The Bishop of Southwark has called for an “immediate ceasefire” to the war in Gaza following a visit to Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun said “military action will only intensify this humanitarian catastrophe” and the conflict risked the West Bank “spiraling deeper into violence”
The Bishop spoke with the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem, priests from Ramallah and Jerusalem, and civil society organisations during his stay from January 14 to 18.
Hamas killed around 1,300 people and took 240 hostages in their surprise attack on southern Israel in October.
Almost 25,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli strikes since, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun said: “The desperate and devastating cost of the war in Gaza was evident in every conversation – and it is abundantly clear that the heaviest price is being paid by the most vulnerable.
“I’m clear that continued military action will only intensify this humanitarian catastrophe and make the prospects for peace more distant.
“As a religious leader, I add my voice to those calling for the release of the hostages and prisoners, and an immediate ceasefire to end this appalling suffering.”
The Bishop also said Christians faced “ongoing discrimination, harassment and abuse” in Israel, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called for a ceasefire in November.
Bishop Christopher is urging churches in Southwark Diocese to pray for and raise funds to support community projects in Jerusalem, Zimbabwe and Southwark.