‘Discrimination against Palestinians is overt and systemic’,  says World Council of Churches Central Committee

Masafer Yatta (Mamoun Wazwaz - APA Images)

Jeff Wright

Mondoweiss  /  June 27, 2022

According to the WCC’s governing body, the “occupation continues to contradict the equal human dignity and human rights of Palestinians while the response of the international community continues to reflect egregious double standards”.

Meeting earlier this month in Geneva, the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) issued a statement charging that Israel’s “discrimination against Palestinians is overt and systemic, and the ongoing half-century-long occupation continues to contradict the equal human dignity and human rights of Palestinians living under this system of control, while the response of the international community continues to reflect egregious double standards”. The WCC’s governing body said that “recent events in Israel and Palestine have highlighted the mounting obstacles to a just peace in the region.”

The committee expressed its “deep concern” regarding the “rapidly deteriorating situation,” citing Israel’s recent disruption of Christian religious observances, the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision that gave Israeli settlers the right to expropriate church properties near the Jaffa Gate, the impunity enjoyed by Israeli extremists, and the threat of forced displacement which has begun in many West Bank Palestinian communities. 

The statement also pointed to “the lack of accountability for the IDF personnel considered most likely responsible for the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh,” contrasting it with 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 calling upon the government and authorities of Israel “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 Central Committee appealed to the international community “to speak out against the looming evictions in Masafer Yatta and other threatened displacements of Palestinian communities in the occupied territories.”

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

This fall, over 4,000 participants are expected to gather in Germany for the WCC’s General Assembly which meets every eight years for prayer, conversation and celebration. Observers will watch to see if the General Assembly will affirm the Central Committee’s statement, name Israel’s discrimination, and call on its member churches to work in concrete ways to end Israel’s occupation.

Jeff Wright is a retired pastor of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and currently serves as a mission co-worker appointed to Kairos Palestine