Reflection on the Israeli Palestinian Resolution


Angelica Harter

8/7/2014

The following is a blog by Angelica Harter of the Palestine Israel Task Team

“Through our love, we will overcome injustices and establish foundations for a new society, both for us and for our opponents.  Our future and their future are one.  Either the cycle of violence that destroys both of us or peace that will benefit both.”
                        Kairos Palestine, “A Moment of truth: a word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering.” 4:3


As day after day of conflict consumes the Middle East with ever-rising death tolls, our hearts are anguished and our prayers cry out for a true peace with justice.  The MACUCC Palestine Israel Task Team is particularly concerned about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.  As we affirm the preciousness of every human life in God’s eyes, we also acknowledge the great disparity between the two sides.  Israeli civilians are protected by an Iron Dome anti-missile system funded by the United States, whereas the Palestinians in Gaza have no bomb shelters and virtually nowhere to run.  We support a secure and peaceful homeland for both peoples. Whether separately or together is up to them.
 
Besides our prayers, both peoples need our actions.  In June, our Task Team with the endorsement of the Justice and Witness Council presented a resolution to the Annual Meeting for study.  This resolution, developed by the national grass-roots UCC Palestine Israel Network affirms the UCC’s earlier stands that Israel has a right to exist within secure and internationally recognized boundaries and that Palestinians have a right to enjoy sovereignty in an independent, viable state of their own.  It affirms the UCC’s commitment to interfaith relationships and then names many of the human rights abuses Israel has committed in the course of the Occupation.  It seeks to take a step beyond past resolutions in asking churches to study the Kairos Palestine document, addressed to the world by Palestinian Christians in 2009, and to support their call for boycott, divestment and sanctions.
 
The resolution “Calls upon the United Church of Christ Board, United Church of Christ Pension Boards, United Church Funds, Conferences, local churches, members and other related UCC entities to divest any holdings in companies profiting from the occupation of the Palestinian Territories by the state of Israel—“ and names a number of companies.  Our church on a national level has been taking its corporate responsibility seriously and has been engaged with a number of these companies by talking with executives and filing shareholder resolutions.  However most of these companies have not changed their corporate behavior over nine years of engagement.  We believe it is now appropriate to take the next step of divestment.
 
The resolution also calls upon all entities of the church to boycott goods produced by Israeli companies in the Occupied Territories.  Support of boycotts has been a long tradition in the UCC and has included the Nestle Boycott, the grape boycott, the boycotts of the Civil Rights and anti-apartheid eras and more recently the support of the Immokalee workers in their boycott of Taco Bell.
 
This resolution calls upon all of us as church members and American tax-payers to examine our consciences, our portfolios, our pensions and our buying habits to see if they accord with our belief in international law and justice.  Palestinian Christians, including many of our Global Ministries partners, have reached out to us to remind us of the suffering under which they are living every day.  They have sent a word of faith, love and hope to the world.  They are committed to resisting their oppression in a non-violent way, and they ask us to join them. 
 
Two conferences of the UCC have already voted in favor of this resolution with some additional language commending our leadership to continue the work of interfaith dialogue.  That means that it will be presented to the UCC Board of Directors for presentation at the General Synod in June of 2015.  Because consideration of resolutions is a two-year process in Massachusetts, we will not be able to vote on the resolution until the Annual Meeting of 2015.  The Task Team hopes that the Annual Meeting will vote to endorse it.
 
In the next year we have the opportunity to study the resolution and the historical background leading up to it.  Our Task Team is eager to provide resources - study guides, worship resources and leadership of programs for local churches that explain the details.  Please read the resolution on the MACUCC website and the background supporting document here.  

If you would like the task team to arrange a program at your church, please contact Gay Harter at asharter@verizon.net or Linda Ziebell at lindaziebell@comcast.net.
 
 



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