Letter to President Clinton
CHURCHES FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE
110 Maryland Ave.NE, Suite 108 Washington,
202/546-8425 FAX 202/543-7532
May 5, 1999
The Honorable William J. Clinton The White House Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As the representatives to Churches for Middle East Peace from our denominations and organizations, we are writing to urge you to invoke a national security waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that would allow the United States to postpone moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Your willingness to take this step in the past is appreciated, and we call upon you to do so again.
Your call on April 26 for an extension of the peace process and a quick move to final status talks brings renewed hope for a negotiated resolution of those issues. It continues to be absolutely essential that the United States adhere to its long held policy regarding Jerusalem and the location of the U.S. embassy. With Israeli elections approaching and the Wye River agreements not yet fully implemented, even the impression that any change is underway must be avoided. We oppose any interim measures that could be interpreted as a change in policy toward Jerusalem prior to its determination through negotiations. The result would likely be violent confrontations and a diminution of the leadership-role of United States in the anticipated final status talks.
We support your administration's insistent opposition to Israel's unilateral actions that are intended to change the demographics and character of Jerusalem and the West Bank. Yet, the confiscation by Israeli authorities of East Jerusalem identity cards, the demolition of Palestinian homes and the vigorous promotion of settlements continue. Additionally, we urge your heightened attention to the Israeli effort to force the closure of international NGOs and Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem that are an integral part of Palestinian civil society and hope for the future.
Churches for Middle East Peace supports a permanent resolution that respects and adequately meets the national and human rights of both Israelis and Palestinians as well as the rights of the three religious communities - Jews, Christians and Muslims. We urge the United States government to call upon negotiators to move beyond exclusivist claims and to strive through negotiations to create a Jerusalem that is a sign of peace and a symbol of reconciliation.
Dale Bishop Common Global Ministries Board Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and The United Church of Christ
Loyce Swartz Borgmann Washington Office Church of the Brethren
Mark B. Brown Assistant Director for Advocacy Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
J. Daryl Byler Director, Washington Office Mennonite Central Committee
John A. Buehrens, President Unitarian Universalist Association
Thom White Wolf Fassett General Secretary General Board of Church and Society The United Methodist Church
Thomas Hart Director of Government Relations The Episcopal Church
Eugene P. Heideman Representative to CMEP Reformed Church in America
Peggy Hutchison Assistant General Secretary Mission Contexts and Relationships, General Board of Global Ministries The United Methodist Church
Eleanora Giddings Ivory Director, Washington Office Presbyterian Church (USA) Ted Keating, S.M. Director of Justice and Peace Roman Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Institutes
James E. Lintner Director, Office for Church in Society United Church of Christ and Associate General Secretary for Public Policy, Nat'l Council of Churches of Christ in the USA
James H. Matlack Director, Washington Office American Friends Service Committee
Mia Adjali Executive Secretary for Global Concerns Women's Division, General Board of Global Ministries The United Methodist Church
Peter Ruggere, M.M. Office for Global Concerns Maryknoll Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and Lay Missioners
Joe Volk Executive Secretary Friends Committee on National Legislation