Church Leaders Share Vision for Peace in Israel/Palestine; Condemn Annexation

On the heels of the Israeli election and with the U.S. Administration preparing to release the political component of its purported Peace Plan for Israel/Palestine, 22 Christian leaders, including Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Minister and President Terri Hord Owens, United Church of Christ General Minister and President John Dorhauer, and Global Ministries Co-Executives Julia Brown Karimu and Karen Georgia Thompson, signed a letter to the President outlining recommendations for US policies that would help bring about a just and lasting end to the conflict in Israel-Palestine. A full copy of the letter, including signatories, can be found here.

In the letter, the leaders state "a truly viable peace can only be achieved by lifting the Gaza blockade, by ending the Israeli occupation of territories captured in 1967, through the realization of Palestinian self-determination, the recognition of Jerusalem as a shared capital for Israelis and Palestinians and the recognition and fulfillment of the rights of Palestinian refugees. Such a peace can only be reached in consultation with leaders representing both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples."

The letter comes shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign promise to officially annex Area C as well as all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a move that would codify a policy of displacement utilized throughout over fifty years of Israeli military occupation. Such a unilateral move will irrevocably damage prospects for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Churches for Middle East Peace strongly condemns annexation of any Palestinian land. Annexation of even part of the West Bank would be a disaster for both Israelis and Palestinians.  Palestinians would be left without any possibility of a viable state of their own, and neither people would be any safer or secure. We are deeply concerned by the United States Government’s apparent support for these actions. We call on all Americans, especially America's Christians, to oppose this threat to peace in the Middle East and the continuity of the Christian presence there.