27 Church Leaders Write to Congress opposing unilateral annexation of the Occupied West Bank
Churches for Middle East Peace’s (CMEP) Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, joined 26 church and Christian organizational leaders in a letter to members of Congress opposing the unilateral annexation of significant portions of the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention to proceed with annexation of parts of Area C in the Occupied Palestinian territories as early as July 1. In the letter, the leaders call on “Congress to wield its power of the purse and not allow any United States funds provided to Israel to be used for the recognition, facilitation or support of annexation…” Annexation of occupied Palestinian land is in direct contravention to international law and would have a devastating impact on the prospect of reaching a just and lasting end to the conflict in Israel-Palestine. The full letter is copied below and can be foundhere.
CMEP's executive director Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon says, "As Christians, we cannot support unilateral annexation; because peace must be negotiated between the parties directly involved - Israelis and Palestinians. As Americans, we believe the U.S. must neither foot the bill for annexation, nor provide diplomatic cover for it.”
With just 27 days before the Israeli Government is likely to proceed with formal annexation of parts of the West Bank, it is important for people of faith to raise their voices in opposition to annexation. Visit CMEP’s Churches Against Annexation page to learn more about how you can speak out against annexation and in support of justice and peace for all in Israel-Palestine.
June 02, 2020
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6)
Dear Member of Congress:
We are writing to you as faith leaders who are deeply concerned by the announcement of Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel that annexation of West Bank land could begin as early as July of this year. President Trump has endorsed annexation in his “Peace to Prosperity Proposal.” As recently as April, Secretary Pompeo has also greenlighted this announcement with his statement that annexation is an Israeli decision.
We are committed, as individuals, and as leaders of faith communions and organizations, to the achievement of a just peace in Israel/Palestine that respects and defends the human rights of all who live in that land we call Holy. Unilateral annexation of occupied Palestinian land by the State of Israel is not in the cause of a just peace; annexing thirty percent or more of the West Bank would entrench inequalities and abuses of Palestinians’ human rights for the foreseeable future.
We share the grave concern expressed by the Council of Patriarchs and Heads of the Holy Land Churches who in a statement dated May 7, called upon Israel to refrain from annexation, making clear that such a unilateral move “would bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of the peace process.” Formal annexation is an act of aggression, not a step for peace.
As of this writing, there is no evidence that President Trump and his administration will reverse course and reject annexation. Warning about the Administration’s current trajectory, Rev. Munther Isaac and Father Jamal Khader, Christian leaders in the West Bank, wrote in Haaretz in early May, “Let us be clear: implementing the Trump plan would bring catastrophic consequences for the prospects of a political solution between Israelis and Palestinians, and particularly for the fulfillment of the rights of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian Christians.”
We call on Congress to wield its power of the purse and not allow any United States funds provided to Israel to be used for the recognition, facilitation or support of annexation, or for denial of Palestinian rights and violation of international law, including continuing occupation. Respect for human rights, compliance with international law, and achievement of peace with justice is essential not only for the security and wellbeing of Palestinians, but for that of Israelis as well. Should Congress fail to oppose and create tangible consequences for annexation by the Israeli government, the United States will bear significant responsibility for the continued deprivation of Palestinian rights and for the continuation of the conflict.
The United States has a moral responsibility to promote human rights, justice and peace, both at home and abroad. We are now looking to our Congressional leaders to assure that our country acts courageously and makes clear that annexation undermines the rule of law and is morally unacceptable.
Joyce Ajlouny General Secretary American Friends Service Committee
Rev. Eddy Alemán General Secretary Reformed Church in America
Maurice Bloem Executive in Charge Church World Service
J Ron Byler Executive Director Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon Executive Director Churches for Middle East Peace
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church
Rev. Paula Dempsey Director of Partnership Relations Alliance of Baptists
Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer General Minister and President United Church of Christ
Rev. Elizabeth Eaton Presiding Bishop Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray President Unitarian Universalist Association
Very Reverend James Gannon, ofm, President Franciscan Friars, English Speaking Conference
Susan Gunn Director Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
The Rev. David Guthrie President, Provincial Elders’ Conference Moravian Church in America, Southern Province
Rev. Glen Guyton Executive Director Mennonite Church USA
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey President Council of Bishops The United Methodist Church
Rev. Dr. Nathan Hosler Director, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy Church of the Brethren
Rev. Dr. Julia Brown Karimu President, Division of Overseas Ministries, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada Co-Executive, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth D. Miller President, Provincial Elders’ Conference Moravian Church in America, Northern Province
Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson Stated Clerk of the General Assembly Presbyterian Church (USA)
Rev. Teresa Hord Owens General Minister and President Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada
Diane Randall General Secretary Friends Committee on National Legislation
Dr. Andrea Smith Co-Founder and Board Member Evangelicals 4 Justice
Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson Associate General Minister, United Church of Christ Co-Executive, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Colin P. Watson Sr Acting Executive Director Christian Reformed Church in North America
Jim Winkler President and General Secretary, National Council of Churches
Archpriest Thomas Zain Vicar General Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Johnny Zokovitch Executive Director Pax Christi USA
Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is a coalition of 29 national church communions and organizations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical traditions that works to encourage US policies that actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. CMEP works to mobilize US Christians to embrace a holistic perspective and to be advocates of equality, human rights, security, and justice for Israelis, Palestinians, and all people of the Middle East.
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) 110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 311 Washington, District of Columbia 20002 (202) 543-1222 firstname.lastname@example.org