International law and multilateral mechanisms must be respected and strengthened

The Ma’ale Adumim settlement in the West Bank. Photo: Yiftachsam, via Wikimedia Commons.
The Ma’ale Adumim settlement in the West Bank. Photo: Yiftachsam, via Wikimedia Commons.

Serious concerns about US position on Israeli settlements

Public Statement, 20 November 2019

Earlier this week the United States government announced a reversal of decades of US’ policy on Israeli settlements, declaring that “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law.”

The UN General Assembly and Security Council, as well as the International Court of Justice, have stated that Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are illegal under international law, violating among other obligations, article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.

The Lutheran World Federation expresses serious concerns about this unilateral step which undermines international law and the multilateral platforms created to address situations of occupation of territory, and the obligations and responsibilities of Occupying Powers.

This unilateral action of the US Administration furthermore undermines a global consensus forged in multilateral efforts by the nations of the world to safeguard peace, development, and human rights.

The LWF reiterates its call for good faith efforts to negotiate a final status agreement which affirms two states for two peoples, internationally recognized borders between Israel and a viable, contiguous Palestine based on the 1967 armistice lines, security guarantees for Israel and Palestine, mutual recognition and full and equal rights for their citizens, a fair resolution to the Palestinian refugee issue, and a shared Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians with free access to the holy sites for the three monotheistic faiths — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. 

The LWF calls upon the community of states to ensure

  • respect for international human rights and humanitarian law, and to strengthen the international mechanisms based on the UN charter, which were created to restrain violence and ensure peace,
  • a return to multilateral negotiations for a two-state solution, based on international law and relevant UN resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council.

The LWF calls upon its member churches to continue

  • praying for just peace in Israel and Palestine,
  • praying for and supporting the ministries and institutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
  • supporting the vital ministry of the LWF World Service Country Program, including the Augusta Victoria Hospital and the Vocational Training Program
  • advocating for the respect of rule of law
  • advocating for a negotiated two-state solution supported by the international community, based on international humanitarian and human rights law and relevant UN resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council

Download LWF statement

The Lutheran World Federation is a global communion of 148 churches in the Lutheran tradition, representing over 75 million Christians in 99 countries. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches in areas of ecumenical and interfaith relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication and the various aspects of mission and development.


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