Enough is Enough: Statement of the ACT Palestine forum on the Situation in Gaza

As Christians, we witness the ongoing barbarities in Gaza with heavy hearts.

The atrocities we see daily challenge international humanitarian law and our Christian principles of compassion, solidarity, dignity, respect, inclusion, and justice. It is unacceptable that faith-based and civil society organizations providing humanitarian assistance in Palestine face barriers to delivering life-saving assistance to those in desperate need. It is also unsufferable that many churches and people of faith remain silent and don’t denounce what is going on in Gaza. We must clearly state that “Enough is enough!” Denying millions of Palestinian people access to the essentials for their survival, is an outrage. Aid agencies report that half a million people in Gaza are on the brink of starvation, while the entire population of 2.3 million faces acute food shortages. Despite compelling evidence, the international community has yet to take decisive action to prevent the worst.

If not the institutions that bear a strong moral compass, like the churches, then who else will raise their voices to denounce these injustices against humanity? It is our collective responsibility to advocate for compassion, inclusion, and justice, based on our intrinsic moral responsibility. As Christians, we are obligated to manifest the interconnectedness of peace and security with our beliefs, in the context of our economic, social, and political life together. Our theological  positions should find pragmatic expression in our actions to denounce injustices and announce the Good News. The cries of present hardships in Gaza and the lack of political will to ensure long-lasting peace resonate in the heavens. The urgent calls for aid serve as a rebuke against any notion that our Christian and faith-based institutions bear no responsibility to advocate alongside those in distress. We must  champion peace and justice by using our influence, values, and moral authority to foster dialogue, reconciliation, and respect for human dignity among the conflicting parties. We must demand, as humanitarian faith-based organizations, to be able to deliver humanitarian assistance free from barriers.  We can use our platforms to advocate, as we know that our guidance can shape public opinion and encourage positive actions.

There is no peace without justice, nor justice without peace.

A superficial peace that ignores underlying injustices is fragile and unsustainable. True peace requires addressing the root causes of the conflict in Palestine, ensuring fairness, the application of international conventions and the upholding of human rights. Pursuing justice through violent means perpetuates cycles of revenge and conflict, therefore, justice must be pursued in ways that promote reconciliation, healing, and stability.

The disproportionate response by the Israeli armed forces to the massacre carried out by Hamas on October 7, 2023 has moved beyond what can reasonably be called “self-defense.” The right to self-defense has its limits in international law and in the principles we collectively depend on to enable humanitarian access and assistance. These have now been massively eroded.

The International Criminal Court (ICC), is currently analyzing South Africa’s genocide case against Israel. As faith-based organizations committed to international law we support the Court in its crucial and difficult work.  However, protecting civilians from the scourge of conflict and war crimes is everybody’s responsibility.

Religious leaders and actors have a significant responsibility in actively preventing atrocities. In line with the ACT Alliance engagement in the “Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence that could lead to Atrocity Crimes”, and the promotion of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, we are called to work towards the prevention of atrocities and genocide.

We have a duty to speak out.

Therefore, we call on all ACT Alliance members and their related churches to proactively engage to stop the atrocities and promote peace and dignity for the people affected by the conflict. This includes:

  • Call for an immediate ceasefire to allow aid into Gaza, protect civilians, and uphold human rights;
  • Call on their government to take decisive action to prevent further suffering in Gaza and advocate for increased humanitarian assistance and support for the Gaza’s population, particularly for those on the brink of starvation, the sick and injured.
  • Call on churches and religious leaders to break their silence and speak out against the injustices in Gaza and to mobilize and support efforts for peace, justice, and humanitarian assistance;
  • Urge the conflicting parties to allow unhindered access for humanitarian organizations to deliver life-saving assistance;.
  • Appeal to all parties involved in the conflict to adhere to international humanitarian law and to prioritize the protection of civilians;
  • Call  for an immediate ceasefire and the reopening of a dialogue towards a lasting peace agreement;
  • Stress the significant responsibility of religious leaders in denouncing the risk factors of genocide and preventing atrocities;
  • Call on religious leaders to use their moral authority to advocate for peace, justice, and the protection of human rights in Gaza;
  • Support efforts towards accountability and justice through legal mechanisms such as the International Criminal Court.