WASHINGTON – Faith-based communities are a critical part of overseas aid and development, government officials declared at an event praising those efforts.
At the opening event for the multiday U.S.–Africa Leaders Summit, leaders in the government and faith-based organizations spoke about the efforts to aid development in the African continent.
The Friday morning opening breakfast event was hosted by Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. more >>
Deadly clashes between the Israeli army and Hamas militants have reportedly broken a newly agreed three-day cease-fire over the Gaza strip. The White House has meanwhile urged Israel to do more to try and limit civilian casualties.
CNN reported on Friday morning that both sides are accusing each other of violating the truce. Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra claimed that an Israeli attack in southern Gaza killed 27 people and wounded more than 100 others, while Israeli spokesman Mark Regev shared that Israeli soldiers were attacked in a "brutal incident" that required them to defend themselves.
"As you know, we first and foremost believe in Israel's government – in the Israeli government's right to and obligation to defend their citizens. They've chosen to take military action to provide for that protection. But as you also note, we've been very clear that Israel needs to do more to live up to its own standards to limit the civilian casualties," Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said, responding to questions about an earlier White House statement condemning the shelling on U.N. schools and shelters. more >>
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 >>