World Council of Churches

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Church offers to mediate Israeli-Palestinian conflict are being ignored WCC delegation returns from Jerusalem

05 avril 2002

Church offers to mediate Israeli-Palestinian conflict are being ignored WCC delegation returns from Jerusalem

Offers from church representatives to mediate in the current crisis are being ignored by the Israeli government states Mr Georges Lemopoulos, the deputy general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Just back from a three-day visit to Jerusalem, the comment was his first reaction to the WCC delegation's experiences during their visit.

"Twice in two days, the church leaders offered themselves to become mediators. And twice, they were preaching in the desert," he said. "The second time (on 3 April) the church leaders wanted to go to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem to emphasize and ensure that the church is a place of peace. They were not allowed through the checkpoints."

"The only possible solution is to end the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. There is no other solution," Lemopoulos stated. "But most immediately, the current military operation must stop."

Members of the WCC delegation to Jerusalem, Lemopoulos and Ms Salpy Eskidjian of the WCC International Relations team, will present a first report on their findings at a meeting with the press on Monday, 8 April, at 14h00 in Press Room II, Palais des Nations, Geneva.