Auckland bishops call on Israel to return to pre-1967 borders

Auckland’s Catholic and Anglican bishops have called on Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders in accordance with United Nations’ requests.

In a joint statement, Catholic Bishop Patrick Dunn and Anglican Bishop Ross Bay said such an act by Israel would be “a pre-requisite for dialogue to establish a lasting and just settlement in the Holy Land”.

“We believe the continued violence in Gaza violates the human dignity of Palestinians and Israelis alike, and condemn all parties who are capitalising on this tragedy in pursuit of their own selfish political ends,” the bishops said, speaking on behalf of their communities.

The death and injury toll in the ongoing conflict was lamented by the bishops, who said they are appalled that children were being killed at a rate of one an hour as long as the conflict continues.

“Violence and war are never a proper solution to disagreements, and the Israeli bombing and missiles and the Hamas rockets targeted at civilian populations is a grave moral evil,” they said.

The two Auckland bishops echoed concerns expressed by Pope Francis, Archbishop Justin Welby and the United Nations Secretary General about the Gaza conflict.

But the bishops were quick to “reject all forms of anti-Semitism and anti-Arab racism and support the many initiatives that encourage Israelis and Palestinians to get to know and understand each other and so grow towards peace”.

They also called on the New Zealand Government to “make full use of all diplomatic channels to work hard towards an immediate end to the violence and for a just resolution of the injustices faced by the Palestinian people as well as the difficulties faced by Israelis who are living in fear as a result of the conflict”.

New Zealand’s Government was also asked to assist refugees and encourage humanitarian support for war victims.

The bishops praised the work of peace campaigners, but acknowledged the challenges faced by both Israel and Palestine.

The Auckland bishops’ statement was issued just after a 72 hour ceasefire in Gaza began.

The ceasefire was the eighth bid to stop the month-long war.


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News category: New Zealand.

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