The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, the Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, has expressed his deep distress over the current escalation of violence in Palestine and Israel.
The WCC head has made a call to the international community to take bold and novel actions to uphold international law and break the vicious cycle of violence" in the region. Both parties, he said, should engage in "equitable negotiations.
While Kobia recognized Israels right to ensure security for its citizens, he nevertheless called on the Israeli government to refrain from using excessive military force and immediately open equitable negotiations to find a permanent solution through ending the illegal occupation and securing a just peace.
Also, in addressing the Palestinian leadership, Kobia said they should also continue to seek a platform for equitable negotiations and hold to the one-party ceasefire and a diplomatic solution.
The WCC general secretary made these statements in a June 30 letter asking for the release of the kidnapped Israeli soldier and the detained Hamas political leaders, as well as a stop to Operation Summer Rain.
The letter was sent to representatives of the so-called Quartet (which groups the U.S., the EU, the UN and Russia), the president of the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli prime minister.
Kobia said, The unwarranted upsurge in violence if allowed to continue will only add to the untold sufferings of the Palestine people, the primary victims of this ongoing conflict.
He concluded by saying that retaliatory measures were not going to resolve the problem, but that they were likely to result in further embitterment and hate.