for our work to continue.

June 02, 2020

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6)

Dear Member of Congress:

We are writing to you as faith leaders who are deeply concerned by the announcement of Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel that annexation of West Bank land could begin as early as July of this year.  President Trump has endorsed annexation in his “Peace to Prosperity Proposal.” As recently as April, Secretary Pompeo has also greenlighted this announcement with his statement that annexation is an Israeli decision.

We are committed, as individuals, and as leaders of faith communions and organizations, to the achievement of a just peace in Israel/Palestine that respects and defends the human rights of all who live in that land we call Holy. Unilateral annexation of occupied Palestinian land by the State of Israel is not in the cause of a just peace; annexing thirty percent or more of the West Bank would entrench inequalities and abuses of Palestinians’ human rights for the foreseeable future.

We share the grave concern expressed by the Council of Patriarchs and Heads of the Holy Land Churches who in a statement dated May 7, called upon Israel to refrain from annexation, making clear that such a unilateral move “would bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of the peace process.” Formal annexation is an act of aggression, not a step for peace.

As of this writing, there is no evidence that President Trump and his administration will reverse course and reject annexation. Warning about the Administration’s current trajectory, Rev. Munther Isaac and Father Jamal Khader, Christian leaders in the West Bank, wrote in Haaretz in early May, “Let us be clear: implementing the Trump plan would bring catastrophic consequences for the prospects of a political solution between Israelis and Palestinians, and particularly for the fulfillment of the rights of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian Christians.”

We call on Congress to wield its power of the purse and not allow any United States funds provided to Israel to be used for the recognition, facilitation or support of annexation, or for denial of Palestinian rights and violation of international law, including continuing occupation. Respect for human rights, compliance with international law, and achievement of peace with justice is essential not only for the security and wellbeing of Palestinians, but for that of Israelis as well. Should Congress fail to oppose and create tangible consequences for annexation by the Israeli government, the United States will bear significant responsibility for the continued deprivation of Palestinian rights and for the continuation of the conflict.

The United States has a moral responsibility to promote human rights, justice and peace, both at home and abroad. We are now looking to our Congressional leaders to assure that our country acts courageously and makes clear that annexation undermines the rule of law and is morally unacceptable.


Joyce Ajlouny

General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee 

Rev. Eddy Alemán
General Secretary
Reformed Church in America

Maurice Bloem
Executive in Charge
Church World Service

J Ron Byler
Executive Director

Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

Executive Director

Churches for Middle East Peace

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church

Rev. Paula Dempsey

Director of Partnership Relations

Alliance of Baptists

Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer

General Minister and President

United Church of Christ

Rev. Elizabeth Eaton

Presiding Bishop

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray


Unitarian Universalist Association

Very Reverend James Gannon, OFM


Franciscan Friars, English Speaking Conference

Susan Gunn Director

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

The Rev. David Guthrie


Provincial Elders’ Conference,

Moravian Church in America, Southern Province

Rev. Glen Guyton

Executive Director

Mennonite Church USA

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey


Council of Bishops, The United Methodist Church

Rev. Dr. Nathan Hosler


Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, Church of the Brethren

Rev. Dr. Julia Brown Karimu

President, Division of Overseas Ministries,
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada
Co-Executive, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth D. Miller


Provincial Elders’ Conference

Moravian Church in America, Northern Province

Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson

Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (USA)

Rev. Teresa Hord Owens

General Minister and President

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

Diane Randall

General Secretary

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Dr. Andrea Smith

Co-Founder and Board Member

Evangelicals 4 Justice

Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson

Associate General Minister, United Church of Christ

Co-Executive, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

Colin P. Watson Sr

Acting Executive Director

Christian Reformed Church in North America

Jim Winkler

President and General Secretary

National Council of Churches  

Archpriest Thomas Zain

Vicar General

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

Johnny Zokovitch

Executive Director

Pax Christi USA


27 Religious Leaders Oppose Israeli Annexation of Palestinian land
Letter to the U.S. Congress includes the President of the UMC's Council of Bishops

Click to download this letter

News & Analysis        Key Stories

For more information on this issue (formerly found here), please visit our page: Annexation Watch

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