World Council of Churches Office of Communication
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2 October 2000

WCC Executive Committee notes concern for Jerusalem

cf. WCC Press Feature of 12 September 2000

Meeting at a time of violent confrontation sparked by tension about the future status of Jerusalem, the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches on Friday, 29 September 2000 approved a resolution on the "Jerusalem Final Status Negotiations". In a warning that predicts the events that followed its meeting, the resolution's drafters wrote: "As events in these last days of September 2000 have so tragically demonstrated, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement that includes Jerusalem, violence will find its way into the streets of the Holy City".

The resolution reiterates the World Council of Churches' conviction that the solution to the question of Jerusalem is primarily the responsibility of the parties directly involved, but that the Christian churches and the Jewish and Muslim religious communities have a central role to play in relation to the negotiations.

The Executive Committee's message encourages the parties involved to have the courage to abandon exclusive claims in favour of efforts to build an open, inclusive, shared city where free access to Holy Places and freedom of worship are assured for people of all faiths. The Executive Committee declared that it shares the conviction of the Patriarchs and heads of Christian communities in Jerusalem who, on 26 September 2000, stated that Jerusalem "should be an instrument of peace". The Executive Committee welcomed both this statement and the supportive steps taken by church leaders in the USA.

The WCC Executive Committee met in Geneva, 26-29 September.

Click here for the full text of the "Resolution on Jerusalem Final Status Negotiations" (Document no. 7.3a Adopted).
Click here for the text of a Background paper on the status of Jerusalem presented to the Executive Committee.

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The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 337, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.