Bolivia has officially declared Israel a "terrorist state," while several South American countries have pulled their ambassadors from Israel in protest of the ongoing war with militant Islamist group Hamas in Gaza. Israel's military has announced that it will continue fighting, however, until it destroys the terrorist tunnels it says are used by Hamas to attack soldiers and civilians inside Israel.
Bolivian President Evo Morales declared Israel a "terrorist state" Wednesday, placing it in a "group 3" category of countries and requiring Israeli nationals to obtain visas before traveling to Bolivia, something which was not previously needed.
Morales broke off diplomatic relations with the Jewish state in 2009, and asserts in regards to the Gaza conflict that "Israel does not respect the principles or purposes of the United Nations charter nor the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," according to Bolivian daily Página Siete. more >>
An Israeli bombardment has partially destroyed a Catholic school, along with the parish priest's office and other church facilities in a raid on Gaza on Tuesday. As many as 29 disabled children and nine elderly women are said to have been living at the complex, with the parish priest condemning the "absurd war" between Israel and Hamas.
"We had a tough night, but we are here. This war is absurd,'' said parish priest Jorge Hernandez, who was living at the Holy Family Catholic church, alongside three nuns with the Mother Theresa order, according to Fides News Agency.
"After destroying the neighborhood of Shujayeh, now Zeitun is being targeted. Everything happens around us. The Hamas militants continue to fire rockets and then hide in the alleys. And we cannot do anything. We cannot evacuate, it is impossible with children. Their families live here. It is more dangerous to go out than stay here. We try to stay in safer places, always on the ground floor." more >>
The ministry director of a group working to bring Israelis and Palestinians together has urged Christians not to take sides in the current conflict, but follow Jesus' example and promote reconciliation.
"Christians around the world can help promote reconciliation by remembering and encouraging us to remember the central figure of our faith, Jesus. We need to focus on His example as a peacemaker, as He called us to be at peace with God and each other," Salim J. Munayer, the director and founder of Musalaha Ministry of Reconciliation, told The Christian Post in an email interview on Monday.
"Instead of taking sides in our conflict, as many outside voices do, Christians should play the role of a bridge, and call us to follow Jesus' example, and His teachings." more >>
The recent downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine could be classified as a "war crime" due to the 298 civilians deaths of those on board the flight, a United Nations spokeswoman announced this week.
Navi Pillay, the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement from Geneva on Monday that the downing of MH17 would be investigated as a possible war crime. "This violation of international law, given the prevailing circumstances, may amount to a war crime," Pillay said.
"Every effort will be made to ensure that anyone committing serious violations of international law including war crimes will be brought to justice, no matter who they are," the commissioner added. more >>
Thousands of people gathered in two different cities in France this past week to offer their support and opposition to Israel in its continued conflict with Hamas and the Gaza Strip.
Those supporting Israel's efforts to defend itself from Hamas rockets gathered in Marseille, located in the south of France to march on Sunday. Nearly 2,000 pro-Israel demonstrators reportedly gathered in the streets to offer their support to the Middle Eastern country; they were shielded by riot police from nearby pro-Palestine protesters.
"We are here to show our solidarity with Israel, which has been attacked and has a right to defend itself," William Labi, who leads the governing body of Marseille's Jewish congregations, told Reuters. more >>
The end of Christianity in Iraq could be "very near" according to Canon Andrew White, the vicar of the only Anglican church in Iraq, as Islamic militants continue their attacks of Christians and the central government.
"Things are so desperate, our people are disappearing," White said in an interview with BBC Radio 4 over the weekend. "We have had people massacred, their heads chopped off.
"Are we seeing the end of Christianity? We are committed come what may, we will keep going to the end, but it looks as though the end could be very near." more >>