World Council of Churches
Geneva, Switzerland 31 March 2005
From Peter Weiderud, director,
Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, WCC
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 within the framework of international law. This
letter reiterates the position of the WCC on a matter of critical
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.
* Creating a new de facto border by construction of the Wall on
occupied territory, cutting all of annexed Jerusalem off from the West
Bank in contravention of international law and the Advisory Opinion of
the International Court of Justice in 2004.
* Cutting the West Bank in two by adding 3,500 housing units to
Maale Adumim settlement. This decision mocks prospects for a viable,
contiguous Palestinian State with a shared Jerusalem as its capital.
* Repeated declarations by the government�s top leaders that large
illegal West Bank settlements and all of Jerusalem will belong to
Israel in any final agreement.
* Ongoing violations of human and civil rights of Palestinians in
Jerusalem�illegal Jewish settlements are built in their
neighborhoods while construction permits for Palestinians are denied,
family homes are demolished, requests for family reunification are denied.
* Threats and more threats, including an absentee property law
allowing confiscation of Palestinian property in Jerusalem and a new
regulation to require permits for Jerusalem residents entering the
The WCC has long affirmed that the final status of Jerusalem must be
part of a comprehensive peace settlement and be negotiated without delay;
that the unilateral annexation of Jerusalem by the Government of Israel
puts regional and world peace in jeopardy; that alterations
of boundaries, population and settlements which change the religious,
cultural or historical character of Jerusalem without the consent of
the parties involved and the approval of the international community
are violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Irregular transfers of church-held land from one side to the other
only add to the alarm of those who hope for justice; all such
transfers must be annulled.
The WCC calls for an open and inclusive Jerusalem, a city of shared
sovereignty and citizenship, a city of two peoples and three faiths,
of Christians, Muslims and Jews. Now is the time to cease actions
that pre-empt peace in Jerusalem and to begin negotiation of
Jerusalem�s final status within the framework of international law.