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Reveal all on funding, Israel told

25 January 2013

by a staff reporter

SENIOR Anglicans, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have called on the Episcopal Church in the United States to demand that Israel account for all the foreign aid that it receives from the US.

In an open letter to the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, the signatories, including the former Bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt Revd Gene Robinson, and Dr Tutu, said: "Israel must be held accountable for allowing an occupation for 45 years that suffocates the dreams of freedom [that] the Palestinians hold."

The letter noted that leaders of 15 religious groups, including Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Methodists, wrote to Congress last year calling for accountability of Israel's use of foreign aid from the US, and said that the "voice of the Episcopal Church is woefully missing".

Israel has been the largest recipient of US foreign aid since 1945, receiving $115 billion in assistance.

The Palestinians were enduring an apartheid worse than it had been in South Africa, Dr Tutu said.

The letter also demanded that the Church's financial resources were not used "to support the infrastructure of this suffocating occupation".

The Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, however, described the open letter as "extremely unhelpful", and said that it "disregards due legislative processes".

She told the Episcopal News Service that such a letter only discouraged those being criticised from entering into negotiations.

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church last year rejected boycotts and disinvestment from Israel, and, instead, urged "positive investment" as a response to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

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