Churches in the Middle East: solidarity and witness for peace

The situation of the Middle East calls for collective efforts by ecumenical partners to achieve peace and justice at local, national, regional and international levels. Major problems in the region include armed occupation of territory, denial of human rights and national aspirations, failures to implement the rule of law at the national and international levels, various forms of extremism and intolerance, and nuclear proliferation in Israel and Iran. Interlinked with these is the question of control of energy resources. 

The WCC opposed economic sanctions against Iraq and condemned the invasion of Iraq by the coalition forces as illegal and immoral. It has maintained attention on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and supported efforts for a peaceful and just settlement of that conflict. 

This project attempts to broaden and deepen churches' work for just peace in the Middle East. It is committed to building their capacity to witness to peacemaking, undertake advocacy work at the local and national levels, and influence the policies of the major global and regional powers. It attempts to ensure that the core rationale for church strategy in the region is known and used by interested member churches around the world.  

Collective policy development and coordinated ecumenical action focus on inter-religious relations, diakonia, overcoming violence, and public witness. Project stakeholders and staff mobilize church leaders and members to express their faith through concrete actions for a just peace. Advocacy and media work aim to strengthen the position of the churches in the region.

By establishing an Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) as a global advocacy network of churches in North and South with shared responsibility for broadening and deepening church actions for peace. the WCC hopes to help bring about policy changes in the Middle East, and especially in the Israel/Palestine conflict.

The Jerusalem Interchurch Centre (JIC) functions as a coordination point for ecumenical action in and for Jerusalem and its churches. A joint project of the Jerusalem churches, the WCC and the Middle East Council of Churches, the centre is to provide timely and regular information, analysis and reports to the ecumenical community, and strengthen local churches' capacity for diaconal work as well as local ecumenical and inter-faith relations.

Inaugurated in August 2002, the mission of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in their non-violent actions and concerted advocacy efforts to end the occupation. 

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