It is with great sadness that I write to you today. Yesterday, U.S. President Donald Trump made an announcement to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel and added to this that his administration would begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
This move will have major consequences for Christians in Jerusalem and Palestine, as well as the entire Christian community across the region.
It negatively and profoundly impacts the prospects for a two-state solution and a just peace between Palestine and Israel. And, it unnecessarily stokes the flames of discord in the Middle East, when we are already facing pervasive and grave threats against the safety, human rights, well-being and dignity of the region’s people.
Together, standing united with our member churches, we must express our disappointment with this decision — especially in light of President Trump's public statements of support for Christians in the Middle East. This shift in U.S. foreign policy does nothing but make things more difficult for our community to survive in the midst of already monumental challenges to our sustained presence and witness in the land where we, the Church and Christ were born.
I have attached for you the joint statement of the Patriarchs and heads of churches in Jerusalem addressed to President Trump. I urge you to listen to their voices and to join us in actively supporting them.
May God bless you in this time of struggle, as we continue our quest for justice and peace in the Holy Land.
Fr. Dr. Michel Jalakh
Secretary General, Middle East Council of Churches