Writing 100 years after the Balfour Declaration and fifty years after Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories captured in the 1967 War, the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) executive committee lamented the ongoing failure of the parties to seek just peace and remarked on “an indelible stain on the conscience of members of the international community” for their failure to resolve the situation.
Gathered in Bossey, Switzerland, June 7-12, the 25-member executive committee addressed a range of programmatic and public issues. It meets every six months to guide the work of the council between biennial gatherings of the WCC central committee.
“During the past five decades, the World Council of Churches has always recognized the State of Israel and its legitimate security needs as well as those of the Palestinian communities of the region,” said the statement. “It has consistently appealed for non-violent approaches and denounced the use of armed force and violence by whosoever committed” as well as the occupation.
Yet, they noted, “half a century after the 1967 war, there is still no peace and no justice among the inhabitants of the land of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection. The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories continues without any political solution on the horizon,” the committee’s statement noted.
Indeed, international acquiescence “has encouraged and enabled the Israeli occupation to become effectively a permanent colonization,” they noted.
Urging redoubled efforts and new approaches to sustainable peace by “all churches and people of good will around the world,” the statement encouraged all “to hold fast to this vision, not to despair, but to renew their commitment to speaking and acting in support of justice and peace in Palestine and Israel.”