• November 24, 2004
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    Lutheran World Federation Protests Seperation Wall
Lutheran World Federation Protests Seperation Wall CHICAGO (ELCA) -- To protest against the construction of a wall designed to separate Israel from Palestinian territories in the West Bank, the executive committee of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) adopted the statement, "Break Down the Walls," on Feb. 22.

The statement was issued while hearings about the construction of the wall opened at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947, the LWF now has 136 member churches in 76 countries representing 62.3 million of the worlds nearly 66 million Lutherans. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is a member of the LWF. The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the ELCA, serves as LWF president and chair of the executive committee.

At its Feb. 21-23 meeting in Geneva, the committee called for "an end to both the construction of the wall and to the creation and support of settlements in the [Israeli-] Occupied Palestinian Territories."

"The wall cannot create the peace that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve and that we desire and pray for," said the statement. "The separation wall in Israel-Palestine is an obstacle to dialogue and mutual understanding. It is an obstacle to a just peace. It violates applicable principles of international humanitarian and human rights law."

The committee also drew attention to the fact that the construction of the wall is worsening "the already intolerable situation that is forcing the exodus of Palestinian Christians."

In its statement, the committee quoted the Rev. Munib A. Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan (ELCJ) and Palestine, and LWF vice president for Asia:"We need to find ways to bring about more communication, not less; more face-to-face encounters, not less; more avenues to peace and reconciliation, not less." The ELCJ has congregations in Israel, Jordan and Palestine.

The full text of "Break Down the Walls" is available at http://www.lutheranworld.org/News/LWI/EN/1406.EN.html on the Internet.