Israel-Hamas war: Don’t harm innocent people, CAN pleads with Israel
The Christian Association of Nigeria has pleaded with the nation of Israel not to attack innocent people in its bid to get back at Hamas the terrorist Palestinian group that launched an offensive against it over the weekend.
Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on Saturday, October 7 leaving over 200 Israeli dead. The onslaught which took Israel unawares has led to more loss of lives since Israel launched a counter-attack.
So far the death toll in the conflict between Palestine and Israel has reached a record high since 2014 according to a report on CNN. The latest violence has caused more than 1000 deaths in Israel and approximately 900 in Gaza as of Oct. 10, according to authorities on both sides.
But CAN in a statement made available to Church Times on Wednesday, October 11 urged Israel not to attack civilians in the battle.
The body in the statement signed by its President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh noted that the attack by Hamas on Israeli citizens is distressing.
“It undermines the pursuit of global peace. CAN firmly condemns any act of violence that threatens the lives of innocent individuals, regardless of their nationality or religious background.”
While recognizing Israel’s right to self-defense CAN emphasized the importance of “proportionality and the avoidance of harm to innocent civilians in any military response. The loss of innocent lives on both sides of the conflict is a tragic consequence of this escalating situation”
CAN called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and violence between Israel and Palestine. “We believe in the sanctity of human life and the principles of justice and peace, as upheld by our Christian faith. We urge all parties involved to engage in dialogue and seek diplomatic solutions.”
The body suggested that “the airlifting of Pilgrims from Nigeria to Israel be suspended until normalcy returns in the area noting that “the ongoing conflict in the region raises concerns about the safety and well-being of Nigerian pilgrims.”
The war according to CAN also holds significant implications for Nigeria’s faith communities. “It is crucial for religious leaders and communities in Nigeria to actively promote understanding, compassion, and peaceful coexistence among diverse religious groups. We must resist the temptation to allow this conflict to deepen divisions or inflame religious tensions within our nation, Nigeria.”
it then called for prayers for the repose of the souls of those who were killed in the violent attack and the resultant war.
The association encouraged all religious congregations in Nigeria to “engage in fervent prayers for peace and unity in the region, for the protection and well-being of those affected by the conflict, and for the speedy release of the abducted individuals”