World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Resources / Documents / WCC general secretary / Statements / Statement condemning attacks on religious sites in West Bank and Jerusalem

Statement condemning attacks on religious sites in West Bank and Jerusalem

Statement from WCC acting general secretary Georges Lemopoulos condemning the recent attacks against a mosque in the West Bank and a Christian centre in Jerusalem.

27 February 2015

Recent attacks against a mosque in the West Bank (on 25 February) and a Christian centre in Jerusalem (on 26 February) appear to be part of the series of so-called "price-tag" attacks by extremist elements.

It is reported that a group of Jewish settlers stormed Al-Jaba’a village, near Bethlehem, and set fire to the Al-Huda Mosque, leaving anti-Arab slogans on its walls.

The following day, in another apparent arson attack, a building belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem was set on fire and vandalized with anti-Christian graffiti.

The World Council of Churches is grateful for the clear and unequivocal response by the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin in a phone call to Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III, in which he denounced the Jerusalem attack, calling it “a heinous crime" and affirming that “those responsible must be brought to justice." President Rivlin acknowledged that the protection and conservation of holy sites was an obligation for Israel, as both a state and a society.

The Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat said in a statement that the fire was set deliberately, and that "there is no room for such deplorable activity" in the city, which is deemed holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians.

Israel's Foreign Ministry has also condemned the attack and "any action of religious intolerance of any kind."

As the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry has observed, such “religiously-motivated attacks and provocations by any party” risk further inflaming “an already volatile environment”. Moreover, they further diminish hopes for peace with justice in the region.

The World Council of Churches therefore calls for swift and concrete measures to ensure those responsible for these and other similar attacks are in fact brought to justice, and further such attacks prevented.

Georges Lemopoulos
Acting general secretary