World Council of Churches' general secretary, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse, has today (28 September 2011) issued the following statement on Palestine's UN membership application.
The World Council of Churches and member churches around the world have pursued peace with justice for both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples for decades. Like much of the international community, we are now watching to see if peace and justice will be served in how the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly process the application of Palestine to become a full member state of the UN.
This request must be considered in the light of numerous resolutions passed at the UN Security Council and General Assembly, supporting a two-state solution. They are the basis for a peace not yet established in a conflict which is also constantly influencing other conflicts in the world. It is now a unique opportunity for the UN to take important decisions to fulfil its role and mandate according to the UN Charter, to make peace with justice prevail between Israelis and Palestinians, and with their neighbours.
Yesterday’s announcement in Israel of plans to build 1,100 more housing units on occupied territory is a stark reminder of why sober deliberation, genuine courage and responsible action by the United Nations are necessary. The United Nations is the voice of the international community in this dispute, a voice that has been raised many times to lay out the basis for an equitable peace between two states.
Negotiations should not be seen as an alternative to the UN acceptance of the Palestinian application for membership. Different initiatives to build stability in the region should go hand in hand.
In the people’s movements across the Arab world peoples are standing up for their freedom and dignity in order to establish democratic states with the rule of law. Now it is appropriate that the United Nations actively supports the establishment of a democratic Palestinian State.
Together with the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, we “feel the need to intensify the prayers and diplomatic efforts for peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and see that this is the most appropriate time for such an opportunity”.