The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem Appeals for International Protection of Shelters in Gaza

The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem released a statement denouncing the Israeli military’s attacks on churches and religious institutions in the Gaza Strip. The Patriarchate affirmed that the recent attack on the Holy Family Catholic Church, resulting in the tragic murder of a Christian mother and her daughter, within the confines of the Church, along with the injury of seven other civilians, while attempting to provide help, constitute a heinous criminal act of targeting innocent civilians.

The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem pointed out that indiscriminate bombardment and bullets by Israeli snipers inside and around shelters, where forcibly displaced Palestinians seek refuge amid the Israeli aggression on Gaza have resulted in the killing of large numbers of women and children, since the beginning of this brutal war. Quoting Psalm 34:14, “Depart from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it,” the Patriarchate underscored the urgency of ending such adversity.

In a plea for international intervention, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem called on Israel to stop targeting protected sites, as mandated under international law during times of war. These sites include places of worship such as Churches and Mosques, as well as hospitals, which are becoming places of shelter for displaced Palestinians. These appeals reflect the Patriarchate’s unwavering commitment for human rights and multiple appeals for the international community to intervene decisively, putting an end to the indiscriminate killings and protecting civilians in these dire conditions.

Undeterred by external pressure, The Patriarchate affirmed its enduring its humanitarian and moral responsibility. Despite Israel’s constant calls for displaced civilians to evacuate, the Patriarchate emphasized its commitment to providing refuge within its Church and affiliated institutions in Gaza. It reiterated that the divine message of Christ to humanity is one of love and peace, declaring that the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem will uphold this message and will not abandon it at any cost. The statement concluded by invoking the words of Christ from Mathew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

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