A Statement from the President and Vice-President on the situation in Gaza

22 February 2024

We are deeply disappointed that the headlines today are about a parliamentary process and not the horrors of what is happening in Gaza. Such a vote should be above party politics and we urge the UK government to denounce actions that epitomise a collective punishment of the population of Gaza.

The scale of the destruction and tragic loss of life in so short a space of time is incomparable to any other conflict in recent times. We grieve for all lives lost on 7 October and in the subsequent fighting. There is no justification for such widespread killing of tens of thousands of innocent people and we are gravely concerned for the entire population of the Gaza Strip.

One and a half million people currently shelter in crowded conditions with little food and water in the city of Rafah. The horrific strikes on southern Gaza have killed many in recent days and those injured are unable to get treatment because of Israel’s attacks on hospitals.

We were alarmed to hear reports that the Nasser Hospital in Gaza has been shelled, killing patients, staff and others sheltering there. The protection of hospitals during a war is a basic and inescapable requirement in international law.

The International Court of Justice has called on Israel to ensure that its forces do not commit any of the acts covered by the Genocide Convention. Yet attacks on Gaza have continued with inadequate regard to the protection of civilians. For those crowded into Rafah there is nowhere left to go. It is disturbing to hear that some in the Israeli government are discussing the possibility of creating settlements across the Gaza Strip. Time will tell whether what we witness in Gaza today is an ethnic cleansing of the present population.

Meanwhile, for those sheltering without food and water the situation is critical. To meet the basic human needs of such a large population there is no alternative to an immediate ceasefire. We urge our Government to demand an immediate halt to the shelling for the preservation of innocent life and require that Israel abide by the provisional ruling of the International Court of Justice.

We call on Hamas to immediately release the remaining hostages and urge all governments to work with Israeli and Palestinian parties to achieve an agreement that ensures protection, support and a viable future for innocent victims of this conflict and security for all in the region.

In prayer we stand alongside all those in the region whose heart breaks with ours as we witness the unfathomable suffering. With the psalmist we pray:

You are my help and my deliverer;
you are my God, do not delay. (Psalm 40:17)


The Methodist Church in Britain has launched an appeal to support partners of the Methodist Liaison Office who are working in Gaza. Find out more and donate here.