Geneva (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling on Israel to stop building new settlements in the Occupied Territories. The appeal by the ecumenical organization, which brings together 349 Christian denominations, comes after the decision of the Jerusalem municipality to kick off the construction of 900 new housing units in the settlement Gilo in East Jerusalem (see AsiaNews, 18/11/2009 " As Palestinian homes get demolished, new Israeli housing units are built")
Samuel Kobia, secretary general of the Council has expressed "great disappointment" and "strong condemnation" for the decision of the government led by Benjamin Netanyahu. The WCC believes that it "will hinder the efforts now underway to restart the peace talks" and invites “all the organizations that are part of the Council to act decisively" to "to revoke the decision of the Israeli government and its settlements program ".
The appeal emphasizes that new settlements are built on "Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in 1967" in "violation of international law."
The secretary of the WCC states that "if the settlements continue to expand and proliferate, the negotiations will be complicated and any chance of peace could be destroyed." Kobia expresses hope that "people of conscience and goodwill throughout the world will ask the government of Israel to work towards the resolution of the conflict rather than continue with endless decades old policies that have led to a point of no return”.