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Israel settlement decision "deplorable", says WCC

19.11.09

 

Bassel Araj lives with his parents and siblings in a house 100 metres from the pictured construction site in the illegal settlement of Gilo. Photo: Joe O'Brien/EAPPI

Churches and other ecumenical partners of the World Council of Churches (WCC) have received an appeal to "mobilize their members and the public" in resistance to Israel's approval for the construction of 900 new housing units in the Gilo settlement on traditionally Palestinian land in East Jerusalem. The WCC general secretary, the Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, called on organizations related to the Council "to act with resolve, in concert," with the intention "to reverse this decision of the Israeli government and the settlement programme it represents."

 

In a public statement, Kobia expressed "great disappointment" at this development and emphasized that the WCC "strongly condemns the decision of the government of Israel to expand the illegal Gilo settlement as we believe that this decision will hinder attempts now in process to restart the peace negotiations."

 

Quoting a position adopted by the WCC Central Committee at its meeting in September 2009, Kobia warned that, "if settlements continue to expand and proliferate, they will further complicate negotiations and may destroy any chance for peace". He continued: "People of conscience and good faith around the world are looking to the government of Israel now to move toward the resolution of an interminable conflict rather than continue with decades-old policies that have driven it toward the point of no return."

 

Full text of the WCC general secretary's statement

 

WCC solidarity with churches in the Middle East

 

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