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ELCA SUPPORTS A SHARED JERUSALEM ELCA NEWSBRIEFS ISSUE #14, December 20, 19
12/26/1996 12:00:00 AM
ELCA SUPPORTS A SHARED JERUSALEM
The Rev. H. George Anderson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America (ELCA), has added his signature to a full-page ad regarding the city of
Jerusalem developed for publication in the "New York Times." Under the headline
"Heritage, Hope and Home of Two People and Three Religions," the ad calls for
Jerusalem to be shared by Israelis and Palestinians when the stalled peace process
resumes. The ad urges the U.S. government to "call upon negotiators to move
beyond exclusivists' claims and create a Jerusalem that is a sign of peace and a
symbol of reconciliation. It is expected to be published Dec. 21. The placement of the
ad comes at a point when Clinton and other U.S. foreign policy leaders are advising
Israel not to block negotiations by expanding settlements in the West Bank. With
more than 265 individual and group signatures to date, the text of the ad says,
"Jerusalem at peace cannot belong exclusively to one people, one country or one
religion. Jerusalem should be open to all, shared by all ... two people and three
religions." It continues, "As Christians committed to working for peace, we support a
negotiated solution for Jerusalem that respects the human and political rights of both
Palestinians and Israelis, as well as the rights of the three religious communities."
The ad was developed by Churches for Middle East Peace, an ecumenical
partnership that includes the ELCA. In April 1996 the ELCA Church Council urged
that free access to Jerusalem be guaranteed for all peoples at all times and called
upon the international community to respect and protect the unique historical nature of
Jerusalem as sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims. ELCA members were called
to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem, remembering the suffering and the hope of both
Palestinians and Israelis and the challenges their leaders face as they work to move
the peace process forward. In 1995 the Rev. Herbert W. Chilstrom, Anderson's
predecessor, and other high-ranking Christian leaders called on Clinton to press Israel
to stop seizing land and constructing settlements in Jerusalem.
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