ELCA and PCUSA Pen Open Letter Asking USA Govt. To DENY Israel Weaponry+ Accuses Israel of War Crimes
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and the Presbyterian Church (USA) have signed their name to an open letter pleading with United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to refrain from giving Israel access to weaponry support for their ground offensive in Gaza, all the while repeating terrorist talking points and regurgitating Hamas propaganda. The move comes just weeks after denominational heads blamed Israel for the terrorist attacks, suggesting they brought it upon themselves.
The letter, dated early November, “expresses our alarm regarding the possible transfer of 155mm artillery shells to support Israel’s ground operations in the Gaza Strip” and urges American leaders to “refrain from granting the government of Israel access to the U.S.-origin 155mm munitions currently stockpiled there.”
Presuming a posture that Israel is already getting away with indiscriminate killing, the ELCA and PCUSA insist that Israel must operate within the limits of International humanitarian law and that using 155mm explosives is incompatible with that commitment.
These munitions are unguided and have a high error radius, often landing 25 meters away from the intended target. Upon impact, 155mm shells expel 2,000 sharp metal fragments in every direction, risking injury, death, and permanent disability to civilians within 300 meters of the blast. Simply put, it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which high explosive 155mm artillery shells could be used in Gaza in compliance with IHL.
The letter asserts that when Israel used these previously in 2009 and 2014, “These munitions hit schools, neighborhoods, hospitals, shelters, and refugee camps, killing, wounding, and displacing scores of civilians.” For this reason, Israel cannot be trusted to use these weapons. Instead, “this historical record must be considered in determining the likelihood that proposed transfers may contribute to IHL violations.
The ELCA repeats Hamas’s talking points that “Israeli operations have killed 11,180 Palestinians”- a number fabricated by terrorists, and concludes with:
“Transferring 155mm artillery shells right now would be viewed as a green light for the sort of large-scale, destructive ground invasion that the Israeli government is currently pursuing. This sort of legally unconstrained operation would exponentially exacerbate what is already a terrifying humanitarian nightmare.”