Calls from thousands of CAFOD supporters for the UK government to push for a ceasefire in the conflict in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory have been shared with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
The messages, sent by CAFOD supporters to the Foreign Secretary, were delivered alongside calls for an end to the violence from more than 300,000 people in the UK.
A group of campaigners shared the call for peace as part of a candle-lit vigil on Whitehall.
“The message from hundreds of thousands of people in the UK is clear,” said Neil Thorns, Director of Advocacy at CAFOD.
“We need a ceasefire, and we need one today. Responding to the atrocities committed by Hamas with what amounts to a collective punishment of civilians living in the occupied Palestinian territory is leading to unimaginable levels of death and suffering.”
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, has warned that the bombardment of Gaza “will only cause more death and destruction and will only increase hatred and resentment.”
The Cardinal said that continued violence “will not solve any problem, but rather create new ones. It is time to stop this war, this senseless violence.”
CAFOD has already joined Christian Aid, Church leaders and Christian organisations to call on all governments with influence to help bring an immediate end to the violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. In particular they are calling for the following steps to be taken:
Protection of civilians and an end to all violence, with adoption of a ceasefire without conditions.
The unconditional and immediate release of all hostages.
Unfettered and immediate humanitarian access, as urged by the UN, including immediate reconnection to water and electricity.
Unequivocal support for the ICC to conduct a truly independent investigation into all war crimes to ensure accountability.
Acknowledgement of the failure of the international community to effectively engage with any meaningful peace process, and a commitment to work ceaselessly from now on to address the root causes of the violence which must include an end to the occupation.
The organisations involved in the vigil and the delivery of messages to the UK government were CAFOD, Action Against Hunger, Christian Aid, Oxfam and Save the Children.