gaza rubble
Palestinians stand in the rubble of a building that was destroyed during fighting between Hamas militants and Israel as they watch a parade by Hamas militants in ShejaiyaAFP

Jewish and Muslim leaders in the UK have united in their call for peace in the Middle East after Israel and Hamas agreed an indefinite ceasefire.

More than 2,000 civilians, mostly Palestians, died in the 50-day conflict in Gaza.

In an unforseen move, the Jewish Board of Deputies and Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) issued a joint statement condemning Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, and called for a "redoubling of efforts" in the community to build harmonious relations between both faiths.

"In spite of the situation in the Middle East, we must continue to work hard for good community relations in the UK," the statement said.

We must not import conflict. We must export peace instead."

The organisations also acknowledged that communities "may disagree about the origins, current reasons and solutions to end the conflict".

But according to the Jewish Chronicle, some controversy emerged after the two sides could not agree on the meaning of one key line, which read: "The targeting of civilians is completely unacceptable and against our religious traditions".

The Board of Deputies argued that this could be interpreted as specific MCB criticism of Hamas, which the MCB rejected.

A MCB spokesman said it believed both parties understood the line referred to the targeting of civilians by Israel and Hamas.

"It refers to both sides, Israel and Hamas. It's civilians that pay the price. On both sides."

But a BOD spokesman denied this and said: "We are very clear that the IDF does not target civilians; that's why we felt able to sign it."

The statement, however, is seen as the most significant step forward for both bodies since relations soured in 2009 over the Istanbul Declaration, which threatened violence against Israeli supporters and British troops.

Full statement of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Muslim Council of Britain

There is no doubt that Muslims and Jews have deeply held views about the conflict in Israel and Palestine. We acknowledge that our communities may disagree about the origins, current reasons and solutions to end the conflict. But there are also points of agreement.

The death of every civilian is a tragedy, and every effort should be taken to minimise such losses. The targeting of civilians is completely unacceptable and against our religious traditions. We pray for a speedy end to the current conflict and for a lasting peace for all.

In spite of the situation in the Middle East, we must continue to work hard for good community relations in the UK. We must not import conflict. We must export peace instead.

Whilst everyone has the right to voice their political opinion, be that in a rally or on social media, we must be mindful of how we convey our protest. There can be no excuse for racism, violence, or other forms of intimidation, when expressing views in the media, on the streets, outside shops or online.

We condemn any expression of Antisemitism, Islamophobia or any form of racism. We call for Muslim and Jewish communities to redouble efforts to work together and get to know one another.

We need constructive dialogue to limit our disagreements and identify the widest possible range of areas for cooperation. There are more issues that unite us than divide us.

May the God of Abraham grant our World more peace, wisdom and hope.