Statement by Religions for Peace Australia: Ending the Conflict in Israel and Palestine

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Religions for Peace Australia is Australia’s largest interfaith organization with a presence in every state and territory. In light of the recent tragic events in Palestine and Israel beginning on October 7th. 2023, Religions for Peace Australia is deeply concerned with the suffering and loss of life on all sides. We call upon multi-faith communities across the world to lead by example, fostering unity and understanding.

May we hold in our prayers and meditations all those affected by the situation unfolding in Gaza as well as on the West Bank and across Israel. We recognise and honour the humanity of all peoples living across the lands of Palestinians and Israelis. We condemn the attacks on innocent Jewish Israeli civilians and on innocent Muslim and Christian Palestinians. We call upon all faith communities across the world to work for peace, justice and reconciliation in the State of Israel. We call upon all parties to adhere to international legal provisions and to respect human rights as outlined in the various United Nations’ Declarations and Covenants.

  • We call for an immediate ceasefire from Hamas and Israel and the exercise of maximum restraint, urging all stakeholders to engage in peaceful dialogue and negotiations in recognition that violence only perpetuates suffering and death.
  • We call for a measured response to this conflict in allowing a ceasefire, essential aid given to civilians in need, and a brokered peace agreement. This moment calls us to slow down and reflect, sit with the pain and complexity, and grapple with our discomfort. It is a moment for remembering our deep yearning for peace and justice, and building bridges across differences. It is only through compassion and empathy that we will find a different way.
  • We call for the immediate release of all Israeli hostages and all Palestinian political prisoners. We urge the protection of all civilians, especially women and children, as to be of the utmost importance.
  • We urgently call for humanitarian aid and basic requirements of life to be restored to all residents of Gaza, including food, fuel, water, electricity, and medical care. No person should have to live in fear or flee for their safety.
  • We support all movements of reconciliation and justice that recognise and affirm the humanity, dignity, and desire of all peoples to live in peace. We express our sacred solidarity with Israel/Palestine.

Solidarity with the Jewish Community and the Muslim and Christian Palestinian Communities in Australia.

We feel the pain of those who have settled from these lands and faiths in Australia. We identify with their pain and aspire to work together to uplift our shared humanity.

When we fall back into our separate and distinct identities, we risk becoming part of the problem, not the solution. All involved suffer from the ongoing trauma.

We know this is not the only war zone in a troubled world. We pray for peace for communities in Myanmar, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, on the Korean peninsula, Ethiopia, Sudan and in other countries.

We also encourage the world’s media to champion responsible reporting, avoiding misinformation and disinformation. Their role in promoting reconciliation and understanding is crucial during these times of conflict.

Religions for Peace Australia as committed multifaith leaders are committed to holding complex truths and striving to overcome polarisation. We are committed to the principles of compassion, wisdom and reconciliation. In these times of concern, let us come together in action and prayer to end the suffering and to build a better future for all.

Religions for Peace Australia

Links to Aid Agencies supplying relief

Here are links for Humanitarian Aid Agencies providing support for communities on the ground in Gaza and Israel

UNRWA – United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East has an urgent 90-day Appeal

Red Cross / Red Crescent – The neutrality of Red Cross Red Crescent helps to build trust and gain access to people in need.

The Jewish Agency for Israel – Fund for Victims of Terror, bringing comfort to lives in upheaval.

Human Appeal Australia – To strengthen humanity’s fight against poverty and social injustice, dedicating efforts to emergency relief and long term sustainable development

Act for Peace – international humanitarian agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, with a project providing urgent medical assistance and supplies to Gaza.