July 26, 2000 Contact: Corinne Whitlatch 202/546-8425
CHRISTIANS CALL FOR A SHARED JERUSALEM
"At last Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have broken the taboo and discussed concretely how to share Jerusalem between their two peoples and the three Abrahamic religions," said the director of Churches for Middle East Peace Corinne Whitlatch. She applauded the summit's discussions as a monumental and necessary step toward a resolution to the controversy over the Holy City's future and rejected conclusions that the summit failed.
"We are further encouraged because, in the course of the Camp David talks, Israeli and Palestinian officials met with Jerusalem's Christian Patriarchs and heard their perspectives on the need for an internationally guaranteed special statute for the Holy City," added Whitlatch.
Whitlatch further said, "For too long, the Israeli public and many Americans have been led to believe that peace between Israel and the Arabs is possible while Israel maintains exclusive sovereignty over all of Jerusalem and the West Bank land annexed to Jerusalem by Israel since 1967. That is just not possible."
The Protestant mainstream and historic peace churches and Catholic organizations that compose the Washington based coalition have long contended that Jerusalem at peace cannot belong exclusively to one people, one country or one religion. And that Jerusalem should be open to all, shared by all — two peoples and three religions. A statement by the leaders of these churches, that has been publicized since it was signed in late1996, urges upon the United States government to call upon negotiators to move beyond exclusivist claims and create a Jerusalem that is a sign of peace and a symbol of reconciliation for all humankind.
Churches for Middle East Peace asks that the United States place a higher regard on international law, as found in U.N. Security Council resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention, as the basis for a durable solution that can be endorsed by the international community.
Churches for Middle East Peace is a Washington based program of the
American Friends Service Committee, Catholic Conference of Major Superiors
of Men's Institutes, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of
the Brethren, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,
Friends Committee on National Legislation, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers,
Mennonite Central Committee, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian
Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, Unitarian Universalist Association,
United Church of Christ and United Methodist Church.