Statement on the Building of a Wall between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (CAW Endorsement of World Council of Churches Statement)

March 16, 2004

CAW National Executive Board

March 16th, 2004

The National Executive Board (NEB) of the CAW met and considered the statement issued by the World Council of Churches (WCC) on the building of a wall between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The NEB endorses that statement which is summarized by the WCC as follows:

The executive committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) meeting in Geneva on February 17th 2004, issued a powerful appeal to the Israeli government demanding that they "stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories".

The "construction and location" of the Israeli wall on occupied Palestinian territory is a "violation of the Charter of the United Nations and fundamental principles of international law. It also calls on all member churches and ecumenical partners to "condemn the wall as an act of unlawful annexation", which "should not be recognised by any state".

The statement "strongly condemns the violations of human rights and humanitarian consequences" of the barrier. The resulting obstacles in accessing workplaces, farmland, health services and schools among others, constitute a violation of the rights to liberty of movement, work, adequate standard of living including housing, health care, education and equality before the law.

Welcoming the hearing of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the WCC executive committee calls the attention of the Court to the "immense human costs paid by the Palestinian people and its long-term consequences on peace and reconciliation".

The creation of this "new political boundary", which extends "Israeli civilian and military presence inside Palestinian territory", undermines "all peace-making efforts and most importantly the whole concept of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state established side by side by the state of Israel", says the committee.

The WCC executive committee statement acknowledges that "Israel has serious and legitimate security concerns" and recognises Israel's "right and duty to protect its people against attacks and suicide bombers inside the state of Israel, without contravening international law and jeopardising longer term prospects for peace".

It also acknowledges "Palestinian people's right to resistance against the Israeli occupation inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories, without resorting to terror and creating indiscriminate fear among civilians" inside the state of Israel.

The WCC executive committee reaffirms its "strong conviction that non-violent means of resistance and peaceful negotiations are the only way to achieve a lasting, viable solution to the Arab- Israeli conflict".

The WCC statement is based on eyewitness reports from volunteers within the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) and pleas from the Heads of Churches of Jerusalem, WCC member churches and councils of churches.

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