Hopes for peace in the Holy Land
9 November 2023
Opinion piece by Lorraine Currie, Chief Executive of SCIAF
“Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.”
The atrocities committed in Israel on 7th October have no justification. The taking of hostages is unacceptable. Just as we utterly condemn the vile atrocities committed that day, we must also condemn the carnage which has followed in Gaza. No horror can justify the committing of further horrors. No act of violence against civilians can be justified by politics, and the murder of a single human being is not worth any cause – no ends can justify such means.
We condemn actions which further stoke violence and division and stand with all leaders working to build peace justice and reconciliation.
Alongside Pope Francis, we are calling for an urgent ceasefire to put an end to this escalation of violence, and we call on all other world leaders to follow his lead.
We must both recognise that this conflict did not begin with the atrocities of 7th October, seeing this in the wider historical context, and, despite the decade of violence, we must not lose hope. We must believe that this peace is possible, even in the darkest of days when it feels too far out of reach. We need to believe that this conflict will not rage forever, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. But while we may believe that this conflict will eventually end, we also know that peace is not inevitable; it does not occur spontaneously or by accident. Peace is built through courage, wisdom, patience and resolve; qualities the world desperately needs from its leaders now. Peace is built through ambitious, consistent, predictable and just foreign policy; uniformly applied and stringently adhered to, spanning many years, unbroken by the whims of election cycles. After an immediate ceasefire and support for humanitarian access, this must be our priority.
Leaders around the world must now do all they can to end this tragic suffering as quickly as possible and build a peaceful future for the region. This conflict must not be allowed to breed further conflict. Our leaders must utterly condemn any act of violence which through intent or negligence leads to the murder of civilians, and ensure all responses to this conflict are consistent with humanitarian law. We must build a pathway towards a global rules-based order, where diplomacy can thrive and war can evanesce.
We deeply mourn the devastating loss of innocent lives in Israel and Gaza in recent weeks. With each passing day, the relentless destruction takes a heavier toll and the chance of long-term peace in the region feels like an impossible dream. But we must not lose hope. As we mourn we must also cry out for peace, and beg those with power to have the courage, prudence and wisdom to hear these cries and invest in building a lasting peace.
The violence we have seen since 7th October must be a turning point, a moment where we all come together and say “never again”.
We call for the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to urgently:
- Press all parties to agree to an immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities
- Attempt to secure the release of all innocent people held against their will
- Press all parties to allow emergency aid to be delivered to Gaza, ensuring unfettered humanitarian access including delivery of medical supplies, food, fuel and water
- Promote adherence to international humanitarian law by all actors and work to ensure civilians are protected from military acts across the world
- Work together as part of a broad and diverse global coalition of nations, provide significant, long-term and unwavering support to renewed efforts for lasting peace in the Holy Land
Call on the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary to take action
Together with the people of Israel, mourning the dead in Gaza; together with the people of Gaza, mourning the dead in Israel. Together with people across world, inspired by Pope Francis, we cry out for “Peace, Shalom, Salaam”.