Christian groups join in the observance of the World Week of Prayer for Peace in Palestine and Israel on Sept. 28 in Manila. (Photo by Mark Saludes)
Christian churches in the Philippines joined the observance of the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel.
The Sept. 21-28 event was highlighted by the celebration of the International Day of Peace, an initiative of the World Council of Churches.
"Commitment to peace is an imperative of our faith and an obligation," said Minnie Anne Calub, acting general secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.
She said Filipinos have a moral duty to "promote peace not just in our country but in places with so much violence."
"Our faith calls us to participate in the establishment of a meaningful and just social order," added Calub.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict started in 1948 after the establishment of the state of Israel.
In 2017, Human Rights Watch reported that from January to November of the previous year Israeli security forces killed 62 Palestinians, including 14 children, and injured at least 3,494 others. Palestinian forces, meanwhile, killed at least 15 Israelis including 10 security officers.
Calub said churches in the Philippines have been praying for an end to hostilities.
Rommel Linatoc, ecumenical relations director of the council of churches, appealed to the international community to put more pressure on Israel to engage in "more sincere peace negotiations."
Romulo Tuazon of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance said Israel's continuing implementation of military rule over occupied Palestinian territories is an admission of its "failure to govern and failure to institute reforms in a peaceful way."
Father Chris Ablon of the Philippine Independent Church said Christian missionaries should serve as "ecumenical accompaniers" in Israeli-Palestinian conflict areas.
"We can never give up and we should not give up on peace. Let us join the people of the world in our common quest for peace,” said the priest.