From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
WCC NEWS: Jerusalem: Deep concern about its status
"WCC Media" <Media@wcc-coe.org>
Thu, 31 Mar 2005 17:33:44 +0200
World Council of Churches - News Release
Contact: +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363 firstname.lastname@example.org
For immediate release - 31/03/2005
WCC DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE STATUS OF JERUSALEM
Expressing alarm about new political developments which adversely affect
the status of Jerusalem, the director of the WCC's Commission of the
Churches on International Affairs issued an open letter today reiterating
the position of its member churches and calling for "an open and inclusive
Jerusalem, a city of shared sovereignty and citizenship, a city of two
peoples and three faiths, of Christians, Muslims and Jews".
The letter was issued in the context of recent urgent expressions of
concern by churches and NGOs about unilateral land acquisition by the
Israeli authorities and the latest plans for the Israeli security wall in
the Jerusalem area.
The Commission of Churches on International Affairs is the specialized
instrument of the WCC for political and security issues.
The full text of the open letter is given below:
OPEN LETTER ON THE STATUS OF JERUSALEM
The World Council of Churches is deeply concerned about actions by the
Government of Israel which threaten the achievement of a just peace for
both Israel and Palestine by pre-empting negotiations on the final status
of Jerusalem within the framework of international law. This letter
reiterates the position of the WCC on a matter of critical importance.
While world attention is drawn to its Gaza withdrawal plans, the Government of Israel has intensified unilateral programs to consolidate control over
Jerusalem and other occupied territory. These include:
> Creating a new de facto border by construction of the Wall on occupied
territory, cutting all of annexed Jerusalem off from the West Bank in
contravention of international law and the Advisory Opinion of the
International Court of Justice in 2004.
> Cutting the West Bank in two by adding 3,500 housing units to Maale
Adumim settlement. This decision mocks prospects for a viable, contiguous
Palestinian State with a shared Jerusalem as its capital.
> Repeated declarations by the government's top leaders that large illegal
West Bank settlements and all of Jerusalem will belong to Israel in any
> Ongoing violations of human and civil rights of Palestinians in
Jerusalem - illegal Jewish settlements are built in their neighborhoods
while construction permits for Palestinians are denied, family homes are
demolished, requests for family reunification are denied.
> Threats and more threats, including an absentee property law allowing
confiscation of Palestinian property in Jerusalem and a new regulation to
require permits for Jerusalem residents entering the West Bank.
The WCC has long affirmed that the final status of Jerusalem must be part
of a comprehensive peace settlement and be negotiated without delay; that
the unilateral annexation of Jerusalem by the Government of Israel puts
regional and world peace in jeopardy; that alterations of boundaries,
population and settlements which change the religious, cultural or
historical character of Jerusalem without the consent of the parties
involved and the approval of the international community are violations of
the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Irregular transfers of church-held land from one side to the other only
add to the alarm of those who hope for justice; all such transfers must be
The WCC calls for an open and inclusive Jerusalem, a city of shared
sovereignty and citizenship, a city of two peoples and three faiths, of
Christians, Muslims and Jews. Now is the time to cease actions that
pre-empt peace in Jerusalem and to begin negotiation of Jerusalem's final
status within the framework of international law.
World Council of Churches
Commission of the Churches on International Affairs
Peter Weiderud, director
Further information on WCC's work for peace in Israel-Palestine
Additional information: Juan Michel,+41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363
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The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 347, in
more than 120 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian
traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works
cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly,
which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally
inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by
general secretary Samuel Kobia from the Methodist church in Kenya.
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