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Date: Sun, 12 Mar 1995 15:38:04 GMT
Sender: Activists Mailing List >ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>
From: "James R. Lynch" <jlynch@cyber1.servtech.com>
Subject: AFSC/FCNL Jerusalem Statement

Date: Fri, 10 Mar 1995 23:40:49 -0500
From: "Liz Perch, Amercian Friends Service Committee" <lperch@OMNI.VOICENET.COM>
CONTACT: Kathy Bergen 215/ 241-7019/ Jim Fine 215/898-4661 Joe Volk 202/547-6000/ Jim Matlack 202/ 483-3341

Bring Jerusalem into Current Middle East Discussion

News Release by American Friends Service Committee, 23 February 1995

PHILADELPHIA, PA/WASHINGTON, DC—The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) issued a joint statement today expressing concern over conditions in Jerusalem that the two Quaker organizations said pose a grave threat to the (Israeli-Palestinian) peace process and the city's future.

The joint statement, entitled Jerusalem: Barrier or Gateway to Peace, sets out five broad principles of fairness and equity that the two Quaker organizations say should guide a settlement on Jerusalem, and which they hope will help encourage a wide-ranging public discussion on it.

It also cites the year-long Israeli military closure of Jerusalem to Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza, on-going Israeli settlement construction and land seizure, and delay in achieveing democratic Palestinian self-government among the conditions threatening to upset the peace process and preempt a negotiated settlement on Jerusalem.

Our concern is that if these problems are not addressed now, said AFSC spokesperson Kathy Bergen, coordinator of the Middle East Program in the Peace Education Division, it could become impossible to reach a satisfactory future agreement on the already very difficult question of Jerusalem.

The five principles are:

  1. A settlement on Jerusalem must be reached by negotiation between the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships and approved democratically by the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.
  2. A settlement must leave Jerusalem physically undivided and open to the entry and free movement of peoples throughout.
  3. A settlement must accord equal political and national status to Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem.
  4. A settlement must permit the equitable growth and development of Jerusalem to meet the needs of both Israelis and Palestinians and must allow the political, economic and cultural institutions of both peoples to flourish in Jerusalem.
  5. A settlement should give formal expression to the special significance of Jerusalem in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

These principles, the statement's authors say, have the power to produce an agreement on Jerusalem that can be the strong cornerstone of Israeli-Palestinian peace and an example to the world of concord and cooperation in the wake of bitter conflict.

Bergen added, Our deepest conviction, as we note in our joint statement, is that `Jerusalem must be shared, that the city cannot be the exclusive domain of Israelis or Palestinians if there is to be a lasting peace between the two peoples.' We believe that the possibility of this shared future is rapidly receding.

The joint AFSC/FCNL statement calls on the Clinton Administration, as guarantor of the peace process, to encourage Israel to end the military closure of Jerusalem and halt settlement activity. It urges the United States to encourage both Israel and the PLO to promote genuine Palestinian democracy, including free elections. The statement also warns against recent calls in Congress to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem before Israel and the Palestinians reach accord on the city's future.

Any step to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem now, Bergen says, would be fatal to the peace process—the match that ignites the dry straw.

The AFSC, founded in 1917 as a practical expression of the faith of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), has supported programs and projects in the Middle East since 1948.

As a public policy arm of the Quakers, FCNL has advocated Israeli-Palestinian peace since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. In publications and congressional testimony, FCNL has advocated a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Arab- Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and argued against any militarily imposed or otherwise coerced settlement.

AFSC and FCNL have consistently supported self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians.