Lutheran World Council Warns Unresolved Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Threatens
Press Release 17-2007
Churches Called to Join Ecumenical Coalitions to End Occupation
LUND, Sweden/GENEVA, 26 March 2007(LWI) - The Council of the Lutheran World
Federation (LWF) has "affirmed that the core problem in the Middle East is
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which, if not solved, is a threat to peace
not only in the Middle East but throughout the world."
The LWF governing body stated its position during its approval of recommendations
from its Program Committee for International Affairs and Human Rights at
the end of the 20-27 March meeting in Lund, Sweden. This year's Council meeting
coincided with events to mark the 60th anniversary of the Federation in the
city where it was established in 1947.
"We welcome the fact that a Palestinian government of national unity has
been established, and stress the LWF Council's expectation that the new government
will respect all previous agreements concerning or relevant to the search
for peace in the region."
"We call on the international community to co-operate with the new
Palestinian government and to end the international economic blockade in
order to restore the health, education and welfare situation of the Palestinian
people and the infrastructure of the Territories," stated the 26 March Council
The LWF governing body called "upon the State of Israel to comply with international
humanitarian law and United Nations' resolutions concerning the occupation
of the Palestinian Territories." It called for an international conference
to be convened to resolve the long-standing issues between the parties, such
as the status of Jerusalem, the return of refugees, settlements, borders
and water resources.
The Council noted the planned ecumenical commemorations, under the
leadership of the heads of the local churches in Jerusalem in June 2007 on
the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the occupation of the Palestinian
"We call for actions by the international community to end the illegal occupation
and for the LWF member churches to join ecumenical coalitions for that purpose,
such as the World Council of Churches' initiated international week of action
to end the occupation 3-9 June 2007."
"We welcome the initiative to create an inter-faith Council of Religious
Institutions in the Holy Land, as a sign of shared commitment to building
mutual trust and understanding among the faith communities and their peoples,
and to call for this Council of Religious Institutions in the Holy Land to
work to build peace among the two nations and that it become a reference
group for Palestinian and Israeli negotiators in any future negotiations."
The LWF Council commended to the LWF member churches "The Jerusalem Declaration
on Christian Zionism" issued by the heads of churches in Jerusalem in August
"We express deep concern about the continued emigration of Christians
from Palestine and the entire Middle East, and call on the LWF member churches
to pray on Maundy Thursday for Christians in the Middle East and for their
continued presence and ministry in the region in accordance with the call
from the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches (FMEEC).
The Council reiterated the LWF's continued support to its member church-the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land-in its struggle to
be a witness for peace and justice in the region through its educational,
ecumenical and interfaith activities." (548 words)
* * *
An estimated 500 people including over 100 church leaders are attending this
year's Council meeting, church leadership consultation and the LWF 60th anniversary
celebrations. Also attending are officials from LWF partner organizations,
invited guests, stewards, interpreters and translators, LWF staff and co-opted
staff, accredited media and participants in the three-year LWF international
training program for young communicators.
During the Council meeting, the LWF Office for Communication Services can
be reached at mobile tel no. +46/76-276 1311.