Lack of access to water and sanitation is a severe problem for Palestinians. Since it occupied the West Bank in 1967, Israel has denied them access to the waters of the Jordan River and severely limited their access to other local aquifers.
Discriminatory policies and practices in the development of water and sanitation infrastructure and in the allocation of the shared water resources are denying Palestinians access to sufficient amounts of water for domestic use as well as that required to secure livelihoods and food security.
Wells of quarrel – space for peace
Reflection by Fr. Afrayem Elorshalimy
So Isaac departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar and settled there. Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of his father Abraham; for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the names that his father had given them. But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, the herders of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herders, saying, ‘The water is ours.’ So he called the well Esek, because they contended with him. Then they dug another well and they quarreled over that one also; so he called it Sitnah. He moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he called it Rehoboth, saying, ‘Now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.’
Throughout history civilizations have flourished wherever there has been a source of water, whilst others have faded away or collapsed due to scarcity of water resources. People have fought and died for even small patches of water.
Since ancient times, water has been a source of quarrel between the competing inhabitants of the Holy Land. The book Genesis reveals such a quarrel between the ancient Israelites and the Philistines. Conflicts over water have continued ever since in this place. Today, the share of water for a Palestinian is one fourth of an Israeli share, and one sixth of the share of an Israeli settler in the West Bank. Israel has confiscated over 85% of the water resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. One of the reports prepared by the section on Palestine and occupied Arab territories at the Arab League revealed that Israel robs about 650- 800 Million Cubic Meters of water annually from the West Bank which is being pumped into Israel proper, and its illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
And yet in the Bible, God promises plenty of water to quench the thirst of the thirsty (Isaiah: 41:17, Isaiah: 44:3,4). Nowadays, water has become increasingly important since we use it for cleaning our houses, cooking, bathing, and sanitation; also we use water to irrigate dry soil in agriculture so as to provide for food. Our industries use water more than any other liquid form; we take advantage of the swift water flows in rivers to generate electricity.
While Genesis tells of the struggles between ancient peoples over water, it also reflects God’s will that water is for all, not for one particular people over against another. Isaac moves from Ezek (“contention”) and Sitnah (“quarrel, accusation”), the wells of dispute, to another place where he dug one more well which he calledRehoboth (“broad space”), a name that does not reflect his skills in finding water, nor his diplomatic or military abilities, but his recognition that land and water are the gift of God: “Now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” There is room for both Philistine and Israelite to flourish in the land; God has provided water for both.
Wherever there is conflict over water today, and especially in the particular context of Israel and Palestine, the biblical narrative reminds us all that water is God’s gift, and never anyone’s property. God calls us to rename all our wells from Esek and Sitnah to Rehoboth, for “the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” This call remains vital from the ancient Philistines and Israelites all the way through time to the present Israelis and Palestinians.
Fr. Afrayem Elorshalimy from the Coptic Orthodox Church was a monk at the St. Bishoy Monastery in Egypt and then spent 14 years as a priest of the Coptic Church in Jerusalem. Since 2010 he is priest of the Coptic community in Dublin, Ireland.
Opinions expressed in Biblical reflections do not necessarily reflect EWN and WCC policy. This material may be reprinted freely, providing credit is given to the author.
Background and resources
A Bedouin village in the South Hebron Hills. On the horizon is a water tower belonging to an Israeli settlement. Photo: EAPPI
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel
The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) brings internationals to the West Bank to experience life under occupation. Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) provide a protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitor and report human rights abuses and support Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace. Find out more at www.eappi.org.
The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) brings internationals to the West Bank to experience life under occupation. Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) provide protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitor and report human rights abuses and support Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace. When they return home, EAs campaign for a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through an end to the occupation, respect for international law and implementation of UN resolutions.
Articles by Ecumenical Accompaniers on the water situation in Palestine:
Taking water to occupied Jordan Valley (21.7. 2010)
Taking water to the Jordan
By Doris R., Ecumenical Accompanier in Yanoun, and the EAPPI summer team 2010
A few days ago, I was handing out bottles of water within a few miles of Israel/Palestine’s only major river, the Jordan. The village of Al Fasayel lies in a desert landscape, a contrast to nearby Israeli settlements, which have access to almost unlimited water. Al Fasayel itself has not had water on tap for over seven weeks.
The Jordan Valley is an area of stunning natural and rugged beauty. The mountainsides are barren, the illegal settlements in the valley floor dark, fertile green. But the valley is also an area of discrimination and grinding poverty.
The first time I and other participants in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) visited Al Fasayel, we were offered glasses of sweet tea. It was only when we went outside to talk with the children that they showed us a tap that has been dry for almost two months.
EAPPI brings internationals to the West Bank to experience life under occupation. Ecumenical Accompaniers provide protective presence, monitor and report human rights abuses and support Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace. We had come to the Jordan Valley to visit some of the region’s most vulnerable communities.
Lack of access to water has long been a problem for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley. Since it occupied the West Bank in 1967, Israel has denied them access to the waters of the Jordan River and severely limited their access to other local aquifers. The Oslo Accords of 1993 merely consolidated Israel’s control over the West Bank’s water resources. Israel now places severe restrictions on Palestinian usage.
Palestinian water consumption in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is only around 70 litres a day per person, whereas the same figure for Israelis is around 300 litres, according to a report by Amnesty International. Some Palestinians survive on barely 20 litres per day, the necessary amount calculated by the World Health Organization for short-term survival in emergency situations. The 450,000 Israelis living in illegal West Bank settlements use as much or more water than the 2.3 million Palestinians in the same area. The World Bankreported in 2009 that Palestinian access to water is in decline.
Near Al Fasayel lies the Bedouin encampment of Ein Al Hilweh. The 25 families living in these modest tents have to collect their water from a well an hour’s drive away. The army sometimes bans them from using the road, and the trip to collect water may bring a fine of several hundred shekels. The settlers, who live in well-built houses with running water, also regularly harass the Bedouin.
Around 9,600 Israelis now live in the illegal settlements that blanket much of the Jordan Valley. They grow a variety of fruits and vegetables for export to Europe, particularly by the Israeli company Agrexco. Experts estimate that with their artificial irrigation systems, these settlements use over half of all water consumed in the West Bank. This places intense strain on the valley’s scarce water resources, says George Rishmawi of the Near East Council of Churches.
“Israel is trying to isolate the Jordan Valley from the rest of the West Bank and forcibly remove its Palestinian inhabitants by denying them access to water,” he says.
Much of the sewage from Palestinian towns goes untreated because Israel does not allow the Palestinian authority to build new treatment plants. According to a recent report by Amnesty International, the Israeli army frequently smashes up water infrastructure built by Palestinians – even rainwater harvesting systems.
Duties of the occupier
So what could we do? We contacted a local businessman, Arab Al-Shorafa, who runs the Yanabee, a company that sells bottled water. He was also the mayor of the Palestinian town of Beita. We had reached him using the phone number on the back of one of the company’s water bottles, and told him about the situation in Al Fasayel.
Immediately he offered to donate over 700 litres of bottled water, providing we could collect them from the factory that evening. He phoned back later, offering to quadruple the number.
We agreed to collect and deliver the first batch that night. We drove to the factory and loaded a van. Al-Shorafa met us and promised to provide more water and the truck for another delivery the next day.
We drove back to Fasayel. In the dark, we distributed the water to the families as they appeared through the darkness with their children. The next morning, with temperatures in the mid-30s centigrade, we delivered another batch.
Tony Blair, envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, recently visited Fasayel. He managed to persuade the Israeli authorities to rescind a demolition order on the local school. But the village’s taps remain dry.
Our deliveries to Fasayel have provided enough water for each family in that village for a week. But Al-Shorafa’s act of charity merely underscores the fact that ensuring access to adequate food and water is the duty of the occupying power.
Many locals believe that Israel’s failure to fulfill this is part of a strategy to drive them from their ancestral lands. As we delivered bottles of water in the searing heat, we could understand their point of view.
No water for the neighbours
A Bedouin village in the South Hebron Hills. On the horizon is a water tower belonging to an Israeli settlement. © EAPPI
By Patrick Franks and Miranda Rosoux (*)
Rows of neat suburban houses stand on the parched, barren hillside. A water tower looms over them, irrigating lush greenery in the gardens. But outside this West Bank settlement’s perimeter fence sits the tiny Bedouin community of Umm Al Kher, whose residents are desperate for water.
Here in the South Hebron Hills, there has been scarce rainfall for many months. Grey rock and dry, rugged earth spread off in every direction. But locals who met observers from the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel said the effects of the recent drought are exacerbating a man-made water crisis.
The community is not connected to any water supply network and the Israeli army will not issue permits to dig wells. The community is forced to buy tanked water from Mekorot, the Israeli national water company, which charges 5 shekels (around $1.30) per cubic meter. That cost prohibits the shepherds of Umm Al Kher from irrigating crops. Umm Al Kher’s only other water supply is a pipe no bigger than a garden hose that trails across from the pump in the settlement.
“Sometimes they turn the water off for days at a time,” one resident of Umm Al Kher told Miranda Rosoux, an Ecumenical Accompanier from Britain. “We have enough water for drinking and washing but no water for agriculture.”
Ecumenical Accompaniers, who are sent by the World Council of Churches to provide protective presence and human rights monitoring throughout the West Bank, regularly visit the villages of the South Hebron hills. These isolated communities struggle with the combined challenges of land confiscation and violence by Israeli settlers on the one hand and movement and building restrictions imposed by the Israeli military on the other.
Amnesty International recently completed an investigation into Israel’s water policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It revealed a host of measures that prevent Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza from obtaining adequate water. Demolitions of storage facilities and denial of access to aquifers, along with bans on digging wells, mean that up to 200,000 Palestinians in rural communities have no access to running water at all.
Israeli settlers, meanwhile, face no such challenges. With their intensive irrigation farms, lush gardens and swimming pools, they consume on average around 300 litres each per day. Average Palestinian consumption is around a quarter of that, and well short of the 100 litres minimum recommended by the World Health Organization. In some cases Palestinians survive on as little as 20 litres a day, usually brought in by tanker. For communities that rely on agriculture for a living, the lack of water is critical.
No water for farms, no passage for shepherds
These problems are exacerbating the impact of a long-running drought. Bedouins coping with dry spells in the past would have moved around in search of good pasture. But these days, much of the best grazing land is off limits, confiscated by the Israeli settlements that are spreading inexorably across the landscape.
Palestinian shepherds are tied down by movement restrictions imposed by the Israeli army and the threat of violence from Israeli settlers which bars them from grazing in certain areas. Armed youths from the settlement regularly threaten the village itself. Recently, they broke through the barrier fence to steal the Bedouins’ few scrawny chickens. There is also frequent abuse and stone throwing.
Salim, a shepherd from Umm Al Kher, says that complaining about water problems ignores the root cause. In order to improve the water situation, Umm Al Kher needs to build pipes, but the village is in an area where the Israeli authorities refuse to grant building permits to Palestinians.
As recently as October, the Israeli authorities told international non-governmental development organizations that they are breaking the law if they build in the village. The Oslo Accords of 1994 placed the village in “Area C,” meaning it is under full Israeli military and civilian control. The Israeli authorities do not grant permits to Palestinians in Area C, so although the residents have papers proving they own the land, they cannot build on it.
The frustration this creates is palpable within the village. The residents live underneath electricity wires that run from the settlement to a nearby chicken factory also belonging to the settlers. But Umm Al Kher’s residents are not connected to the electricity network. And even though they have papers proving they own this patch of land, every structure the Bedouins have built here since 1967 has a demolition order hanging over it, including the tents. Several buildings have already been destroyed – including a toilet block.
Eid, the son of a village elder, was defiant. “Every time they destroy our buildings, we will build them again. This is our land,” he said.
His determination does not hide the fact that Umm Al Kher is in a precarious spot. Winter rains may make these hills green pastures for a few months, but the long term future of Bedouin communities like Umm Al Kher hangs in the balance.
(*) Patrick Franks and Miranda Rosoux are members of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel.
EWASH: The Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group
The website of the EWASH coalition offers up-to-date news and resources about water, sanitation and hygiene in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These include fact sheets ( http://ewash.org/en/index.php?view=79YOcy0nNs3D76djuyAnjQDT ) about “Water Resources In the West Bank”, “Water for Agriculture and Livelihoods in Gaza”, “Women’s Access to Water and Sanitation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” and others. Find more at: http://ewash.org
Troubled waters – Palestinians denied fair access to water
This report by Amnesty International examines the main patterns and trends affecting access to water for Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and analyses how these are impacting severely on the population’s rights which are protected under international human rights and humanitarian law and necessary for the Palestinians to live in dignity.
Full report (pdf) at http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/027/2009/en
and video (YouTube) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtnBSLjaLWs-
Commonly known as “Kairos Call” or “Kairos Palestine”, the document “Moment of Truth: a word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering” was published in December 2009 by Palestinian Christian leaders from different church traditions. At a time when the Palestinian people seemed to be stuck in a dead-end, it raises questions to the international community, political leaders in the region, and the church.
Find out more about the Kairos Call: www.kairospalestine.ps
See also: Women offer theological perspectives on “Kairos Palestine” (23.12.2010)
Women offer theological perspectives on “Kairos Palestine”
Thirty women gathered in Bethlehem on 13-18 December to celebrate the first anniversary of the “Kairos Palestine” document on the quest for peace and human rights in Palestine and Israel. The gathering also reflected theologically on the content of the text. Participants came from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Latin America and Australia.
The group represented different ecclesial traditions and included one member of the Jewish faith. They were lay, ordained, theologians, ecumenical and church leaders, and many are engaged in social action. The Bethlehem gathering was sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC) office on Women in Church and Society and by the Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum.
The women also experienced the visible reality of the occupation of Palestine during visits to Israeli checkpoints and encounters with the Separation Wall. They united around a common hope for the end of the occupation and a call for just peace.
The women embraced “listening as a mark of solidarity”: a form of participation during the meeting and a point of origin for the just peacemaking work to be done following the meeting. Faith, hope and love expressed through just peace were themes within “Kairos Palestine” that these women found particularly inspiring.
They noted the inclusion of three Palestinian women in the writing process that produced the text and listened to a few Palestinian women explain that, although they found the document a testament to equality and welcoming for women, “there is much work to be done both in the churches and wider Palestinian society” to include and engage women fully. They affirmed that “there is an ongoing need for the global ecumenical community of women to listen to, strengthen and support the work of Palestinian women”.
During a larger one-year celebration of Kairos Palestine, Dame Dr Mary Tanner, European president of the WCC, offered greetings on behalf of the group of women gathered to reflect on the document.
“We pledge ourselves to pray for you, knowing that in Christ no wall, however high, however obscene, can separate us in the communion of God’s own life of love. What happens to you happens to us, your pain is our pain, and your struggle becomes our struggle,” Tanner said.
“We will accompany you in that movement which the Kairos Palestine document has begun and bring it, in whatever ways we can, into our ministries, into our churches and societies. Your story will be our story and we will ask the fellowship of churches in the WCC that has gathered us to take your witness and your challenges into its work and into the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in May 2011,” she continued. “We shall not be silent.”
Resources for World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel
Many more resources for prayer, education, and advocacy as well as further information on WCC policies on Palestine and Israel can be found on the website of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) atpief.oikoumene.org
WCC Statement on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
A statement on Israeli settlements by the WCC Central Committee.
Statement on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
1. While the decision of the United Nations (UN) of 1947 (Resolution 181) to establish two states in the land of Palestine was partially achieved with the creation of the state of Israel, the second part of this resolution is still waiting for realization: the establishment of a Palestinian state. The ongoing settlement policy of the state of Israel in the territories which have been occupied since 1967 is an obstacle to the fulfilment of that promise and decision of the community of nations for a viable Palestinian state. The continuous 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 Israel. 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.
2. 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 virtually impossible. Even the “settlement freeze” requested by Israel’s most important ally is met with yet another cycle of intentional delays, temporary concessions and tactical preconditions – eroding goodwill, destroying hope and pre-empting the meaningful negotiations which a good-faith freeze could facilitate. This refusal to freeze expansion further indicates a rejection of dealing with the core issue of the occupation and settlements as such.
3. It is heartening that the US administration and governments of many other states have expressed their determination to remove obstacles to peace and settle the Israel-Palestine conflict through negotiations that are both substantive and conclusive. This will begin a new relationship within the wider Middle East. 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.
4. Instead of freezing the settlement activities, work continues on large urban settlement projects and on many smaller projects. The Israeli government is still planning to build some 2,500 new housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israel’s policies cause new and repeated displacements of Palestinian citizens inside the occupied territory. The demolition of houses that took place in June 2009 in East Jerusalem created untold suffering to the Palestinians. House demolition orders against hundreds of families were delivered by Israeli municipal and military authorities and hundreds of church-owned properties are at risk, especially from the expansion of Israeli-controlled settlements and housing in East Jerusalem. These are only isolated examples of a much larger tragedy.
5. 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 water resources. They restrict their freedom of movement, diminish their basic human dignity and, in many cases, their right to life. They also have dramatic effects on the Palestinians’ right to education and access to health care system. They destroy the Palestinian economy by impeding movement of products, making the existence of a viable Palestinian state almost impossible to achieve. This increases the sense of dispossession and despair among the Palestinian population and contributes to fuel tensions in the region that will pose a great threat to the security of Israel.
6. The illegal settlements in and around Jerusalem endanger the future of the holy city that should be negotiated as part of a comprehensive peace agreement. The settlements isolate Jerusalem from the rest of the Palestinian West Bank, separating families and cutting economic, religious and cultural vital ties. The related Israeli policies in regards to the restriction of residency rights for the Jerusalemites through confiscation of their identity cards, limiting permits for construction of buildings and refusing family reunification, etc. are aiming at transforming the nature of the holy city that should be open to all and shared by the two peoples and the three religions.
Recalling the consistent position of World Council of Churches’ (WCC) assemblies, central committees and executive committees on this question, inter alia, rejecting any nation keeping or annexing the territory of another (Heraklion 1967, Uppsala 1968), the central committee of the WCC is:
7. Seized of the necessity for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to enforce their declaration of 5 December 2001, which reaffirms the illegality of settlements and of settlement growth, and calls upon the occupying power “to fully and effectively respect the [Convention]” (Geneva 2002).
8. Reminded of our long-standing assessment that “unilateral actions have radically altered [Jerusalem’s] geography and demography” (Harare 1998), that United Nations Resolutions 181, 194, 303 and subsequent decisions prescribe special status for Jerusalem as a “corpus seperatum under a special international regime”, and that the Geneva Conventions prohibit changes in the population and character of occupied territories which include East Jerusalem.
9. 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 to the destruction of Palestinian properties and to forced evictions of people from their homes and lands” (Geneva 2001).
10. Convinced that churches must not be complicit in illegal activities on occupied territory – including the destruction of Palestinian homes and lands and the construction of settlements, related infrastructure and the separation barrier – 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 (Geneva 2005).
11. 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” (Geneva 2004).
12. Reiterating that Christian holy places in Jerusalem must be “integrated and responsive to Christian communities” whose “life and roots” in Jerusalem are increasingly threatened by settlement policies there (Nairobi 1975).
13. Recognizing the importance of research, documentation and debate about settlements by civil society groups, faith based and international organizations, and within Israeli society, including the Israeli government’s Sassoon Report of 2005.
14. Reiterating the WCC call to member churches to accompany and encourage the commitment to non-violence and active engagement in peace negotiations leading towards a comprehensive and just peace in which two nations can exist side by side in security and within internationally recognized borders.
Accordingly, the central committee of the WCC, meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, 26 August – 2 September 2009, calls member churches and related organizations to:
A. Pray for and assist people who are suffering because of the implantation of some 200 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem with related roads and infrastructure, violence by settlers, military and police controls which favour settlers, and restrictions of human rights and basic livelihoods for Palestinian citizens.
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.
C. Urge both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to consider their own political sovereignty on the holy land with holy sites for the three monotheistic religions and continue to involve the “Council of the Religious Institutions of the Holy Land” in the peace process and particularly regarding the status of Jerusalem and the holy sites.
D. Call upon their respective governments to distinguish between the legitimate interests of the state of Israel and its illegal settlements, and to align their actions with that distinction in the interests of peace.
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.
H. Invites member churches and faithful to give moral and practical support to non-violent acts of resistance to the confiscation of land, the destruction of Palestinian properties and the eviction of people from their homes and lands, as the central committee recommended in 2001.
I. Encourages people on both sides of the conflict who have consistently supported the exchange of land for peace.
J. Commends member churches, specialized ministries and church peace networks for taking part in the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, 4-10 June 2009, convened by the WCC and with a focus on the issue of settlements.
K. Invites member churches that have not yet adopted the 2007 Amman Call to do so and to join with other churches working for peace as part of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum.
L. Reiterates the call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to enforce their declaration of 5 December 2001, which reaffirms the illegality of settlements and of settlement growth.
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.
N. Requests the US administration to ensure that the settlement issue is resolved as part of a comprehensive peace agreement which will include linked and sequenced steps between interim and final status measures.
The following prayer is offered as a resource to enable the churches’ engagement with the issue articulated above:
Jesus Christ, our brother and Saviour,
who walked the roads of the Holy Land and lived as one of her people,
walk with those who find their roads blocked and their families divided through illegal actions in an occupied land.
Jesus Christ, our brother and Saviour,
who challenged injustice and offered new definitions of power,
challenge us to express non-violent support to all who suffer and to speak out against the injustice they experience.
Jesus Christ, our brother and Saviour,
who embraced encounters with people from different faith and cultural communities,
embrace and uphold all who seek a just peace and reconciliation between divided peoples in the land of your human experience.
WCC Minute on Economic Measures for Peace in Israel/Palestine
Text of the Minute on Economic Measures for Peace in Israel/Palestine adopted by the WCC Central Committee in February 2005, further information on the background of the minute as well as FAQs can be found at:www.oikoumene.org/?id=6234