Excerpts from Statement on Settlements
settlement of lands beyond Israel’s internationally recognized borders
(the 1949 Green Line borders) is almost universally rejected and met
with widespread incredulity because it is illegal, unjust, incompatible
with peace and antithetical to the legitimate interests of the state of
Even as Israel’s own right to exist in security evokes sympathy
and solidarity around the world, its policies of expansion and
annexation generate dismay or hostility as they represent a direct
indicator of the nature of the occupation.
There are some 200 settlements with more than 450,000 settlers in
the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. They make
the peace efforts by the international community more vulnerable and
However, it is discouraging
that events in Occupied Palestinian Territory and East Jerusalem
demonstrate yet again the unyielding nature of Israel’s occupation and
the continuous way of creating new obstacles to peace.
Instead of freezing the settlement activities, work continues on
large urban settlement projects and on many smaller projects.
The existence of these illegal settlements and their corresponding
infrastructure including the separation wall, the confiscation of
Palestinian lands beyond the Green Line, the so-called “security
zones”, and the wide network of tunnels, by-pass roads and check
points, deny Palestinians’ access to large parts of their land and
They restrict their freedom of movement, diminish
their basic human dignity and, in many cases, their right to life.
also have dramatic effects on the Palestinians’ right to education and
access to health care system. They destroy the Palestinian economy....
The central committee of the WCC is:
Convinced of the need for “an international boycott of goods produced in the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and for member churches and faithful to join in non-violent acts of resistance
Convinced that churches must not be complicit in illegal activities on occupied territory...and have opportunities to take economic measures that are “equitable, transparent and non-violent” against these illegal activities and in support of peaceful solutions to the conflict.
Dismayed at the imposition of expanding boundaries for one side and ever smaller confinements for the other, “extending Israeli civilian and military presence inside Palestinian territory, undermining all peacemaking efforts and…the whole concept of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state”
Accordingly, the central committee of the WCC...calls member churches and related organizations to:
B. Hear the call of the churches of Jerusalem for concrete actions by the international ecumenical community toward a just peace for both Palestinians and Israelis.
E. Monitor and question governments that, on the one hand, provide Palestinians with humanitarian aid and development assistance while, on the other hand, pursuing foreign policies that allow Israel to inflict suffering on Palestinians, divide the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, maintain the blockade of Gaza, and impose various restrictions on the Palestinian economy.
The WCC central committee also:
F. Calls upon the occupying power to fully and effectively respect the Fourth Geneva Convention, including its prohibition against changes in the population and character of occupied territories.
G. Calls upon the government of Israel to urgently implement an open-ended freeze in good-faith on all settlement construction and expansion as a first step towards the dismantlement of all settlements.
M. Reiterates the need for an international boycott of settlement products and services, for member churches to inform themselves about settlement products imported into their countries and for churches to practice morally responsible investment in order to influence businesses linked to the Israeli occupation and its illegal settlements.