The Uniting Church in Australia has joined with its global church partners to express grave concerns over the move by the United States to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
World Council of Churches General Secretary Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit warned the US decision to change the status of Jerusalem seriously threatens negotiations for a two-state solution and undermines the efforts of many working for a just peace in Palestine and 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,” Dr Tveit said in a statement.
“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 city of Jerusalem lies at the heart of the Christian faith. The UCA joins its global ecumenical partners in acknowledging Jerusalem as a sacred city, home to two people and three faiths, and central to a just and lasting peace in the region.
The UCA has long advocated for a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine and affirms the right for the State of Israel and the State of Palestine to exist side-by-side in peace and security.
In 2015, as a result of an Assembly resolution, the Uniting Church launched the Living Stones campaign to raise awareness and act on for the plight of Palestinian Christians and Palestinian people who continue to face oppression and injustice.
The UCA stands in solidarity with the people of the Holy Land impacted by this decision and shares the concern expressed by the , of which UnitingWorld is a member, that tensions and violence will escalate in the region, adding to the human suffering of Palestinians.
In a joint Letter to the US President, the Patriarchs and Heads of Local Churches in Jerusalem called on Donald Trump to uphold the international status of Jerusalem.
They wrote: “Our land is called to be a land of peace. Jerusalem, the city of God, is a city of peace for us and for the world.”
The Church leaders appealed to Mr Trump to help them achieve peace.
“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.”
Uniting Church members are urged to pray for the people of Israel and Palestine at this time.
Past UCA President, Rev Prof Andrew Dutney, has offered the following prayer from the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center.
Lord, we pray for the city of peace, our city Jerusalem. May the powerful decision makers abandon tyranny and exclusivity and surrender to your will of justice and inclusivity. We pray for true peace in the city of Jerusalem, the city loved by all its children.
Lord in your Mercy…
Image: Flickr/Neta Bartal