a OBSERVATÓRIO DA PAX: World Council of Churches gravely concerned over Israel’s travel ban

domingo, 12 de março de 2017

World Council of Churches gravely concerned over Israel’s travel ban

[World Council of Churches] The World Council of Churches (WCC) March 9 expressed grave concern about a new law passed March 8 by the Knesset which reportedly forbids granting entry visas to foreign nationals who call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts of either Israel or the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The ‘Entry to Israel Act (Denial of Visa to Non-Residents Who Knowingly Call for a Boycott on Israel)’ apparently makes no distinction between boycotting Israel proper and boycotting products of the settlements, which are widely considered illegal under international law.

“If reports of its content and intent are correct, this law is a shockingly regressive law,” said WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. “It would be a clear violation of freedom of expression, that is critical for those who want to visit Israel, for those who have to live under the occupation, and for those who want access to the Palestinian territories. It is also a significant violation of freedom of religion. It is precisely because of our Christian principles and teachings that we in the World Council of Churches find the purchase and consumption of goods produced in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories immoral, and it is for the same reason many churches and Christians around the world choose to divest from companies that profit from the illegal occupation.”

Tveit observed that, if strictly applied according to its reported terms, “this new legislation would have the effect of barring representatives of many churches around the world from entering Israel, from accompanying sister churches and fellow Christians in the region, and from visiting the holy places for Christians. This potentially impacts the religious freedom of many Christians around the world, and harms Christians in Israel and Palestine. It could mean that I cannot, as general secretary of the WCC, visit our member churches in Israel and Palestine any more, nor go to the holy sites.” (...)

World Council of Churches

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