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      BERLIN, 13 OCTOBER 2023

      Statement by Pirmin Spiegel on the conflict in Israel/Palestinian territories

      In his "political theology," Johann Baptist Metz coined the terms "interruptions" and "authority of the suffering". The events of the past Saturday in the Middle East are "an interruption," and we are hearing about the "authority of the suffering".

      The events that have unfolded since last Saturday mark a turning point. We are witnessing a shocking, inhuman brutality. The attack by Hamas, which we condemn in the strongest possible terms, is causing unspeakable suffering for countless people, families, friends and neighbours, far beyond Israel. There is no qualifying the terror perpetrated by Hamas. Violence and counter-violence are not values that can be set off against each other. For the people of Gaza, the bombardment that has occurred since Saturday as a response by the Israelis is yet another disaster.

      For us and for Misereor's work, the escalation of violence has made a deep impact. We have received a number of messages from employees of our partner organisations who have invested a huge amount of effort on both sides of the Green Line to bring about understanding, dialogue and lasting peace and who are now fearing for their lives in bunkers and cellars. And who are emailing us, whenever it is possible to do so, to let us know that they are especially determined and willing to continue their work now more than ever!

      In view of this fact, we have little choice at the moment but to stand by our partners in the Palestinian territories and Israel. For us, it would send the wrong signal if BMZ funds were called into question that support the very civil society stakeholders working for reconciliation and peace in the region, especially in the current situation of dire need.

      Today our prayers, our solidarity and our sympathy are particularly with the civil society in Israel and the Palestinian territories and with all those who suffer from these acts of violence and yet continue to hold on to their hope for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians.

      The director of a Jewish-Christian-Muslim organisation sent the following message:
      ‘Our desperate hope is that the killing will stop – and that from all the pain we will perhaps finally understand that violence and military might will never be the answer and will never bring the peace, justice and security that we all long for, whether we are Palestinians or Israelis.’

      The head of Misereor's Israeli partner organisation "Rabbis for human rights":
      ‘It is already evident that the new reality awaiting us cannot be like yesterday. The big question that arises is whether we will be swept along by those failed concepts, which have proven to be detrimental time and time again, or if we will turn towards something fundamentally different, a path that will ensure not only our peace but also theirs, our future alongside theirs, our dignity standing shoulder to shoulder with theirs.’

      Our partner organisation "Breaking the Silence":
      ‘There are some things that must be made crystal clear: Hamas has committed crimes that should horrify any decent person. As people who firmly criticise Israeli policy in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank on a daily basis, it is our moral duty to state things as they are: this weekend, Hamas blatantly violated humanity’s basic moral norms.’

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