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Belize Council of Churches to ‘evaluate’ its position on Israeli-Hamas Conflict

The Belize Council of Churches shall “evaluate” its current position on the ongoing the Israel-Hamas Conflict, given the “atrocities” observed in Gaza, Acting Head of the Belize Council of Churches (BCC) Senator Bishop Alvin Benguche told The Reporter this week. 

“Based on that continued bombing and atrocities that are taking place … certainly, the Belize Council of Churches will have to evaluate what is currently taking place,” explained Benguche.

While he explained that the BCC has met and had discussions on the matter, they are yet to formulate a formal position and statement, but the Senator indicated that the mounting number of causalities in Gaza requires that the Council assess their stance on the conflict.

Last November, the BCC—in response to the Government of Belize’s decision to suspend diplomatic relations with Israel—had, inter alia, written:

“The recent decision of the Government of Belize to suspend diplomatic relations with Israel, therefore, increase obstacles for Belizeans wanting to visit the Holy Land, is unfortunate, and fails to foster the dialogue necessary for peace; however, we are hopeful to hear that the measures taken stops short of formally revoking relations with Israel. We look forward to the GOB prudently restoring relations when possible. Although much healing and time will be necessary, it is the position of the church that a two-state solution remains the best option in the long-term, where peoples are respected, and the cultures are promoted and preserved.”

Acting Head of the Belize Council of Churches Senator Alvin Benguche

Benguche was unable to say precisely what revision, if any, would be made to their November 2023 position; however, he did clarify that the decision to evaluate their stance on the ongoing conflict had nothing to do with the recent decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which ruled, as part of its provisional measures, that Israel must do everything in its power to prevent genocide.

The case was brought before the ICJ by the South African government.

Earlier this week, following the ICJ’s decision, Belize’s former foreign ministers and prime ministers had issued a joint statement that, among other statements, challenged the churches to re-examine their original statements of concern or objection to the Government’s decision to suspend relations.

It is of note that the BCC and the National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB) had issued separate statements, with the latter having been described as being the more strongly worded of the two.

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