Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Ceasefire Deal Between Israel and Hamas Announced
- Iran Speaker Confirms Military Aid to Hamas
- Church of England Rejects Women Bishops
Ceasefire Deal Between Israel and Hamas Announced
After a deadly eight-day conflict, Israel and Gaza militants agreed to a ceasefire effective Wednesday at 9 p.m. (2 p.m. ET), Egypt's foreign minister announced at a press conference, Fox News reports. Mohammed Kamel Amr made the announcement in Cairo, flanked by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "Egypt is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of international peace," Clinton said. The ceasefire agreement was later confirmed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reuters reported that Netanyahu warned in a statement that more forceful action may be necessary if the ceasefire deal is unsuccessful. President Barack Obama called Netanyahu and commended the decision; Obama also spoke with Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and thanked him for his efforts in the deal. According to a copy of the agreement obtained by the Associated Press, Israel will end its policy of assassinating top Hamas officials, and Hamas is promising to stop all rocket fire from the many militant groups operating in the Gaza Strip. After a 24-hour cooling-off period, Israel pledges to ease its blockade of Gaza, though there are no firm assurances on how that will be done. Israel has maintained that blockade since Hamas seized power in Gaza in 2007, and has gradually lifted many of the restrictions.
Iran Speaker Confirms Military Aid to Hamas
Iran has supplied military aid to the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza, Iran's parliament speaker said Wednesday, reports AFP. "We are proud to defend the people of Palestine and Hamas ... and that our assistance to them has been both financial and military," Ali Larijani said without elaborating. Iran has never made a secret of its support for Israel's foes Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, but generally avoids mention of sending military aid. Israel has accused Iran of supplying Hamas with its Fajr 5 missile, used to target Tel Aviv since Israel launched its offensive on Gaza on Nov. 14. The Fajr 5 rocket can hit targets up to 75 kilometers (46 miles) away, a far greater range than the home-produced Qassam rockets used in the past by Palestinian militants in Gaza to target Israel. Iran's Revolutionary Guards chief Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari claimed Wednesday that Tehran was only responsible for having shared the missile's "technology." According to Jafari, "Iran provides technical assistance to all Muslims who fight against world arrogance," a term used by Iranian officials to describe the West and Israel. Iran also stepped up calls for Gazans to be "armed to defend" themselves and urged the Muslim world to retaliate against Israel.
Church of England Rejects Women Bishops
In a surprise move that shocked both sides of a years-long debate, the Church of England on Tuesday (Nov. 20) rejected an expected move to allow women bishops, the Religion News Service reports. Many of the 470 members of the church's three-tiered General Synod (bishops, clergy and laity) were stunned that the House of Laity couldn't garner a two-thirds majority in favor of women bishops. The vote failed by just five votes, 132 to 74, after easily passing the bishops and clergy. "The consequence of the 'no' vote of terminating any further consideration of the draft legislation means that it will not be possible to introduce draft legislation in the same terms until a new General Synod comes into being in 2015," a church statement said.
Publication date: November 22, 2012