The WCC and Sabeel on Gaza …

In one of life’s ironies, the IDF attack on a flotilla of ships in international waters off the Gaza coast coincides with the World Council of Churches’ World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel, which you can read about here.
The World Council of Churches issued this statement:

Public statement condemning the assault on a Gaza-bound vessel
For immediate release: 01 June 2010
It is with great distress that the World Council of Churches received the news that the Israeli naval forces stormed a Gaza-bound vessel carrying humanitarian aid in international waters before dawn on Monday, killing at least 10 civilians and injuring many more. We condemn the assault and killing of innocent people who were attempting to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, who have been under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007. We further condemn the flagrant violation of international law by Israel in attacking and boarding a humanitarian convoy in international waters. We pray for all those who are affected by the attack, especially the bereaved families.
We urge the government of Israel to repatriate those detained by the Israeli army.. We call for an immediate release of the impounded ships, and an end to the economic blockade of Gaza. It is our considered opinion that the legitimate humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza be met in accordance with international humanitarian law. We further call the UN Security Council to mandate a full investigation into the assault.
The deplorable events which occurred yesterday off the coast of Gaza remind us yet again of the pressing need for an end to the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories. The World Council of Churches reiterates its commitment to work for just and lasting peace in Palestine and Israel.
Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC General Secretary

Another WCC press release is included after the jump, along with a Litany for Gaza from

From WCC:

The plight of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and the need to hold the Israeli State accountable under international law were highlighted at a roundtable hosted by the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum in Geneva, Switzerland on 31 May. The roundtable was one of the events marking the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.
“After 62 years [in which Palestinians have suffered] continued dispossession, forced displacement, apartheid, occupation and colonization, we just want people to begin to say: the State of Israel is not special, it is not above international law”, said Hazem Jamjoun, a Palestinian activist.“
Why can Israel get away with committing murder, as it did this morning?”, asked Jamjoun, who is communications officer of the BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights. He was referring to the attack carried out earlier that day by the Israeli military against a convoy of vessels bringing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. During the attack up to 10 peace activists were killed and many more injured.
Jamjoun was speaking at a round table on “occupation and dispossession” organized as a part of the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, celebrated between 29 May and 4 June 2010. The week has been convened by the World Council of Churches in cooperation with ecumenical partners and encourages Christians and churches across the world to pray and work for a just peace in Palestine and Israel.
For Jamjoun, the only reason the State of Israel can continue carrying out its policies against the Palestinian people is “because the international community is doing nothing about it”. So he called on the audience to “think how you and your organizations, whether they are state-related or not, can engage in a campaign to hold Israel accountable”.
Participating at the roundtable together with Jamjoun were Caroline and Nathan Finkelstein, two Geneva-based Jewish activists who are members of Urgence Palestine and of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.
“The military occupation strongly influences the life and working conditions of people living under it”, said Nathan Finkelstein. He listed poor salaries, child labour, lack of social benefits and absence of legal rights amongst the consequences of the occupation on Palestinian workers.
“The occupation is simply strangling the Palestinian economy”, Nathan Finkelstein added.
In turn, Caroline Finkelstein spoke about the constant harassment inflicted by Israeli settlers on Palestinian villagers in the occupied territories. For example, she said, in the valley of Wadi Qana, between the cities of Nablous and Qalquiya, a few Palestinian families live surrounded by nine Israeli settlements, considered illegal under international law.“
Those Palestinian families are not allowed to build houses, they have no electricity, cannot dig wells for water, but they are determined to remain in their land”, Caroline Finkelstein said. “These are wonderful people, with so much courage, they will re-plant whatever the settlers destroy.”
In the Jordan Valley, which represents one quarter of the West Bank, “out of 350,000 Palestinians who lived there before 1968, today there are only 5,500 left”, said Caroline Finkelstein. Meanwhile, the valley has been colonized by 36 illegal settlements.
For Jamjoun, Israeli policies aim at the “forced displacement of the largest indigenous population” with the goal to gain “control of a maximum of Palestinian land with a minimum of Palestinian population”.

From Sabeel:

Sabeel’s Litany for Gaza
In the early morning, on May 31, 2010, Israeli forces intercepted a flotilla of 6 ships bound for the Gaza Strip, carrying nearly 700 people and a cargo of medical supplies, pre-fabricated homes, building supplies, and educational materials. The ships were attempting to break the internationally condemned Israeli blockade that, since June 2007, has prevented virtually all people and goods from entering or exiting the Gaza Strip (with the exception of insufficient humanitarian supplies and some aid workers). As the Israeli forces boarded the ships, at least 9 flotilla participants were killed while nearly 60 participants and 10 soldiers were injured. Eventually, all the ships were rerouted and the flotilla participants were arrested or deported. The siege on Gaza continues.
Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre in Jerusalem will hold a day of fasting and prayer on Monday, June 7, for the members of the flotilla, the people of Gaza, and for peace in Palestine and Israel. This litany is offered as a resource for individuals and congregations to use, in part or in whole. It can be adapted and read by 2 or 3 voices. We encourage pastors to use the litany in their Sunday services.
Thus says the Lord: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord. [Jeremiah 9:23-24]
Eternal God, arbiter of justice and champion of peace, reach into the deep pit of violence, despair, and ruthlessness that shapes the lives of so many in Palestine and Israel. The nations are in an uproar, kingdoms totter, people cry out.
You, O God, are our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. [Matthew 5:9]
Grant, O God, healing to the men and women injured during the Israeli military assault. Bring grace and consolation to those who mourn the dead.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be filled.
Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. [Hebrews 13:3]
God who has proclaimed release to the captives and freedom to the oppressed, may all who have been taken prisoner for their involvement in the flotilla return safely home. We remember these and others who are unjustly detained.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, who has sent me to proclaim release to the captives…and to let the oppressed go free.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” [Psalm 46:10]
Lord of all, make known to all in Palestine and Israel that your love extends to all people, that might is not right, that fear begets fear, that love conquers all. Give hope to the many who, in love, speak and act boldly for justice.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
From the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace. [Jeremiah 6:13-14]
God of Justice, we pray that the nations of the world will no longer stand idly by, but uphold the rights of the oppressed in Gaza, the West Bank, and around the globe . We, the peoples of many lands, “reaffirm [our] faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” [UN Charter: Preamble]
Your judgements are just, O Lord, you will hold all nations accountable for what they have done, and also for what they have left undone.
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of justice will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. [Isaiah 32:16-18]
God who offers life in abundance, break the chains of injustice that shackle the people of Gaza. May the blockade that limits food and medicine, toys and cement, culture and trade, friendships and families be swiftly ended. May the people of Gaza and of the West Bank be brought together in unity.
They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. For like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. [Isaiah 65]
“In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” [Matthew 7:12]
God of equity, who knows no distinction between race or creed or colour, help us to be ever impatient in our encounter with injustice and abuse. As ambassadors for Christ, do not allow our hearts to be hardened, but let us live your message of justice, peace and reconciliation.
God, in your grace, transform the world.