Global evangelical group joins those expressing concern about Israeli annexation plans in West Bank

(Photo: Albin Hillert/LWF, 2020)

While recognizing the right of self-determination by any nation and the right of any country to defend itself from harm, the World Evangelical Alliance has expressed "deep concerns" over plans for Israel to annex large areas of the West Bank.

"As a global family made of various nations and ethnicities, the WEA is guided and informed by the biblical principles of diversity, reconciliation and peaceful co-operation and co-existence," the alliance based in Deerfield Illinois said in a June 23 statement.

The WEA which serves 600 million evangelicals worldwide is the second major global church grouping to speak on Israel's planned annexation of areas of the West Bank as well as the Roman Catholic Church.

On May 11 the World Council of Churches and Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) appealed in a joint letter to European Union foreign ministers for a firm and principled stance by the EU against any annexation by Israel of occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank.

In that that letter the WCC and MECC said, "The WCC and the MECC are committed to the vision of a just peace for all people in the Holy Land.

"But the unilateral annexation of yet more of the territory that remains to Palestinians cannot lead to justice or to peace, but only to greater injustice, dispossession, escalating tensions, regional destabilization, and the further erosion of respect for international law."

In its statement this week, the WEA said Israel's unilateral move that will be voted on at the beginning of July risks ending any hope for a negotiated peace agreement between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.


"While evangelicals around the world have wide-ranging views on the many complex issues in the Holy Land, there is no doubt that the proposed annexation plans are detrimental for Israelis and Palestinians alike, so we clearly oppose such plans," said Tendero.

"The WEA has Evangelical Alliance members representing both peoples and we seek and pray for peace and flourishing not only for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Israel and Palestine, but for everyone who lives in the Holy Land," said the WEA head.

He noted, "We pray for wisdom for all those involved and for a renewed commitment to negotiations where both sides respect each other's existence and the needs of both peoples, refrain from discrimination and violence, and work in good faith towards solutions that will bring lasting peace."

In a recent statement, the Catholic Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, Anglican Bishop Emeritus Riah Abu El Assal, and Lutheran Bishop Emeritus Munib A. Younan voiced their concern about the status of the Holy Land amid this situation, Vatican News reported.

"The Holy Land is in fire, in a situation of war, and needs to be restored to its holiness," they said.

"It is full of human sufferings, because justice is absent. The land of God calls on all churches, governments, and people of good will, to act and put an end to this tragedy. All believers are responsible."

"We write this appeal as Arab Palestinian Christians, who have lived here since Pentecost, and form an integral part of our society," the statement read.

On May 20, the Holy See, the main governing body of the Catholic Church had reaffirmed its support of a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, and respect for the borders internationally recognized before 1967, Catholic News Agency had reported.

The Holy See today expressed its opposition to an Israeli proposal to annex parts of the Palestinian territories in defiance of international law and the United Nations resolutions governing the territories.

"The Holy See is following the situation closely, and expresses concern about any future actions that could further compromise dialogue," the Vatican stated, according to America Magazine.

The Holy See expressed hope that the Israelis and Palestinians will be able to directly negotiate an agreement with the help of the International Community that will lead to peace -- "so that peace may finally reign in the Holy Land, so beloved by Jews and Christians and Muslims."

WEA noted that over two billion Christians in the world today are represented by three world church bodies. The WEA is one of them, the World Council of Churches, that represents mainly, Anglicans, Lutherans, Orthodox Christians, and traditional Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church make up the three.

(Photo: © Peter Kenny / Ecumenical News)World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General Bishop Efraim Tendero photographed in Tirana, Albania on Nov. 4, 2015.
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