Church leaders urge strong commitment to peace from Israel and Palestine

A Palestinian man looks out over buildings in the Rafah refugee camp destroyed by Israeli airstrikes, southern Gaza Strip.AP

Israel and Palestine must make every effort to resume talks on a negotiated settlement, leaders in the Church of England and Roman Catholic Church have said.

The call came in a joint statement from the Church of England's lead bishop on the Middle East peace process, Bishop Michael Langrish, and the Roman Catholic Church's spokesman on international affairs, Bishop Declan Lang.

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced last week that Israeli and Palestinian leaders had reached an agreement establishing a basis for the resumption of peace talks.

The bishops appealed to both sides of the conflict to take full advantage of the opportunity for fresh talks and "refrain from actions that might see this chance lost".

"This conflict has for far too long been an open wound that has frustrated the hopes and aspirations of both communities to live in dignity, peace and security," they said.

"Now is the time to escape the prism of pain and fear through which Christian, Jew and Muslim see each other in the Holy Land."

They added: "The prospect for securing a negotiated resolution has never looked so daunting but neither has it been so necessary. The cost of failure is too unbearable to imagine."