A report from Palestine

Following on the heels of the WCC's encouragement of the use of "economic measures" to achieve peace in Israel/Palestine, the director of the WCC's Commission of the Churches on International Affairs released an open letter with concerns about recent developments that will affect the status of Jerusalem.

Following on the heels of the WCC's encouragement of the use of "economic measures" to achieve peace in Israel/Palestine, the director of the WCC's Commission of the Churches on International Affairs released an open letter with concerns about recent developments that will affect the status of Jerusalem.

The letter begins by directly challenging the Israeli Government's recent actions:

"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..."

It continues later by shedding light on the other side of the Gaza withdrawal:

"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."

It goes on to list several recent actions by the Israeli Government that concern the WCC, including the construction of the wall which snakes into the West Bank to permanently appropriate Palestinian land (including East Jerusalem), the expansion of illegal settlements, and more. Read the full press release, including the letter, here:

 http://www2.wcc-coe.org/pressreleasesen.nsf/index/pr-05-10.html

Though they have been known for a very long time, Israeli plans to expand the settlement Ma'ale Adumim have finally been confirmed. This expansion will cement Israel's hold on land east of Jerusalem, effectively detaching the northern and southern portions of the West Bank from each other.

The wall that Israel is building on Palestinian land will annex the settlements around Jerusalem to Israel, settlements that encircle Jerusalem and house 200,000 Israeli settlers. Ma'ale Adumim is simply the eastern-most of these settlements, and one of the largest as it sprawls out into a mini-city built right in the center of the Palestinian West Bank. You can locate Ma'ale Adumim on this map by looking at where the West Bank is the thinnest, and also by going straight down from the "K" in "West Bank" to where you meet the red line:

 www.arij.org/atlas/New%20Atlas%20Details/Atlas%20of%20Palestine.jpg

The red line in this map is the route of the wall, and the dark gray on the right of the West Bank is a projection of the "buffer zone" that Israel has claimed it will create after the construction of the western wall.

The land of Jerusalem, and the whole West Bank, is being forever altered by unilateral Israeli moves to expand and annex settlements, and create a de facto border through the construction of the wall. In doing so, Israel is not only flouting international law, but maneuvering borders, people and control in an effort to prevent past international laws and resolutions from being relevant to the situation on the ground.

Read more from the WCC about justice in Israel/Palestine:

Statement on Divestment:
 www2.wcc-coe.org/pressreleasesen.nsf/index/pr-cc-05-08.html

Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI):
 www2.wcc-coe.org/pressreleasesen.nsf/index/pu-05-07.html

Can Refusal Stop the Occupation?
 www2.wcc-coe.org/pressreleasesen.nsf/index/Feat-05-08.html

Nathan Wright

Nathan Wright served as a short-term volunteer from September 1, 2004 through February 28, 2005, with the East Jerusalem YMCA in Jerusalem. He worked with the YMCA's computers and technology office as well as youth and advocacy programs..