid to reach the people in Gaza in urgent need of food, water, shelter, medical care and electricity.
- Finally, I pray for the president’s safety, good health, and strength of spirit to work for peace. Thank you.
From CMEP: Urge Congress to support ceasefire, restraint, de-escalation
Use this action alert tool from Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) to urge your member of Congress to work for an immediate end to all violence for restraint from all parties. A protracted Israeli military offensive, including a ground invasion, could result in considerably more deaths and a broader regional war. Half of the 2.2 million people of Gaza are children, who will suffer disproportionately.
From Maryknoll: Support ceasefire now
On Tuesday, October 17, the Al-Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, managed by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem was bombed, killing hundreds of civilians. Read their statement expressing grief and a cry for the protection of civilians. We are shocked, saddened, and distressed by the brutal violence unfolding in Israel Palestine. We are fearful of further loss of innocent life. Faith groups are united in their message: “Ceasefire now. Lay down the sword.” Use this action alert from the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns to send a message to Congress and President Biden.
From FOSNA: Solidarity with Palestinians and Jews Sign-on statement
All are invited to endorse this statement of solidarity, which was authored by Jonathan Kuttab, Palestinian Christian theologian, human rights lawyer, FOSNA and Nonviolence International; Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine; Rabbi Cat Zavis, Beyt Tikkun: A Synagogue without Walls, civil/women’s rights lawyer, and mediator; and Rabbi Esther Azar, Arab Jewish trauma activist.
Wednesday, October 18: Day of action organized by Jewish Voices for Peace and If Not Now
Jewish Voices for Peace and If Not Now, both Jewish-led organizations committed to justice for Palestinians, are organizing a day of action on Wednesday in Washington, DC near Capitol Hill, exact location to be determined, to urge the US government to push for a ceasefire and to stop financing Israeli militarism. If you are able to join the activities, use this link to respond.