The Episcopal Church responds to Trump’s Jerusalem declaration

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Released today from the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations:

Statement Regarding the U.S. Embassy in Israel

Today, President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced that he intends to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, a move that would reverse more than 50 years of U.S. foreign policy. This decision could have profound ramifications on the peace process and the future of a two-state solution, and it could have a negative impact throughout the region and with key U.S. allies. The Episcopal Church Office is joining with Churches for Middle East Peace and many other organizations in opposing any effort to move the Embassy.

Since 1985, the Episcopal Church has had policy opposing the movement of the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Our policy states that the status of Jerusalem must be “determined by negotiation and not by unilateral action by any one community, religion, race or nation.”

+Archbishop Suheil Dawani, Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, has joined with patriarchs and heads of local churches in Jerusalem in opposing this move. We support Archbishop Suheil and value his perspective and expertise. As Episcopalians and Anglicans, we reiterate our view that the final status of Jerusalem, a city important to Jews, Muslims, and Christians, needs to be negotiated by Israelis and Palestinians with the support of our nation and the international community.

The Episcopal News Service links to a letter sent by the leaders of Christian churches in Jerusalem to Trump, excerpted here:

Mr. President, we have been following, with concern, the reports about the possibility of changing how the United States understands and deals with the status of Jerusalem. We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division. We ask from you Mr. President to help us all walk towards more love and a definitive peace, which cannot be reached without Jerusalem being for all.

Our solemn advice and plea is for the United States to continue recognizing the present international status of Jerusalem. Any sudden changes would cause irreparable harm. We are confident that, with strong support with our friends, Israelis and Palestinians can work towards negotiating a sustainable and just peace, benefiting all who long for the Holy City of Jerusalem to fulfil its destiny. The Holy City can be shared and fully enjoyed once a political process helps liberate the hearts of all people, that live within it, from the conditions of conflict and destructiveness that they are experiencing.

Christmas is upon us soon. It is a feast of peace. The Angels have sung in our sky: Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to the people of good will. In this coming Christmas, we plea for Jerusalem not to be deprived from peace, we ask you Mr. President to help us listen to the song of the angels. As the Christian leaders of Jerusalem, we invite you to walk with us in hope as we build a just, inclusive peace for all the peoples of this unique and Holy City.

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John Stewart
Guest

Congress overwhelmingly passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, when Bill Clinton was in the White House. Even though he did not sign it, it became law because Clinton signed off on a waiver, which allows the president to delay the move for six months if " such suspension is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States". The delay was used repeatedly by Clinton, George Bush and Obama. Trump signed a waiver in June. Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated 11 days after telling Congress there was but one capital of Israel which was Jerusalem. The referenced Episcopal Archbishop, Suheil Dawani, was denied permission to live in Jerusalem in 2011 because he unlawfully sold Israeli-owned property to Palestinians. Dawani was also accused of forging documents. Dawani rejected an offer to remain in Jerusalem under a work permit status.

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Steven Wilson
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Steven Wilson

Archbishop Dawani's residency permit was suspended in Feb 2011 and reinstated in Sept 2011 without the State of Israel having ever provided documentation to back up its allegation of illegal land dealings. He is still living there, six years later. No documents verifying the charges have ever been produced. "Where there's smoke," there's sometimes only just smoke.

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Kimberly Glenn
Guest
Kimberly Glenn

Perhaps if our embassy is located in Jerusalem, where the Knesset meets, we will have more grounds to argue for human rights there. Our embassy presence in Tel Aviv has not seemed to influence peace in any positive respect, has it?

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Wolff Alterman
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Wolff Alterman

All the religions with Holy sites in Israel and her capital Jerusalem have access to them and have for decades. This is unlike the situation between 1948--1967 when Jordan occupied the West Bank and the Eastern section of Jerusalem, expelled the Jewish inhabitants from those areas, destroyed numerous Jewish Holy sites and prevented Jews from praying at the Western Wall of the Second Temple and Holy sites throughout Judea and Samria. The first thing Israel did upon gaining control of East Jerusalem was to turn over control of the Dome of the Rock and surrounding area to the Waqf (a Islamic authority), and they have retained this control since. The idea of the city of Jerusalem as a corpus seperatum, as an area for all faiths under UN control was presented in 1948- and the Arab League was unanimous in rejecting the idea and immediately launched a war of annihilation to destroy Israel. Israel is a sovereign nation, and as such gets to locate its capital where it chooses.

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

Thank you for the reminder of the facts of the matter.

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Allegra McFarland
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Allegra McFarland

Please keep Jerusalem holy, peaceful, free and open to all the major religions. We as Americans must respect all three major religious tradtions represented there by keeping the US embassy in Tel Aviv.

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Grace Cangialosi
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Grace Cangialosi

I have come to the conclusion that trump will oppose anything he is asked/told not to do, just for the sake of getting his way. Perhaps the tactic of telling him not to do the opposite thing will result in favorable outcomes. That being said, this decision is particularly worrisome, because it will probably further destabilize the region.
And I fail to inderstand how the leader of ANY nation can unilaterally decide where another nation’s capitol should be...

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Kenneth Knapp
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Kenneth Knapp

I don't think "trump" has unilaterally decided where another nation's capitol should be. You have no basis for that assertion. I don't like him any more than you do, but it seems that you will oppose anything he says just to oppose him.

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