World Council of Churches

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

Minute on the Occupied Palestinian Territories

02 September 2003

WCC Central Committee, Geneva, 26 August-2 September, 2003

The WCC Central Committee, meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from 26 August
to 2 September, 2003, took note of the efforts undertaken by the WCC General
Secretary and staff of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs,
to implement the resolutions of the Central and Executive Committees since
February 2001, to end the illegal occupation of Palestine.

A year after the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel
(EAPPI) was launched within the 2002 focus of the Decade to Overcome Violence
and its campaign to End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine: Support a Just Peace
in the Middle East, the Central Committee welcomes with appreciation the partnership
provided by churches and specialized ecumenical ministries that support
this new ecumenical initiative of the WCC. In particular, the Central Committee
recognizes the courageous witness of the Ecumenical Accompaniers, who volunteer
to serve the Church of Jesus Christ by standing in active solidarity with a
people struggling for freedom, justice and peace. The Central Committee reaffirms
its endorsement of this programme and asks all WCC member churches
and ecumenical partners to actively engage in it.

In addition, the Central Committee heard with heavy heart the message sent by
the Heads of Churches of Jerusalem and the observations made by the CCIA and
ACT delegation during their recent visit to the occupied Palestinian Territories.

We were especially concerned with the humanitarian consequences of continued
closures, curfews, extra-judicial killings and suicide bombings as well as the "separation
wall" being erected by the Israeli authorities. The Central Committee asks
all members to condemn such actions and to join the Patriarchs and Heads of
Churches, Communities and Institutions in Jerusalem in their daily "Prayers for
just peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land". The Central Committee further
regrets that in spite of its appeals to the Government of Israel, they have still
refused to recognize the election of H.B. Patriarch Irineos I, as head of the Greek
Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Endorsing the CCIA´s analysis of the Road Map to a permanent two-state solution
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Central Committee recommits itself
to the WCC direction, long-term policies and actions developed since 1998, which
need to remain constant and of high priority. In this light, the Central Committee
calls on the WCC member churches and ecumenical partners to intensify their
efforts on behalf of the ecumenical campaign launched in 2002 and to increase
their humanitarian relief and rehabilitation efforts. It also asks the General Secretary
and staff of international affairs to give visibility to all ecumenical efforts to end
the occupation of Palestine. In this regard the Central Committee recognizes the
need for the speedy establishment of the Jerusalem Ecumenical Centre of the
Heads of Churches in association with the WCC and MECC (ref. GEN 6-page14).