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Statement on Jerusalem synagogue attack

Statement from the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expressing concer over attack on Israeli worshippers at Jerusalem synagogue.

18 November 2014

I was deeply concerned and saddened to hear of the attack this morning on a synagogue in west Jerusalem which has resulted in the deaths of four Jewish worshippers. There is a particular horror in any such attack which takes place at a place of worship. I condemn this violence unequivocally, as I do all violence between the peoples and communities of this region which has seen so much bloodshed in the name of religion. Violence, collective punishments and communal attacks can only further damage the prospects of peace and justice for all.

I am therefore also deeply concerned about the heightened tensions, some of an explicitly religious nature, which are being experienced in Jerusalem during the current time - and the risk that such tensions may spill over into further acts of violence or incitement. It is important that all responsible authorities - including civil, religious and law enforcement - take proactive steps to prevent any reprisals by extremist groups.

The tensions and tragedies of this city, holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, are a reminder both of the need for all parties to continue to work intensively for a just peace in Israel/Palestine, and of the vital place that Jerusalem itself plays in that longed-for peace. There has been too much prevarication, postponement and obstruction: all parties and powers need to work proactively to find a solution which will meet the demands of justice and the hopes of all people of good faith. The frustration over the failing peace processes, as well as the increasing settlements and continued occupation, will require new initiatives that can overcome the obstacles to peace and build trust in a common future.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary