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Religious Leaders Johnson, Grigg on Gaza Conflict

Jan 19, 2009, 5:46 AM

As the war between Isreal and Palestine rages on, two religious leaders namelyRt. Rev S Tilewa Johnson and The Chairman Superintendent Rt. Rev. Norman Grigg have added their voice in calling on both parties in the conflict to exercise restraint and allow peace to prevail in the region. Below is the unedited version of their statements .

Rev S Tilewa Johnson

Wars have never really resolved any conflict; differences are, almost always, resolved around negotiating tables.
The UN Security Council should be supported in its efforts toward the cessation of hostilities. Networks and regional groupings that have good rapport with the warring factions must endeavour to bring Hamas and the Israeli leadership around the negotiation table without further delay.
There are clear instances of gross violation of innocent people's human rights. Pain, grief, wanton destruction cannot be of God, our Creator. I therefore, call on all God-honouring and God-fearing people to do whatever they can - donate, march, pray, fast - for the resolution of the current conflict. Let good sense prevail!
May the peace and tranquillity that the Great God of Nations has so graciously endowed us here in The Gambia, be the experience of the people of Gaza and civilians in the border towns of Southern Israel, sooner than later.

 Rev. Norman Grigg

The Gaza Strip is in an area of our world which people of Muslim, Jewish and Christian persuasion regard with affection and reverence, being so near the Holy Places of our religions. The carnage and massacre being perpetrated there since December 27thcannot be viewed by any of us as anything less than appalling. All people of faith preach peace and to see so many innocent victims and the annihilation of women and children, with a death toll now of over 1,000 people, is nothing less than a total violation of basic human rights.

Whatever the political arguments may be, there can be absolutely no moral justification for the way in which the Israeli forces have gone about this military operation. And, if as is alleged, there are also deliberate moves to block off humanitarian support in the form of medical and food aid, then the crime against humanity is further compounded.

It is incumbent for both sides to listen to the call of the United Nations' Security Council to work towards the cessation of hostilities and to co-operate with the international community and join them at the negotiating table. Until people talk together there will be no realistic way to find solutions to the political differences and the border controversies which are proffered as the excuse for this inexcusable action. War has never resolved any conflict and until negotiations for a peaceful settlement begin there is little hope of resolution of this sad and devastating action.

We can only pray that God, who is a lover of peace and concord, not conflict and enmity, will guide all the political leaders in ways which lead to peace.