Church of Sweden backs recognition for Palestine

By agency reporter
October 16, 2014

Erik Lysén, head of the international policy unit at the Church of Sweden, has called the recognition of Palestine an important step towards the peace process.

“In the long term it may lead to a lasting two-state solution, in which Israelis and Palestinians live side by side within safe and recognized borders,” he said.

Lysén’s comments come after the Swedish government’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine.

“The Swedish Government’s decision comes in a key course of events as the situation on the ground is deteriorating daily through the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements,” Lysén said.

In August 2014, Israel announced its confiscation of nearly 380 hectares in the vicinity of Bethlehem. At the end of September, further announcements were made that Israeli authorities had approved the plans for new settlements in Eastern Jerusalem, a decision that was strongly criticised by the European Union (EU) and the USA.

“Hopefully, Swedish recognition will pave the way for recognition of Palestine by other countries in the EU. Today about 130 states, including some EU member states, have recognized Palestine,” Lysén added.

Speaking on the war during the summer, underlining the importance of obtaining a lasting solution to the conflict, Lysén said that “such a solution can only be achieved through peaceful means. All breaches of international law in the form of violence and attacks on civilians, irrespective of who carries them out, must cease, and the perpetrators must be the subject of legal proceedings.”

In 2012 the General Synod, the highest decision-making body in the Church of Sweden, decided to urge the Swedish government to work towards Palestine being accepted as a full member of the United Nations.

Through its several initiatives for advocacy, the WCC mobilises its member churches and partners to work for peace in Palestine and Israel, with the aim of ending the illegal occupation in accordance with UN resolutions, encouraging actions for peace and justice for all the peoples in the region.

* Recognition of Palestine – a step in the right direction (press release from the Church of Sweden): http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/svenska_kyrkan/pressreleases/recognition-of...

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