World Council of Churches condemns
the assassination of Sheikh Yassin
23 March 2004

Peter Weiderud, director of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches (WCC/CCIA) made the following comments after the killing of Hamas spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin by the Israeli Army in Gaza on 22 March, 2004:

“Through the targeted assassination of Sheikh Yassin, Israel has chosen to violate international law once again. This action fosters hatred and will likely lead to more bloodshed. It can neither ensure peace nor human security.

We are appalled that the State of Israel continues to resort to extra-judicial executions. Every attack has resulted in the unlawful killing of innocent bystanders, including children. These actions as well as Israel’s public official threats to continue to assassinate Palestinians with impunity are totally unacceptable by the WCC and will always be condemned as unlawful.

We therefore call on Israel to put an immediate end to its policies of targeted assassinations. The Council also calls on Palestinian armed groups to immediately stop targeting Israeli civilians in indiscriminate suicide bombings and other attacks. We reaffirm our strong conviction that non-violent means of resistance and peaceful negotiations are the only way to achieve peace and security for both the Palestinians and Israelis and a lasting, viable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.”