From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
PUSH TO EXPEDITE NEGOTIATIONS ON JERUSALEM
05 May 1996 12:58:51
95081 PUSH TO EXPEDITE NEGOTIATIONS ON JERUSALEM
ENDORSED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY COUNCIL
by Alexa Smith
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--An ecumenical letter pushing for more immediate
negotiations in the Middle East peace talks on who holds rights to
Jerusalem was endorsed by the General Assembly Council here last week.
The letter is an attempt to stop alleged Israeli appropriation of land
in and around the city -- activity that threatens to derail peace efforts.
"The concern is that Israel is creating realities on the ground that
negate any ability to negotiate," said Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
missionary K.T. Ockels, who spent four and a half years teaching in a West
Bank settlement. She says Israel continues to build roads and settlements
in and around the jointly occupied city to stake its own claims to the
Negotiations about Jerusalem itself are set to occur in three years.
But the letter argues that "only a negotiated agreement that respects the
human and political rights of Palestinians and Israelis as well as the
three religious communities [of Jews, Christians and Muslims] can lead to a
Entitled "Jerusalem: City of Peace," the letter is going to the
General Assembly in Cincinnati. It is currently endorsed by eight other
U.S. Christian groups, including the American Friends Service Committee,
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, World Vision and the National
Council of Catholic Bishops.
The letter states that the U.S. Administration is not using its
considerable influence to halt Israeli construction in East Jerusalem and
continued expansion into Palestinian areas and is failing to recognize and
support Palestinian rights and interests in Jerusalem.
It charges that Israel's plans for a "Greater Jerusalem is an open
secret" and that ongoing construction lays a claim of "exclusive Israeli
sovereignty over the city that preempts genuine negotiation."
PC(USA) Middle East coordinator the Rev. Victor Makari told the
Worldwide Ministries Division Committee the letter will "no doubt" bring a
negative reaction from the U.S. Jewish community. But, Makari said,
failing to deal with it now places undue pressure on a peace process
already under way.
# # #
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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