Don’t move US embassy to Jerusalem, Bishops ask Secretary of State
Washington D.C: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires wise U.S. engagement to build a better future for both peoples, and this future could be endangered by an embassy relocation, the U.S. Catholic bishops told the new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.
Bishop Oscar Cantu, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, said that resolving the conflict will require “critical, continued engagement” to overcome 50 years of conflict and its “egregious injustices and random acts of violence.”
The U.S. bishops have long backed a two-state solution, as has Pope Francis. The bishops implored the Secretary of State to keep the U.S. Embassy to Israel in Tel-Aviv, rather than move it to Jerusalem as President Donald Trump has advocated.
“Relocating the embassy to Jerusalem is tantamount to recognizing Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel,” Bishop Cantu wrote on Feb. 1. He noted that the international community has determined that Jerusalem’s status must be determined in mutual agreements between Israel and Palestine. Moving the embassy would undermine U.S. commitment to a two-state solution, the bishop said.
“We continue to profess hope for a diplomatic solution that respects the human dignity of both Israelis and Palestinians and advances justice and peace for all,” Bishop Cantu continued.
The year 2017 would be an important year, marking “the fiftieth anniversary of a crippling occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, crippling for both peoples,” he said. He cited Pope Francis’ call to those in authority “to leave no stone unturned in the search for equitable solutions to complex problems, so that Israelis and Palestinians may live in peace.”