‘Buildings not far from my house were hit at least with 20 airstrikes…it was terrifying for the kids. My eldest didn’t leave my side. I could hear her throbbing heartbeats all night.’
- Rana Abdallah, Women's Affairs Center in Gaza.
Recent days have seen the worst violence between Israel and the Palestinians since 2014, with the conflict escalating over the final Ramadan weekend.
Since mid-April, there have been clashes on the streets of Jerusalem - a city both Israelis and Palestinians consider to be their capital. This culminated in violent clashes at the Al Aqsa Mosque leaving hundreds of Palestinians injured.
Tensions have mounted over the threatened eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, a district of east Jerusalem, to pave the way for further Israeli settlement in the illegally annexed part of the city.
Palestinians have been hit disproportionately by the violence. In Gaza alone, as of 17 May, almost 200 people have been killed including 58 children, according to the health ministry. But suffering exists on both sides. In Israel, 10 people have been killed, including one child.
Violence has broken out in towns across Israel with Israeli and Palestinian citizens, leading some to talk of civil war inside Israel.
Palestinians and Israelis deserve better from the international community which must treat both as equals and ensure justice is served if peace is to be achieved.
We invite you to pray with us for Palestinians and Israelis, for a just peace that would enable all to thrive as equals.
God of peace
We pray for all who suffer in the midst of renewed conflict and attack.
We pray for Israelis living with the threat of rocket fire,
for Palestinians subjected to airstrikes, attempted shootings
living under military occupation and facing eviction from their homes.
In particular, we pray for children and young people
caught up in terror beyond their understanding or control.
We pray for those who have been killed, maimed, bereaved;
those who have had their future torn away from them;
those whose lives are bleak, lacking opportunity and hope.
We pray for the people of Gaza,
living under blockade,
repeated military bombardment,
and now the threat of ground invasion
that will cause an escalation of deaths
and a descent into the depths of hell.
We repent of our complicity in silence,
our closing our eyes to the needs and wellbeing of the children
and our failure to reject the ways of violence, threat and injustice.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our peace and our hope.
You have always stood in solidarity with us and helped us raise our voice.
- Rana Abdallah, Women's Affairs Center in Gaza.
Prayer as we weep
Jesus, coming down from the Mount of Olives,
you wept over Jerusalem
and we weep with you now
over traumatised families
and their exhaustion with fear
over the escalating death toll
and the threat of a ground invasion
over the incitement and abuse of power
and innocent civilians paying the price
over the failure of the international community
to do all they can to intervene and stop the conflict.
Help us all to recognise on this day
all the things that make for peace.
Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane
you prayed with deep grief
and we pray with great sorrow now
that no further blood would be spilled
that this cup of suffering be removed
from Palestinians and Israelis
and that Gaza would not descend to hell.
This is not what you want.
We pray for international intervention,
for an immediate cessation of all violence,
for Israel and Palestine to be treated as equal
and for a resurrection of peace and justice for all.
In your mercy, hear our prayer.
If we are serious about a just peace then we need to recognise both Israel and Palestine as equals. We don't need to hate one side and love the other...There is a future for all in that place where all can be who they are and feel secure. But only if we respect the rights and dignity of all.
- William Bell, Christian Aid Head of Middle East Policy and Advocacy.
Prayer for a just peace
O God of Sarah and Abraham,
our tears are mixed with yours, weeping for the cities in the world.
We weep for the holy cities and especially for Jerusalem:
where brothers and sisters kill each other,
where hatred feeds and nourishes anger,
where animosity blinds mercy,
where religions divide, as children learn to hate and the elderly nurse old grudges.
With Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, we pray:
Teach us to walk the way that leads to life.
Transform our grief into determination,
our tears into action, and our acts into a just peace.
Points for prayer
You may prefer time of silence and free prayer, with petitions relevant to the current news. Some suggestions are given below:
- Pray for the immediate cessation of all violence.
- Pray for the halting of evictions of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem.
- Pray for all households facing the threat of displacement by settler organisations that this threat will be removed.
- Pray for effective international intervention and the ground invasion of Gaza would not happen.
- Pray for all Palestinian and Israeli children living in fear, that they may be comforted and kept safe.
- Pray that all those working for peace in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory will be strengthened.
- Pray for Palestinians and Israelis to be treated as equals, with their dignity upheld, and for all who live there to be secure.
- Pray for all our partners living and working in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory that they would know they are not forgotten.