STATEMENT OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S RECOGNITION OF JERUSALEM AS THE CAPITAL OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL
DECEMBER 8, 2017
The South African Council of Churches joins the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, the World Methodist Council, Pope Francis and the wider international Community in voicing profound concern over President Trump’s ill-advised declaration that Jerusalem is henceforth the Israeli capital: a shocking, monumental geopolitical move that could trigger deep, far-reaching and cataclysmic repercussions that could bring in unimaginable upheaval and instability in the already volatile Middle East region.
President Trump officially recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – one of the most contentious issues at the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict because the Palestinians also lay claim to East Jerusalem as their own capital. Trump’s pronouncement flagrantly flouts UN resolutions that have never recognised Jerusalem as an exclusively Israeli capital because of its historical importance to two peoples and three religions. Because the question of Jerusalem is part of the agenda for the final resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; potentially, this ill-timed political announcement undermines and unravels years of precarious and occasionally intractable peace talks, attempted by various American Administrations since the Six- Day war in 1967, in one fell swoop.
It’s an open secret that Jerusalem is a city valued by both the Israelis and Palestinians and it is unthinkable for the Palestinians that their capital could be anywhere other than Jerusalem. By unilaterally annexing and declaring it to exclusively belong to the Israelis, America has recklessly sought to invoke further strife and discord. It runs the risk of unleashing yet another Intifada that Hamas is now calling for.
We applaud the more than 150 nations who, in deference to the UN resolution.
This press release originally appeared in South African Council of Churches and can be accessed here