On the Gaza Conflict
July 22, 2014
As events continue to unfold in Israel and Gaza, we in the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC) are grieved by the human cost and suffering occasioned by the current conflict. While members of our community may lean more toward support for Israel or for Gaza, together we know how important it is for us to maintain connections and dialogue with one another, especially when some would polarize the debate and end discussion.
Regardless of our individual stances, we share a recognition of our common humanity and a conviction that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must cease, that there is no violent solution to that conflict, that all human life is valued, and that all parties must cooperate to achieve a just and lasting peace on behalf of God’s children who reside in the land that many of us call holy.
We affirm these guiding principles, articulated during previous armed conflicts in Gaza:
- We acknowledge the long, complex, and painful history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;
- We acknowledge the wide range of deeply-held beliefs, and intensely-felt narratives on all sides;
- We mourn the loss of innocent lives in Gaza and in Israel;
- We deplore any invocation of religion as a justification for violence, for the deprivation of people’s dignity, or for the denial of human rights;
- We decry any use of inflammatory rhetoric that demonizes others, fostering hatred and disrespect; and
- We believe that just solutions to the conflict are better served by political and diplomatic means.
Guided by these principles, we recognize the urgent need for the prompt implementation of a just and lasting peace. Toward that end,
- We call upon the United States and the international community to intercede with the goal of helping to establish a permanent cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas;
- We call for an immediate and significant increase in humanitarian aid to address the needs of the people of Gaza, and support for trauma counseling for all those affected; we call upon all parties involved to join in taking responsibility to address those human needs;
- We call upon all parties involved in the conflict to work sincerely and vigorously toward a just and lasting peace that addresses and promotes the national aspirations of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.