Christian denominations in Israel, US widely against settlement annexation

Last month, all the major Christian churches in Israel and the region strongly criticized the annexation components of Trump’s plan.

Church (illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Church (illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
While Evangelical churches and movements in the US have enthusiastically backed US President Donald Trump’s peace plan and its proposals for Israel’s annexation of the settlements, elsewhere most other Christian denominations and churches have condemned the plan.
Last month, all the major Christian churches in Israel and the region strongly criticized the annexation components of Trump’s plan, saying it would destroy the chances for reaching a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians.
The church leaders said in a joint statement that the Trump plan for unilateral annexation “raises serious and catastrophic questions about the feasibility of any peaceful agreement to end the decades’ long conflict, one that continues to cost many innocent lives as part of a vicious cycle of human tragedy and injustice.”
They continued “The Council of Patriarchs and Heads of the Holy Land Churches views such unilateral annexation plans with the utmost concern and calls upon the State of Israel to refrain from such unilateral moves, which would bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of the peace process.”
Amongst the signatories were the leaders of the largest Christian denominations in Israel, including Archbishop Yaser al-Ayash of the Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate, Patriarch Theophilos III of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa of the Latin Patriarchate of the Catholic Church, as well as heads of other smaller churches.
And along with the strident opposition of the church leadership in Israel to the unilateral annexation of settlements, Christian leaders and churches around the world have also opposed such plans.
The Vatican issued a statement in May saying that “international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions” were “an indispensable element for the two peoples to live side by side in two States, within the borders internationally recognized before 1967,” which by implication excludes the settlements.
Mainline Protestant denominations in the US have been less subtle.
On June 2, heads of all the major protestant denominations in the US published an open letter to Congress calling on members to oppose unilateral annexation.
“Formal annexation is an act of aggression, not a step for peace,” wrote representatives of the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ and numerous others.
“Unilateral annexation of occupied Palestinian land by the State of Israel is not in the cause of a just peace; annexing 30% or more of the West Bank would entrench inequalities and abuses of Palestinians’ human rights for the foreseeable future,” they wrote.
“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.”