Quakers condemn provocative US embassy move

By agency reporter
May 15, 2018

Amid rising tension and aggression in the region, opening the new US embassy in Jerusalem is an act of provocation as Palestinians mourn the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe), say Quakers in Britain.

Quakers released a statement saying, "This decision by the United States emboldens moves to undermine peace and destabilise the region."

Instead, they call on the US president to "support the work of Palestinian and Israeli peace groups to uphold international law and bring about a just end to the military occupation."

The full statement, signed by Paul Parker, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain says: "This week marks the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe) during which 750,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Over six million Palestinians continue to live under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza, or in refugee camps in the region.

"This week also sees the opening ceremony for the new US embassy as it moves from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"Quakers in Britain spoke out publicly following the announcement of the embassy move by the US president in December. Quakers condemned the move as morally indefensible, contrary to international law and deliberately provocative and said:

'We believe President Trump's decision…gives legitimacy to the widespread human rights abuses committed by the Israeli government in the course of its 50-year occupation of Palestine, including the illegal acquisition of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank…

'We stand with those calling for the status of Jerusalem to be determined only as part of peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.'

"We find the president's decision to hold the opening ceremony for the new embassy on the eve of Nakba Day to be a further act of provocation. We live in times of rising tension and aggression. This decision by the United States emboldens moves to undermine peace and destabilise the region.

"We call on the US president instead to support the work of Palestinian and Israeli peace groups to uphold international law and bring about a just end to the military occupation.

"All governments are capable of leadership that is both moral and pragmatic.

"Quakers in Britain repeat our call to the UK government to accept its historic and current responsibility towards peace in the Middle East and to take immediate steps to recognise the state of Palestine as it recognises the state of Israel.

"We continue to stand in solidarity with all those working for a just peace in the region, and with those in Israel and occupied Palestine exercising their legitimate right to nonviolent protest during the Nakba Day commemorations."

* More about Quaker work for change in Palestine and Israel here

* Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Around 23,000 people attend 478 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.

* Quakers in Britain https://www.quaker.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

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