Palestinian Christians caught between Hamas terrorists and Israeli military assaults on Gaza are praying for an end to violence because “they cannot stand it anymore,” a Baptist pastor in Ramallah stated.
Pastor Munir Kakish, who serves churches both in Ramallah in the West Bank and Ramla in Central Israel, is president of the Council of Local Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land.
In an Oct. 22 email to the Baptist Standard, he reported Attallah Tarzi, an elder in the Gaza Baptist Church, sustained minor injuries, and his sister was killed two days earlier.
“He told me they pray that this evil would stop, as they cannot stand it anymore,” Kakish wrote. “Others told us the smell of the dead under the ruins is very bad.
“They want the war to stop. They have nothing to do with all that is taking place. They are the innocent and are victims of hate, destruction and bombing.”
Kakish noted several members of his church in Ramallah have relatives in Gaza. Some who sought shelter in St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza City were among the casualties of an Israeli airstrike.
Pastor Hanna Massad, founding president of Christian Mission to Gaza, reported his aunt, Elaine Tarazi, also was killed in the same attack.
“It is a painful and heart-wrenching time for all of us,” Massad wrote in an Oct. 22 email to supporters of his ministry.
“Please pray for God’s comforting presence to surround and sustain those who are grieving. The pain of losing loved ones is immeasurable, and we need strength to endure it.”
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Three decades ago, Kakish and his family took into their home a boy from Gaza, George Soury, for 12 years. He eventually returned to Gaza, where he married and raised a family. His son, Subhi, was injured in the airstrike on Gaza.
“His wife, son and daughter all died,” Kakish wrote. “Pray for this young man who lost three members of his family.”
At the time he wrote the email, Kakish reported “many of the roads are closed, and travel is difficult” in the West Bank.
Kakish directs Home of New Life, a ministry to orphans and other vulnerable children in Ramallah. He reported children at Hope of New Life are safe but frightened and confused.
“Pray for the children who are deeply affected psychologically by the violence,” he wrote.
While Ramallah, about 10 miles north of Jerusalem, was secure, he noted the situation was volatile.
“Missiles do not reach our area. However, we are locked into town, and there will be violent demonstrations when the army enters Gaza. We will remain at home and not even go to stores or school when that happens. We have extra food supplies for when the situation escalates,” Kakish wrote.
Situation ‘seems to deteriorate more every day’
Kakish is founding director of RCO Ministries, formerly Ramallah Christian Outreach. He noted his ministry routinely provides food boxes to needy families in the West Bank, and he anticipates doing the same in Gaza when permitted to do so.
“Pray for the situation here,” he wrote early on Oct. 22. “It seems to deteriorate more every day.”
In fact, the Associated Press reported later that same day a surge in violence in the West Bank as the Israeli military pursued Palestinian militants. The Palestinian Health Ministry in the West Bank reported 91 Palestinians killed there since Oct. 7.
Kakish asked Christians to pray for peace in the region.
“Pray for the injured to recover and be healed from their injuries. Pray for the destruction to be stopped,” he wrote.
“Pray for the leaders locally and abroad to bring a solution for the situation. Pray for both peoples, Palestinians and Israelis, to be able to live in peace and each have his borders and a nation in which to live within the borders.”
He asked Christians in the United States to remember “God loves both people groups”—Palestinians and Israelis—and desires they all come to recognize their need for Christ.