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PRESS RELEASE NO. 37
LWF Tenth Assembly
Public Statement Affirms "Roadmap" as Golden Opportunity
for Middle East Peace
Major World Powers Offers New Hope for Separate, Equal States of
Israel and Palestine
Canada, 31 July 2003
– On the final full day of the Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran
World Federation (LWF) delegates unanimously approved a public
statement regarding the conflict in the Middle East between Israel
and Palestine. In part the statement endorses the "Roadmap for
Peace in the Middle East" as offering true potential for a
solution in the strife-torn Middle East, provided that certain
benchmarks are met.
The Rev. Dr Munib A.
Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan (ELCJ)
which includes Lutheran congregations in Palestine and Israel, read
the statement aloud on the Assembly floor.
The statement affirms
"all persons of good will" in their quest for peace and
justice in Israel and Palestine and denounces all activities that
hinder Palestinian independence.
It cites the "Roadmap
for Peace" recently ratified by the essential
"quartet" of world partners (United Nations, the United
States, European Union and Russia) as a golden opportunity for a
peaceful two-state solution to this historic conflict. The statement
declares that this new level of involvement by major world powers
gives legitimacy to the process.
called for by the Assembly as prerequisites to the establishment of
a full and free Palestinian state contiguous to Israel by 2005
include the military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East
Jerusalem, the issue of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land,
Palestinian refugees’ right of return to their homes, fair
distribution of water resources, the immediate razing of the wall,
or "security fence," constructed by the Israeli army in
Jerusalem and religious freedom for all.
The Assembly statement
also calls upon member churches in the worldwide LWF communion to
support the ELCJ’s efforts in inter-religious dialogue, as well as
the development of community-based education and housing that will
encourage Palestinian Christians to stay in their country instead of
emigrating out of the area. It further urges the international
community of churches to support programs that build awareness of
the situation, such as the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in
Palestine and Israel that sends volunteers to live and work in the
region for three months.
The statement also calls
for a favorable resolution by the government of Israel to the
current crisis concerning the tax status of LWF’s Augusta Victoria
Hospital, which serves primarily Palestinians.
Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is taking place
21-31 July 2003 in Winnipeg, Canada, under the theme "For the
Healing of the World." It is being hosted by the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).
There are around 820 men, women and youth participants in the Tenth
Assembly including 380 delegates from the
133 churches with full membership and three associate members. The Assembly is the highest
decision-making body of the LWF, and meets normally every six years.
Between Assemblies, the LWF is governed by its Council that meets
annually, and by its Executive Committee.
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