Lutheran body calls for de-escalation of violence in the Holy Land after day of deadly violence

(Photo: REUTERS / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)Palestinians chant slogans during the funeral of three senior Hamas commanders, who were killed in an Israeli air strike, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 21, 2014. Israel killed three senior Hamas commanders in an air strike on the Gaza Strip on Thursday, the clearest signal yet that Israel is intent on eliminating the group's military leadership after a failed attempt on the life of its top commander this week. Hamas, which dominates Gaza, named the men as Mohammed Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Barhoum and said they were killed in the bombing of a house in the southern town of Rafah. All three were described as senior Hamas military figures.

The Lutheran World Federation has expresses dismay over the escalating violence and disproportionate use of force against demonstrators at the Gaza border which has led to the death of dozens of people and more than 2,500 people wounded.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry said 58 people had been killed in the violence.

The carnage took place in in protests at the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, according to Palestinian officials. the same day the United State fulfilled its controversial promise to move its embassy to the contested city of Jerusalem.

It was the deadliest single day of protests in a weeks-long campaign from Hamas in the run up to the U.S. embassy move and the Nakba, or 'Catastrophe', on May 15 - celebrated in Israel as its 70th birthday.

The Gaza Strip is only 25 miles (40 kilometers) long is 365 square kilometres where 1.8 million people are squeezed in.

"The LWF urges the parties involved to show utmost restraint and work towards the de-escalation of the conflict," it said in a statement.

The LWF said it stands in full support with its member church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and its May 14 statement on the Opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan & the Holy Land said it was deeply concerned about the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem noting that it is a holy city to three faiths, Christianity, Islam and Judaism and not just one.

"The LWF regrets that its urgent request to the U.S. administration to refrain from recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was disregarded."

At its 12 Assembly in May 2017 in Windhoek, Namibia, the LWF called for:

"A final status agreement that affirms two states for two peoples, internationally recognized borders between Israel and a viable, contiguous Palestine based on the 1967 armistice lines, security guarantees for Israel and Palestine, mutual recognition and full and equal rights for their citizens, a fair resolution to the Palestinian refugee issue and a shared Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians with free access to the holy sites for the three monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam."

The LWF called on the international community to seek with new vigor a peaceful resolution of the long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

The LWF called on its member churches to: "Urge their respective governments to multi-laterally work towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

"Pray for peace with justice to be established so that no more blood is shed on the Holy Land."

Copyright © 2018 Ecumenical News