Methodist Church speaks out against ‘unlawful’ Hamas killing

Steve Hucklesby, Secretary for International Affairs for theMethodist Church, made the following comments following the killingof the Hamas Leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin by the Israeli Army inGaza on 22 March, 2004:

"The killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin by the Israeli Governmentseems likely to significantly escalate the cycle of violence inIsrael/Palestine. The Methodist Church wants to acknowledge andaffirm the assertion of the UK Government that this action isincompatible with the rule of law.

The path to peace in the Middle East is unlikely to be achievedthrough violence. We appeal to the Israeli Government to ceaseextra-judicial killings, which over the past 3 years have resultedin the deaths of over 100 bystanders including children. Suicideattacks, such as those organised by Hamas, that indiscriminatelytarget Israeli citizens are counter-productive and harm prospectsfor meaningful dialogue.

We urge the EU, Russia, US and UN to intensify its dialogue withthe Israeli Government and Palestinian Authority. We ask the UKForeign Office to consider how the British/US relationship might beused to require Israel to refrain from actions that are violent orcontravene standards of international law.

Faith groups and peace organisations in both Israel andPalestine deserve our support and prayers for their tireless workin the cause of non-violence and an end to occupation. TheMethodist Church is a partner of the Ecumenical AccompanimentProgramme for Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). This initiative, underthe auspices of the World Council of Churches, places volunteers toaccompany Palestinians and Israelis in their non-violentactions."