US Recognizes Jerusalem as Capital of Israel; Trump says will move US embassy there
….The president also announced that he has instructed the relevant teams to begin planning the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, yet did not state when such a move will take place.
Finally, Trump stressed that the American recognition of Jerusalem is not tantamount to a position on the issue of Israeli borders and sovereignty in Jerusalem. Those, he said, will be decided upon in negotiations.
“It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said, adding that the move was “a long overdue step to advance the peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians. He said recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is not only a “necessary condition for achieving peace,” but also “in the best interests of the United States of America.”
Read the full article
ON THIS PAGE:
ACTION OPPORTUNITIES: ONLINE
- United Church of Christ – message for White House
- Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) – message for Congress
- Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) – message for Congress
- Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns – message for Congress
- Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) – statement for Palestinians to sign; postcards for everyone to us
ACTION OPPORTUNITIES: EVENTS
ANSWER Coalition: See postings of protests and rallies across the US
STATEMENTS AND OPEN LETTERS
- Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem
- Middle East Council of Churches
- The Palestinian BDS National Committee
- World Council of Churches
- World Methodist Council
- US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
- National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA
- Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
- Ecumenical Statement from U.S. Christian Leaders
- Pope Francis, Roman Catholic Church
- Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Roman Catholic Church
- Pax Christi International
- South African Council of Churches
- American Muslims for Palestine
- African Methodist Episcopal Church
- The Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
- The President and the General Secretary, Lutheran World Federation
- Presbyterian Church (USA), Office of the General Assembly
- General Secretaries of GBCS and GBGM, United Methodist Church
- Israel/Palestine Mission Network, Presbyterian Church (USA)
- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Palestine Israel Network
- US Campaign – Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem: Historical, Legal and Policy Considerations
- AMP: Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration – Background, Talking Points, and Key Actions
- AFSC – East Jerusalem and the Politics of Occupation
- IMEU – The Legal Status of Jerusalem
- AMP – The Judaization of Jerusalem
- Al-Shabaka – Focus on Jerusalem: A Collection of Analytical Articles (March 2017)
- PLO NAD – Special Focus: Occupied East Jerusalem
- PLO NAD – The Status of Jerusalem in International Law
- PLO NAD – Resurrection and Israeli Restrictions: Easter in Jerusalem (April 2017)
- The Atlantic – You Can Be an Evangelical and Reject Trump’s Jerusalem Decision, by Gary Burge
- Shalom Rav – Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, by Rabbi Brant Rosen
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST ALERT:
Tell our Leaders Not to Move the U.S. Embassy in Israel
Take action today to tell President Trump not to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and not to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. These actions will result in a step backward in an already fragile peace process and further diminish hopes for a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
Read their full call to action and send the message here
JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE ALERT
Churches for Middle East Peace:
Tell Congress: Jerusalem is a Final Status Issue
Stand with the people of the Holy Land – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim – in pursuit of lasting peace. Tell Congress that the occupation of East Jerusalem must end and remind your Members that Jerusalem is a final status issue and its boundaries must be determined within a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.
Take action here
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns:
Tell Congress: Oppose funding the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
President Trump has reversed decades of U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and directing the State Department to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. This is a dangerous move, legitimizing Israel’s unlawful annexation of East Jerusalem and stoking violence throughout the region.
Urge your members of Congress to speak out against Trump’s dangerous decision on Jerusalem and against funding the construction of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
Take action here
Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)
Palestinian Letter on Jerusalem
We invite Palestinians from all walks of life to sign this letter. We ask that non-Palestinian allies circulate this petition and follow the action items at the end, rather than signing it.
See the statement here
Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem is illegal under international law and a roadblock to a just and lasting peace
Download and print them
STATEMENTS AND LETTERS
Letter to President Trump from The Patriarchs and Heads of Jerusalem Churches
EXCERPT: Mr. President, we have been following, with concern, the reports about the possibility of changing how the United States understands and deals with the status of Jerusalem. We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division. We ask from you Mr. President to help us all walk towards more love and a definitive peace, which cannot be reached without Jerusalem being for all.
Our solemn advice and plea is for the United States to continue recognizing the present international status of Jerusalem. Any sudden changes would cause irreparable harm. We are confident that, with strong support from our friends, Israelis and Palestinians can work towards negotiating a sustainable and just peace, benefiting all who long for the Holy City of Jerusalem to fulfil its destiny. The Holy City can be shared and fully enjoyed once a political process helps liberate the hearts of all people, that live within it, from the conditions of conflict and destructiveness that they are experiencing.
Read and download the full letter here
Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
Patriarch Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate
Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator, Latin Patriarchate
Fr. Francesco Patton, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land
Archbishop Anba Antonious, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem
Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate
Archbishop Aba Embakob, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
Archbishop Joseph-Jules Zerey, Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate
Archbishop Mosa El-Hage, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate
Archbishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
Msgr. Georges Dankaye’, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
Secretary General, Middle East Council of Churches (MECC):
Jerusalem Must Be A City of Peace
This move will have major consequences for Christians in Jerusalem and Palestine, as well as the entire Christian community across the region.
It negatively and profoundly impacts the prospects for a two-state solution and a just peace between Palestine and Israel. And, it unnecessarily stokes the flames of discord in the Middle East, when we are already facing pervasive and grave threats against the safety, human rights, well-being and dignity of the region’s people.
Together, standing united with our member churches, we must express our disappointment with this decision — especially in light of President Trump’s public statements of support for Christians in the Middle East. This shift in U.S. foreign policy does nothing but make things more difficult for our community to survive in the midst of already monumental challenges to our sustained presence and witness in the land where we, the Church and Christ were born.
See the full letter
Statement from the Palestinian BDS National Committee
EXCERPT: U.S. President Donald Trump’s reported plan to recognize occupied Jerusalem as the “capital of Israel” is an appalling attempt to give legitimacy to Israel’s illegal control of the city by a xenophobic and racist U.S. administration whose own legitimacy is precarious at best. This anti-Palestinian and illegal act reverses decades of official U.S. policy regarding Jerusalem and contradicts the international consensus.
Palestinians, supported by the absolute majority in the Arab world and millions of people of conscience worldwide, will not accept this latest U.S. surrender to Israel’s extremist agenda. We shall continue to insist on attaining our UN-stipulated rights and ending Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid through popular resistance and the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
As Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, speaking for the Palestine Liberation Organization, has reacted, the Trump administration “is undermining the global rule of law, as well as American standing, credibility, security, and interests around the world.”
This recognition would be the most serious form of complicity to date by the administration in cementing Israel’s apartheid regime in Jerusalem and accelerating its ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians from their city.
It encourages the Israeli government and illegal settlers to steal and destroy more Palestinian homes, expropriate more Palestinian land, and revoke the residency rights of more Palestinians for whom Jerusalem is home.
This latest move by the Trump administration also encourages Israel to continue barring most Palestinians in the occupied territories from entering occupied Jerusalem, including to worship at our sacred Muslim and Christian holy sites in the Old City, visit our family and friends, access medical care, and do business. It legitimizes cutting many Palestinians off from a center of their cultural, spiritual and political life.
Read the full statement
World Council of Churches:
On US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
In a move that has caused grave concern in the region and the wider international
community, President Trump has announced his administration’s plans to recognize
Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Such a step breaks with the longstanding international consensus, and almost seven decades of established American policy, that the status of Jerusalem remains to be settled. It also pre-empts a negotiated resolution of this most difficult issue in any final peace agreement, which must be achieved between Israelis and Palestinians themselves.
The WCC shares and strongly affirms the concerns expressed by His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, that this measure will have serious implications for security and stability in the Middle East, will undermine the efforts of the American administration to resume the peace process and fuel the feelings of Palestinian Muslims and Christians alike. Together with King Abdullah, we also stress that “Jerusalem is the key to achieving peace and security in the world”.
The United States must play a pivotal role in encouraging and supporting constructive negotiations between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, if the moribund peace process is to be revived. But the imposition of this decision on the status of Jerusalem will only lead to more disillusionment, increased tensions, and diminished hopes. It cannot serve the interests of a just peace in the region. The World Council of Churches calls on the US Administration to reconsider its position on this key issue….
Read the full statement
World Methodist Council:
Statement on President Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as Capital of Israel
EXCERPT: At this time of social, political, and religious sensitivity around the status of Jerusalem, we express dismay at the announcement of President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, dismissing decades of established American policy and international consensus. Such a move undermines peace-building efforts in the region between the two states. His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan stated that the city, which has long been home to three Abrahamic faiths, is the key to achieving peace and security in the region and in the world.
Read the full statement
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights:
Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is politically dangerous and morally egregious
Trump has just upended decades of US foreign policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This effectively hands Israel a blank political check for its illegal annexation of Jerusalem and legitimizes Israel’s ongoing displacement and disenfranchisement of the city’s Palestinian residents. Trump’s move is politically dangerous, and morally egregious.
We are raising our voices in protest of this unprecedented move that flies in the face of international law, and are bringing Palestinian rights back into the conversation. You can read our official statement here, and see our take on the situation in The Washington Post, The Intercept, Middle East Eye, BuzzFeed News, and USA Today.
Trump is telling Israel that its current separate-and-unequal – otherwise known as apartheid – regime between Israeli Jews and Palestinians, which discriminates against Palestinians in municipal planning services, taxation, housing and education, and is designed to demographically engineer a permanent Jewish majority in Jerusalem, is A-okay. He is also legitimizing Israel’s violations in Jerusalem of the Fourth Geneva Convention, including but not limited to its demolition of Palestinian homes, its illegal settlements, and its apartheid wall.
For 70 years now, the US has given Israel tacit approval and diplomatic cover to steal Palestinian land, build illegal Jewish settlements, and deny Palestinians in East Jerusalem and elsewhere their rights. In spite of this, official US policy has always opposed recognizing Israel’s claims to sovereignty over the city.
Not anymore. Trump’s recognition does away with any pretense that the US is an unbiased mediator, and further endorses Israel’s illegal actions and abuses of Palestinian human rights in the city.
This move is but another example of Trump emboldening Israel’s extreme right-wing government and settler movement, and drives home the shared values of Trump and Netanyahu’s right-wing governments: stoking racism, xenophobia, and fear for political gain.
If you are looking for more information about the implications of this move, read our policy paper on the topic, “Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem: Historical, Legal and Policy Considerations.”
Trump’s announcement makes it glaringly obvious that it is long past time for the world to pressure Israel to respect Palestinian human rights through support for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). We will continue to uplift BDS as we fight for freedom, justice, and equality. Trump has made clear today that BDS is more important than ever.
See this at the US Campaign website
The National Council of Churches:
NCC Opposes U.S. Decision to Declare Jerusalem as Capital of Israel
In 1980, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA adopted a policy statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In that statement, the NCC said, “Unilateral actions by any one group in relation to Jerusalem will only perpetuate antagonisms that will threaten the peace of the city and possibly of the region.” In 2007, the NCC again affirmed a shared Jerusalem.
We reiterate those statements today. For decades, U.S. presidents have acted with prudence and caution regarding Jerusalem. President Trump’s actions threaten to unleash violence throughout the region and severely damage any remaining U.S. diplomatic credibility to act as a broker for a peace agreement.
The status of Jerusalem has long been at the center of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. While West Jerusalem serves as the de facto capital of Israel, East Jerusalem has always been considered the capital of the future state of Palestine. By unilaterally declaring the entire city to be Israel’s capital, and by announcing the upcoming move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Mr. Trump has thrown fuel on the fires of conflict in the region. People are likely to die as a direct result of this decision.
Some of Mr. Trump’s supporters claim biblical, theological and historical reasons to uphold Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. They are in error. The Christians in the Holy Land, whose communities trace their lineage to the first days of Christianity, know that these reasons are specious. Mr. Trump’s simplistic approach to the complexities of the region make a mockery of the hardships the people there – whether Israelis or Palestinians, whether Christians or Jews or Muslims – have suffered over the years.
See the statement at their website
U.S. Christian Leaders Stand with Heads of Jerusalem Churches
EXCERPTS: In August, the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem wrote an appeal urging “all people of good will, to support us in order to ensure that no further attempts are made from any quarter to change the historical Status Quo [in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.]” We, as American Christian leaders, express our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, and our commitment to religious liberty for all faiths in Jerusalem.
As the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem call us to remember, the suffering of Christians in the Holy Land “do not affect one Church only; they affect us all, and they affect Christians and all people of good will around the world.” For the sake of the common good, we, the leaders of American Christian churches and organizations, urge all followers of Christ to listen to and heed the pleas of the churches of Jerusalem. Let us call upon our government officials to bring our concerns over the future of access to holy sites in Jerusalem before the government of Israel. Together, let us lay the foundations for peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land. L et this be our hope this Advent.
Read the full statement
Statement from Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
EXCERPT: Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) strongly opposes any unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move of the U.S. Embassy without a comprehensive
peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.
It has been long standing U.S. policy that Jerusalem is a final status issue. CMEP promotes a
shared Jerusalem by Palestinians and Israelis, and pursues an end to the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza, while advocating for a comprehensive resolution to the conflict that advances security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians. If the President moves forward with his unilateral decision, it will create a security threat for Israelis, Palestinians, Americans, and the Middle East.
Read the full statement
Report on statement by Pope Francis, Roman Catholic Church
(Statement just before Trump’s expected announcement):
Pope appeals for wisdom and prudence to prevail over Jerusalem
Pope Francis has appealed for respect for Jerusalem’s status quo according to the pertinent United Nations Resolutions regarding the city
Speaking after his catechesis to the crowds in the Paul VI Hall during the weekly General Audience, the Pope said “my thoughts go to Jerusalem and I cannot keep silent my deep concern for the situation that has been created in the past days”.
“At the same time, he continued, I would like to make a heartfelt appeal for everyone’s commitment to respect the city’s status quo, in conformity with the pertinent United Nations Resolutions”.
The Pope’s words of concern came on Wednesday ahead of an expected announcement by US President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Arab leaders have warned the move will create turmoil and trigger violence.
Describing Jerusalem as unique city which is “Holy for Jews, Christians and Muslims, who venerate the Holy Sites of their respective religions”, the Pope said it has a special vocation for peace.
“I pray to the Lord that its identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence prevail to prevent new elements of tension from being added to a global context already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts” he said.
See the report from the Vatican
Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns, Roman Catholic Church:
Maryknoll condemns President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
EXCERPTS: The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns condemns the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. This decision is a grave threat to peace.
….We lift up the pope’s appeal to those in power to respect “the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.”
“The United States’ decision will further entrench Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the human rights violations that the Palestinian people suffer daily,” said Gerry Lee, director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. “This decision will only foster more hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and throughout the Middle East.”
Jerusalem is a place of pilgrimage for Christians from all around the world, yet Christians who live just next door to the city must get permits to worship there and may be denied entry altogether….Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, having unilaterally annexed the eastern portions of the city following the 1967 war in a move not recognized by the international community, which included the United States — until now.
Housing is one of the key areas in which Palestinians in Jerusalem face discrimination….Even as Palestinian homes are destroyed and their residents displaced, building continues in the illegal Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem….
The restrictions on movement which affect education also affect Palestinians’ access to sites of worship. For Palestinians living in the occupied territories, getting to and from Jerusalem means navigating an obstacle course of checkpoints, permits, intermittent closures, and the separation barrier….
To achieve lasting peace, the occupation of East Jerusalem must end and the status of Jerusalem and its boundaries must be determined by a peace agreement between Israeli and Palestinians. The United States’ decision to turn a blind eye to these serious concerns and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel can only foment violence and endanger lives.
The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns urges the U.S. Congress to denounce the Trump administration’s decision and to deny funding the move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
To send this message to your member of the U.S. Congress, fill out our action alert.
Pax Christi International
Pax Christi International calls upon UN Security Council members to strongly oppose the US government’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
Pax Christi International is appalled by the decision of U.S. President Trump, on 6
December 2017 (1), to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as well as to start the process of moving the U.S. embassy there. We are very concerned about the devastating consequences it will have for reaching a just resolution to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In line with the EU, the UN and governments around the world, we condemn this unilateral decision by the U.S. government which violates international law and is detrimental to any Israeli-Palestinian peace effort. We call upon UN Security Council members to strongly oppose this decision in the emergency meeting that is expected to take place on 8 December 2017 at the UN in New York.
….We are convinced that the decision of the U.S. government is an international threat to peace and security in the Middle East region and the world. We welcome the request of eight UN Security Council Member States (5) to schedule an emergency meeting to discuss the decision. We ask the UN Security Council members to take the following action:
To strongly condemn the decision of the U.S. government as a violation of
international law and UN resolutions and to demand the continued recognition of the present international status of Jerusalem.
To reaffirm the position taken by UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (6), in 2016,
that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 boundaries, including in
regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.
To confirm its determination to support the Israelis and Palestinians to reach a just
and sustainable solution, guaranteeing the fundamental rights of both Israelis and
To consider, as a possible solution, the reunification of the city of Jerusalem by
recognising two legal, political parts, each with its own political capital, working to
ensure equal rights for all.
To protect and preserve the unique religious interests of the city: the three great
monotheistic faiths of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
Read the full statement
South African Council of Churches
SACC Statement on President Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel
EXCERPTS: The South African Council of Churches joins the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, the World Methodist Council, Pope Francis and the wider international Community in voicing profound concern over President Trump’s ill-advised declaration that Jerusalem is henceforth the Israeli capital: a shocking, monumental geopolitical move that could trigger deep, far-reaching and cataclysmic repercussions that could bring in unimaginable upheaval and instability in the already volatile Middle East region.
President Trump officially recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – one of the most contentious issues at the heart of the decades long Israeli-Palestinian conflict because the Palestinians also lay claim to East Jerusalem as their own capital. Trump’s pronouncement flagrantly flouts UN resolutions that have never recognised Jerusalem as an exclusively Israeli capital because of its historical importance to two peoples and three religions. Because the question of Jerusalem is part of the agenda for the final resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; potentially, this ill-timed political announcement undermines and unravels years of precarious and occasionally intractable peace talks, attempted by various American Administrations since the Six- Day war in 1967, in one fell swoop.
….We continue to implore the international community that vociferously condemned Apartheid to open its eyes to the pain and suffering of Palestinians in the occupied areas and urge Israel and the USA to refrain from legitimizing and characterizing Jerusalem as belonging exclusively to the State of Israel. This could destroy the tenuous ceasefire which has held hitherto and may compromise all the political progress gained through negotiations by President Arafat and Prime Minister Rabin, who paid the ultimate price for their pursuit of a two-state solution.
Download the full statement
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP):
Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration – Background, Talking Points, and Key Actions
EXCERPTS: On Wednesday, December 6, President Trump announced his decision to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem which he declared as the capital of Israel in gross violation of international law. This move contravenes decades of bipartisan U.S. foreign policy that considers Jerusalem a final-status negotiation issue.
Officially changing Jerusalem’s status is reckless and dangerous. It would shift the decades old U.S. position that Jerusalem is disputed ground and its status should be resolved through negotiations. However, international law and international resolutions stipulate that Jerusalem is occupied territory, and the native inhabitants of the city are being ethnically cleansed.
….Declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital not only transgresses the rights of Palestinians who are being ethnically cleansed in their own homeland, but also threatens U.S. national security and interests. It severely jeopardizes its standing around the world, especially within the Muslim World, and ends any possibility of being an “honest broker” in the Middle East. In fact, it’s widely reported that President Trump’s own foreign policy advisers cautioned him against this reckless decision and it will not bring about the “ultimate deal,” which Trump often brags about; rather, it sends a message to Palestinians that their self-determination is no longer a priority in peace negotiations.
Read the full statement, background information and action items
African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME):
AME Church joins with ecumenical partners to denounce Trump Administration action on Jerusalem
EXCERPTS: The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church has a storied history of creating consensus in areas where parties desire but are having difficulty in finding the middle ground. In the peace negotiations related to Jerusalem, we support the
Statements of the World Council of Churches, the World Methodist Council,
and the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCCUSA) bodies in which we
are members and participants in the leadership.
….The action taken by the President of the United States is inconsistent with engaging the stakeholders, finding lasting solutions, and achieving a peace that is more than the absence of conflict/war/terrorist acts. It flies in the face of finding peace on earth, in a season where we are affirming the continued quest for this seemingly elusive quality of life. In fact, it seems to be the actions of a bully.
And for all of these reasons, we stand with those who oppose the action of declaring
Jerusalem the capital of Israel and urge continued efforts to find lasting peace. We urge resumption of Peace Talks with renewed urgency.
Read the full statement
The Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
ELCA presiding bishop responds to decision to move U.S. Embassy in Israel
CHICAGO – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA), has issued the following statement in response to the decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
I am deeply disturbed to learn of the Trump administration’s plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel away from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The ELCA has long held the view that a negotiated, final status agreement, including a “shared Jerusalem,” must be reached without unilateral actions by any party that would prejudice the outcome of negotiations.
This unilateral action would not support the cause of peace and a two-state solution, but rather would unnecessarily create further tensions and possible violence that would make efforts to bring them back together for talks much more difficult. As my brother in Christ and colleague, Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, has often said, the security of Israelis depends on the freedom of Palestinians and the freedom of Palestinians depends on the security of Israelis. This proposed action would make both more insecure.
To proceed with this plan will only further isolate our nation from the global movement for a just peace for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike in the region and our church’s policy that seeks an end to the occupation, an end to terrorism and violence, and, ultimately, the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. Since the announcement is one of intentions, I call upon the president to rescind this plan and instead continue to focus on our nation’s ability to contribute constructively toward a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Along with other interreligious partners, I continue to stand ready to discuss with the president ways to reach a peaceful settlement of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.
See this statement at the ELCA website
Report on Open Letter to Trump from the President and the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation:
LWF urges US President Trump to refrain from recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocating the US embassy
In an open letter to US President Donald J. Trump, The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) President Archbishop Dr Panti Filibus Musa and LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge express deep dismay over the news that the US president is considering recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocating the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“This unilateral action contravenes the long-held position of the international community according to which Jerusalem is a city shared by two people and three religions.”
They express deep concern that “such a move will thwart the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian Peace and trigger widespread violence in the Middle East and the rest of the world. The Middle East and the world need peace not more violence.”
On behalf of the LWF they unequivocally oppose “any unilateral action that prejudges the status of Jerusalem or constitutes its recognition as a city within the sovereign territory of one State.”
See the full article, with a link to download the letter
Report from The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), Office of the General Assembly Communications:
In the Holy Land, Stated Clerk calls upon President Trump not to move U.S. embassy
EXCERPT: The Reverend J. Herbert Nelson, II, General Assembly Stated Clerk for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), today asked U.S. religious leaders to “call upon President Trump to not make his reported decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
Nelson, who is currently in the Holy Land with a group of PC(USA) leaders, wrote in an email to Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches (NCC), that “this move will create chaos and possible violence and dim the possibility for a just and lasting peace” in the region. “Furthermore,” Nelson wrote, “it will disrupt the call to celebrate our Christian witness to the coming of the Prince of Peace during this Advent season.”
Read the full article
General Secretaries, General Boards of Global Ministries and of Church and Society, United Methodist Church
On the U.S. President’s Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
EXCERPT: United Methodists have long supported the international consensus that the things that make for just and lasting peace in the Middle East must include a shared Jerusalem. Our General Conference declares: “Jerusalem is sacred to all children of Abraham: Jews, Muslims, and Christians. We have a vision of a shared Jerusalem, as a city of peace and reconciliation, where indigenous Palestinians and Israelis can live as neighbors and, along with visitors and tourists, have access to holy sites and exercise freedom of religious expression. The peaceful resolution of Jerusalem’s status is crucial to the success of the whole process of making a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis” (The United Methodist Book of Resolutions, 2016, #6111).
When the government of Israel annexed East Jerusalem, in violation of international law, the World Council of Churches joined the international community in protest, declaring: “This decision is contrary to all pertinent UN resolutions. It most dangerously undermines all efforts towards the just solution of the Middle East problem and thus jeopardizes regional and world peace” (WCC statement, August 1980).
….The US President’s unilateral decision places another huge stumbling block in the path towards just peace for all—Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Christians, and Muslims. It risks emboldening further Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and further displacement of Palestinians from East Jerusalem.
See the full statement
Message from Moderator of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN)
of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
EXCERPT: Putting the United States embassy in Jerusalem is a faithless and dangerous decision. For a people now jammed into the pressure cooker of open air prisons created by walls, fences, restricted highways and “no man’s” (and woman’s) lands, this move is one of the most demoralizing insults in a long historical line of insults to a long-suffering indigenous people who resist and persist year-in, year-out. Even in times during the First and Second Intifadas, when a relatively small percentage of extremists resisted their persecution violently, the vast majority of Palestinians resisted by merely existing on their ancestral lands and living day to day with sumud, the Arabic concept of steadfastness.
Read the full message
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Palestine Israel Network (DisciplesPIN):
Statement & Call to Action in Response to President Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel
EXCERPT: We condemn President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, joining our voice to those of our Global Ministries Mission Partners in Palestine and Israel, the thirteen Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, the Middle East Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, our partner denominations, our Muslim and Jewish friends and persons of other faiths and good will around the world.
In addition to placing an enormous obstacle along the path to a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Muslims and Christians, Trump’s unilateral decision will have the effect of legitimizing Israel’s continuing destruction of Palestinian homes, ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem, construction of illegal settlements, and ongoing attempts to annex East Jerusalem.
As far back as 1980, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) took the position that “Unilateral actions by any one group in relation to Jerusalem will only perpetuate antagonisms that will threaten the peace of the city and possibly of the region” when it affirmed the National Council of Churches’ Middle East Policy Statement and again through a General Assembly Resolution Jerusalem City of Life (1997).
Read the full statement
From US Campaign for Palestinian Rights:
Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem: Historical, Legal and Policy Considerations
President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would upend seven decades of bipartisan US policy toward Jerusalem, which has consistently avoided recognizing Israeli claims to sovereignty over any portion of the contested city.
In 1947, the United States voted for UN General Assembly Resolution 181 recommending the partition of Palestine into two states. Recognizing the religious significance of the city to adherents of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the partition plan called for Jerusalem to be a corpus separatum, an international city administered by an UN-appointed governor who would be neither Israeli nor Palestinian.
The partition plan was never implemented as fighting broke out first between Zionist militias and local Palestinian forces prior and later between the newly established State of Israel and surrounding Arab states. The war ended in 1949 with Israel signing armistice agreements with neighboring Arab states. The Israeli-Jordanian armistice agreement resulted in Jerusalem being divided between Israel, which controlled the western portion of the city, and Jordan, which controlled the eastern portion.
In 1967, Israel militarily occupied the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem. In the aftermath of this war, Israel extended the boundaries of its Jerusalem municipality to encompass East Jerusalem and in 1980 the Israeli parliament passed a law stipulating the entirety of Jerusalem as its capital. Since 1967, however, the United States has maintained that East Jerusalem is held under military occupation and that Israeli settlements there violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. Although the United States has opposed the re-division of Jerusalem, its consistent policy for the past fifty years has been that its status can only be determined through negotiations.
During the Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations, Congress enacted legislation designed to force the hand of the Executive Branch to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there. On all occasions, the Executive Branch resisted these efforts to intrude into presidential foreign policy-making prerogatives. During the Obama administration, the Department of Justice argued that one of these laws was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court agreed and struck it down.
The Trump administration could move the US Embassy to Jerusalem either by its own determination or by failing to renew the waiver provision contained in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. To do so, however, would be a grave mistake. Moving the embassy would:
• Upend seven decades of US policy refusing to recognize Israeli sovereignty over any part of the city, including portions of the city held by Israel prior to 1967.
• Legitimize Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Jerusalem in 1948 and its denial of Palestinian refugee rights there. In addition, US citizens have property claims on the land leased by the United States for a diplomatic facility in Jerusalem.
• Legitimize Jerusalem’s current separate-and-unequal regime between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. This regime discriminates against Palestinians in municipal planning, services, housing and education and is designed to demographically engineer a permanent Jewish majority.
• Legitimize Israel’s violations in Jerusalem of the Fourth Geneva Convention, including its demolishing of Palestinian homes, and its illegal settlements and wall.
See and download the full paper here
From AFSC’s Occupation Realities Series:
East Jerusalem and the Politics of Occupation (2004)
Jerusalem is a microcosm of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since the conflict began, conditions in the Holy City have always reflected wider relations between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. Jerusalem will not, for good or ill, escape this role in the future. The justice and stability of the peace now being negotiated by Palestinian and Israelis will inevitably be mirrored in Jerusalem. An agreement on Jerusalem that can command broad assent among Israelis and Palestinians is essential to a lasting peace.
Download this resource (8pp, pdf)
IMEU Fact Sheet:
The Legal Status of Jerusalem
Published May 2017, this succinct resource has 8 bullet points: the essentials about the legal status of Jerusalem. Download this resource (2pp, pdf)
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP):
Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration – Background, Talking Points, and Key Actions
Includes: The Issue and Ramifications; A Message of Hope; Action Items: Educate…Mobilize…Organize…; American Muslims are tied to Palestine spiritually and socio-politically.
See it at AMP’s website
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP):
The Judaization of Jerusalem
Since it illegally occupied Jerusalem in the 1967 war, Israel has gone to great lengths to destroy any vestiges of other faiths in attempts to rewrite history and “Judaize” the holy city of Jerusalem.
In addition to changing street and other signage to Hebrew and English – erasing the Arabic language – demolishing mosques and churches, Israeli authorities are intent on transferring the indigenous Palestinian population out of Jerusalem. Israel also continues to expand illegal settlements in Arab East Jerusalem, in many cases building Jewish-only apartment buildings in the center of Arab neighborhoods.
See the full report at AMP’s website
Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network:
Focus on Jerusalem (A Collection of Analytical Articles) March 2017
Moving the US Embassy: The Fallout
Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem Would Destroy Palestine’s Hopes of Justice
By Nur Arafeh
This Guardian op-ed by Arafeh argues that a US embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would not only violate international law, but would also deny the Palestinian right to self-determination and freedom. She details the move’s potential consequences, including an increase in settlement construction and inflamed tensions. Read more
On Trump’s Pledge to Move the US Embassy to Jerusalem
With Mouin Rabbani
In this expert Q&A for IMEU, Rabbani explains how the establishment of a US embassy in Jerusalem would mean an extreme U-turn in US policy — one that “would constitute an act of premeditated political pyromania with unforeseen local, regional, and global consequences.” Read more…
Israel’s Strategies – And Why They’re Wrong
Israel’s Dangerous New Transfer Tactic in Jerusalem
By Munir Nuseibah
Nuseibah’s Al-Shabaka commentary investigates the “breach of allegiance” to the state of Israel residency revocation policy and how it creates new Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons, with the aim of maintaining a Jewish majority in Jerusalem. Read more
Which Jerusalem? Israel’s Little-Known Master Plans
By Nur Arafeh
Arafeh’s in-depth policy brief for Al-Shabaka dissects Israel’s relatively unknown master plans and their aim to shape the city into a tourism and high-tech center, and the ways they use urban planning to reshape the city’s demography, to the detriment of Palestinians. (See also this panel discussion on Israel’s master plans, with Raja Khalidi, Maha Samman, and Nur Arafeh). Read more…
In Jerusalem, “Religious War” Is Used to Cloak Colonialism
By Nur Arafeh
Arafeh’s Al-Shabaka policy brief analyzes how the media and Israeli right wingers bill conflicts between Israeli settlers and Jerusalemite Palestinians as part of a “religious war,” though they are the outcome of longstanding Israeli plans to “Judaize” the city and empty it of its Palestinian inhabitants. Read more
The Impact on the Palestinians in Jerusalem
More Israeli Settlements Will Mean Fewer Palestinians
By Munir Nuseibah
Nuseibah’s op-ed for The Hill recounts how Israeli settlement construction affects Palestinian individuals and families, and outlines how settlements and other displacement strategies are part of a larger Israeli plan to remove Palestinians from theWest Bank and Israel proper. Read more
Living Under Israeli Policies of Colonization in East Jerusalem
Al-Shabaka, with five other civil society organizations and Visualizing Palestine, created graphics to raise awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies in Jerusalem, their effects on the Palestinian population, and the violations of international humanitarian and human rights law that arise. Read more
Jerusalem: Israel’s Vision Vs. Palestine’s Reality
By Nur Arafeh
In this Al-Shabaka briefing, Arafeh details Israel’s continued efforts to “Judaize” Jerusalem and presents recommendations to halt these policies, as well as to improve the economy and society of East Jerusalem. Read more
Economic Collapse in East Jerusalem: Strategies for Recovery
By Nur Arafeh
In yet another authoritative Al-Shabaka policy brief, Arafeh examines Israel’s deliberately engineered economic collapse of East Jerusalem through the deterioration of its tourism sector and the commercial markets of the Old City. Read more
The Future of Jerusalem: Sacred Space or Open City?
By Salim Tamari
Tamari, a renowned expert on Jerusalem, dissects for Al-Shabaka the origins of the sacrilization of Jerusalem and how it has obscured changes on the ground. He argues that proposals for the future of Jerusalem ignore the fact that at its core the conflict over the city is a case of colonial subjugation that must be addressed and resolved equitably. Read more
PLO Negotiation Affairs Department:
Special Focus: Occupied East Jerusalem
Jerusalem has always been and remains the political, administrative and spiritual heart of Palestine. Occupied East Jerusalem is the natural socio-economic and political center for the Palestinian state given its cultural importance, commercial vitality, historical significance, and geographic centrality connecting the northern and southern parts of Palestine. It is an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), as recognized by the international community and relevant United Nations (UN) resolutions. Consequently, there can be no viable Palestinian state without East Jerusalem as its capital.
See this at the NAD website
or download this pdf
PLO Negotiation Affairs Department:
The Status of Jerusalem in International Law
Jerusalem (Al-Quds in Arabic) has a deep religious significance for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. One of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem has been at the crossroads of cultures and civilisations throughout history. Since antiquity, different peoples and groups have fought innumerable battles for control over it. Since the nineteenth century, the city has been the object of conflicting claims by Jews and Palestinian Arabs. These claims have acquired a political and territorial dimension in addition to the religious one, since both peoples claim that the city embodies their national identity and right to self-determination. However, Jerusalem’s religious and historical significance should not be allowed to color the legal arguments as to the status of the city in international law.
See the report on the NAD website
or download a pdf file
PLO Negotiation Affairs Department
Resurrection and Israeli Restrictions: Easter in Jerusalem (April 2017)
Occupied East Jerusalem is the center of Palestinian celebrations, whether Easter or Ramadan. For Christians, Jesus Christ preached in Jerusalem and was later judged, crucified and resurrected there. For Muslims, Jerusalem is where the prophet Muhammad ascended to the heavens and the first place towards which Muslims prayed, before Mecca.
Download this resource (4pp, pdf)
You Can Be an Evangelical and Reject Trump’s Jerusalem Decision
by Gary Burge
Few developments could have excited President Trump’s evangelical base more than his intention to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This base came through for him in the 2016 election, with 81 percent of white evangelicals voting for him. When he promised during his campaign that moving the embassy was high on his agenda and even said it would be one of his first acts as president, many evangelicals cheered.
But other evangelicals—myself included—were cautious, viewing this move as an idea that
needs to be left on the shelf. And they are worried now. Despite media portrayals giving the
impression that evangelicals have one point of view when it comes to Israel, in reality there
is a wide range of perspectives.
Read more at The Atlantic
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
by Rabbi Brant Rosen
In response to Donald Trump’s announcement yesterday recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol, Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “Jerusalem has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia.” Very true – however these prayers were irrevocably bound up with the coming of the messiah.
Apart from all of the political analyses about this latest maneuver, this point bears repeating: Zionism has always been, in its way, a kind of false messiah.
I’m far from the first to point this out. Back in 1928 for instance, the venerable Jewish scholar Gershom Scholem commented:
The messianic phraseology of Zionism, especially in its decisive moments, is not the least of those Sabbatian temptations which could bring disaster to the renewal of Judaism.
I genuinely believe that the disaster Scholem wrote has already come to pass. This zealous drive for political sovereignty and control over Jerusalem as the “eternal undivided capitol of the Jewish people” is a form of idolatry that has all but highjacked a venerable spiritual tradition. Now I fear a much more cataclysmic disaster is waiting in the wings.
Read the full article at Rosen’s blog: Shalom Rav