Faith responses to U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

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Release added 12:45 EST:

ELCA presiding bishop responds to decision to move U.S. Embassy in Israel

12/6/2017 10:15:00 AM

CHICAGO  – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued the following statement in response to the decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

December 6, 2017

I am deeply disturbed to learn of the Trump administration’s plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel away from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The ELCA has long held the view that a negotiated, final status agreement, including a “shared Jerusalem,” must be reached without unilateral actions by any party that would prejudice the outcome of negotiations.

This unilateral action would not support the cause of peace and a two-state solution, but rather would unnecessarily create further tensions and possible violence that would make efforts to bring them back together for talks much more difficult. As my brother in Christ and colleague, Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, has often said, the security of Israelis depends on the freedom of Palestinians and the freedom of Palestinians depends on the security of Israelis. This proposed action would make both more insecure.

To proceed with this plan will only further isolate our nation from the global movement for a just peace for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike in the region and our church’s policy that seeks an end to the occupation, an end to terrorism and violence, and, ultimately, the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. Since the announcement is one of intentions, I call upon the president to rescind this plan and instead continue to focus on our nation’s ability to contribute constructively toward a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Along with other interreligious partners, I continue to stand ready to discuss with the president ways to reach a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Sincerely,

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million members in more than 9,200 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

 

From Churches for Middle East Peace:

For Immediate Release:
Churches for Middle East Peace:
Unilateral Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital Constitutes Grave Threat to Future Peace

Washington, D.C. – December 5, 2017 – President Trump is expected to announce Wednesday his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) strongly opposes any unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move of the U.S. Embassy without a comprehensive peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

It has been long standing U.S. policy that Jerusalem is a final status issue. CMEP promotes a shared Jerusalem by Palestinians and Israelis, and pursues an end to the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza, while advocating for a comprehensive resolution to the conflict that advances security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians. If the President moves forward with his unilateral decision, it will create a security threat for Israelis, Palestinians, Americans, and the Middle East.

CMEP Executive Director Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon said, “Rather than being a broker for peace, the U.S. will be undermining trust and making the resumption of meaningful negotiations and achieving a viable solution all the more difficult, if not impossible.”

CMEP has deep concerns that predominantly Muslim countries have expressed that any recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or moving of the U.S. Embassy will be a detriment to peace and undermine the regional stability and security of the Middle East.

Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is a coalition of 27 national church denominations and organizations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical traditions that works to encourage US policies that actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. CMEP works to mobilize US Christians to embrace a holistic perspective and to be advocates of equality, human rights, security, and justice for Israelis, Palestinians, and all people of the Middle East.

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