WCC urges EU to oppose proposed 'Greater Jerusalem' legislation

By agency reporter
October 27, 2017

In a 26 October letter to the European Union, World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expressed great concern over a proposed 'Greater Jerusalem' legislative initiative whereby the Knesset may render a two-state solution impossible. The letter was addressed to Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and reads:

"Your Excellency,

"The World Council of Churches has a long history of advocacy and action for peace with justice in Israel and Palestine, including strong support for the two-state solution as the best available arrangement for resolving the longstanding conflict, addressing the persistent injustice of occupation, and promoting a sustainable peace for both Palestinians and Israelis. We deeply regret the recent trajectory of developments in the region that renders this objective more and more distant, and undermines the hopes and legitimate aspirations of people who have been living under occupation for 50 years.

"It is therefore with great concern that we observe the proposed 'Greater Jerusalem' legislative initiative whereby the Knesset may render the two-state solution impossible. As Christians we are called by our faith to speak out when human dignity and rights are being violated, and as churches around the world we are committed to support international humanitarian and human rights law as a moral as well as a legal framework to be respected and implemented by all states. We are concerned that the proposed 'Greater Jerusalem' legislation may threaten the human rights of the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem and the Bedouins in area C, as well as the prospects for realisation of the two-state solution based on the 1967 lines.

"We firmly believe that a viable two-state solution is in the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians. It is the way to a just peace. The proposed legislation takes the opposite course, and threatens to further worsen the living conditions of both Palestinians and Bedouins in the affected areas, and to create a situation in which Palestinian East Jerusalemites are left geographically isolated, politically disempowered and economically moribund.

"It is of utmost importance that the EU, as a major voice for upholding international law, vigorously protests the proposed legislation. The relevant initiatives will be voted on already this Sunday, 29 October, and so the necessary action must be taken promptly.

"On behalf of the WCC’s member churches and partners around the world, I appeal to you to speak out urgently and clearly against this regressive and destructive initiative, that would do so much to undermine the EU’s own engagement for a just and sustainable peace in the region.

"Yours respectfully,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary"

* The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

* World Council of Churches https://www.oikoumene.org/en/

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