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World Council of Churches condemns Israel’s discrimination against Palestinians

July 1, 2022 at 1:57 pm

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III arrives to lead the traditional Washing of the Feet ceremony in front of the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City, on April 21, 2022, as part of the Christian Orthodox Holy Week [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]

The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) issued a statement at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, accusing Israel of “overtly and systematically discriminating Palestinians,” reported Wafa news agency.

Meeting earlier this month, the WCC’s governing body said that recent events, including the forced displacement of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, “have highlighted the mounting obstacles to a just peace in the region”.

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of 352 churches from more than 120 countries representing over 580 million Christians worldwide.

It expressed deep concern regarding Israel’s recent disruption of Christian religious observances, following the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision that enabled Israeli settlers to expropriate church properties near the Jaffa Gate, in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem.

Last week, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition filed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate to nullify the seizure of three assets by the Ateret Cohanim settler organisation in the Jaffa Gate area.

READ: Russia expresses ‘deep concerns’ over settler takeover of Christian land in Jerusalem

All Israeli settlers and the settlements in which they live are illegal under international law.

The statement also noted “the lack of accountability for the IDF personnel considered most likely responsible for the killing of journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh” in comparison to Israel’s “response to recent attacks on Israelis, in which Palestinians responsible for such attacks were killed, their homes demolished and their families displaced.”

In addition to this, it called out the Israeli government and authorities “to ensure equal human rights for all people living under their responsibility, and to ensure accountability for attacks and violations against Palestinians, against the holy places, churches, Christian communities, Muslims and other groups.”

The statement concluded with an appeal to the international community, urging everyone “to speak out against the looming evictions in Masafer Yatta and other threatened displacements of Palestinian communities in the occupied territories.”

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967. Human rights abuses against Palestinians and breaches of international law are daily occurrences.