Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Methodists back call for ending 'siege' (JTA)
The leader of U.S. Methodists endorsed a letter urging Israel to end the "siege" of the Gaza Strip.

In his endorsement of the statement by Holy Land clerics, Bishop Felton May of the United Methodist Church also recognized Israeli security needs.

"The issues are complex, involving control of borders, the movement of food and fuel into Gaza, the continuing launch of rockets into Israel from the militant Hamas faction in Gaza and retaliatory actions by Israel," said a Jan. 25 statement issued by May. "Israeli policy inflexibility is intensified by the actions of Hamas and its rockets."

Israel has sealed Gaza in a bid to end intensified rocket attacks on civilians in Israel's south.

"One and a half million people imprisoned and without proper food or medicine, 800,000 without electricity supply; this is illegal collective punishment, an immoral act in violation of the basic human and natural laws as well as International Law," said the Jan. 22 statement signed by Christian leaders in Israel and Palestinian areas. "It cannot be tolerated anymore. The siege over Gaza should end now."

May added: "I share the astonishment of Christian leaders in Israel-Palestine that the Israeli government would even temporarily block the movement of food and fuel into Gaza. Political expediency cannot be used to starve -- or threaten to starve -- people or to demean the humanity of any people."

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