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2019 news stories and current alerts from and for the Palestine Portal community. Find our 2018 news HERE.
⚠️ ACTION ALERT:
Rise Against Racism,
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Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is the largest organization in the US driving support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. It is time for Christians and all people of conscience to challenge their influence! You can: • ENDORSE this call to action • DONATE to support this campaign • REGISTER & JOIN THE ACTION in Washington, D.C. on July 7 and 8, during CUFI’s annual summit Visit FOSNA to LEARN more and TAKE ACTION
Related story in Israeli press:
Trump Rolls Out the Big Guns for pro-Israel Evangelicals’ Confab Ahead of 2020 Read it
UCC PIN Statement: “The Kairos Moment Now: Toward a Human Rights Approach to a Just Peace in Palestine”
This declaration by the United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network (UCC PIN), without specifically naming the 2005 BDS call from Palestinian society, affirms all three goals cited in that call: freedom from occupation, full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees. The statement declares: “the United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network believes that the reality of Israel’s apartheid state, now fully exposed by the Nation State Law, requires use of the legal and analytical framework of apartheid if decolonization, genuine self-determination and full equality are to be actualized.
UCC PIN challenges their denomination to “strengthen our commitment to live into our past General Synod resolutions with greater diligence and follow through” and specifies actions of “economic leverage – boycotting products made in Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements, divesting from corporations profiting from the Occupation, and encouraging US sanctions against Israel – in order to pressure Israel to comply with international law.”
They also call on the 2019 General Synod to adopt the resolution “Addressing Global Forced Migration,” which the Synod subsequently did, and recommend that their denomination “not advocate for any one particular solution, whether two-state or one-state or something else….our attention and work should stay centered on the defense of human rights and on international humanitarian law.” Download the statement
UCC 2019 General Synod Resolution on “Global Forced Migration” highlights Palestinian refugees, funding UNRWA
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6 July 2019 – This report draws from the text of the resolution that was submitted to the 2019 General Synod, which had some minor amendments before it was passed, the final version not yet having been posted online. We will update this report as needed when the final version is available.
In June 2019, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ (UCC) adopted the resolution ”Addressing the State of Global Forced Migration” which had been submitted the UCC Board.
Along with refugees in Latin America, Syria and Iraq, southern Asia. and other troubled regions, the resolution specifically mentions “Generations of Palestinian refugees displaced and dispossessed of their homes and 124 property following the wars of 1948 and 1967, in the Middle East and beyond.” It urges church members to act through “advocacy for the rights of refugees everywhere based on the Convention Relating to the 158 Status of Refugees (1951); and for Palestinian refugees specifically as stipulated in UN 159 General Assembly Resolution 194 (1948), and for continued US funding for the United 160 Nations Relief and Works Agency.”
The Summary included in this resolution:
This resolution draws the church’s attention to the broad scope of unprecedented and massive displacement worldwide, including the variety of causes, the impact on human beings, and the responses of partners in the US and around the world, along with underlying attitudes of racism, xenophobia, and bigotry in the debates and discourse. It calls the United Church of Christ to continue to pray and learn about the current state of global migration, to take actions related to US policy, and to support global and domestic partners engaged in response; and it affirms our rejection of attitudes, discourse, and actions that discriminate based on any aspect of identity. See the UCC ReportDownload the resolution
UUA General Assembly 2019 says “Support Our First Amendment Right to Boycott”
The Bahrain Conference and Trump/Kushner Deal of the Century
Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace: “The Palestinian people will not be bribed into submission.” • Christians for Middle East Peace: Kushner’s Foreign Investment Plan Is No Substitute for Palestinian Freedom • American Muslims for Palestine say Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan Isn’t a Plan & Won’t Lead to Peace
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June 2019 – The Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP) has issued a strong statement on the U.S. “economic workshop” in Bahrain in June, the overture in Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century” to bring peace to Israel/Palestine. Besides rejecting the blatant attempt at bribery, PCAP also says: “The Trump Administration is putting the cart before the horse because no economic assistance program can ever succeed if the Palestinian people do not have their right to govern themselves in a full sovereign nation with all its institutions.” See the statement
• Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) also issued a statement regarding the Bahrain Economic Workshop convened by the United States: “If the Trump administration is serious about improving the lives of Palestinians, it can begin by restoring the aid that it cut to the Palestinian people and applying pressure on Israel until it grants Palestinians their freedom and rights.” See the statement
• In their statement about the Bahrain Economic Workshop, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) says: “Expectedly, this peace plan, which some critics have argued resembles a “real estate developer’s brochure,” fails to address the core causes of Palestinian suffering and instead aims to bribe them into total capitulation.” “In this tone-deaf plan and attempt to bribe the Palestinian people into submission—using unguaranteed Arab Gulf money—Trump’s team proves once more its willingness to protect Israel at all costs and without having to foot the bill.” See the statement
German Parliament says BDS is anti-Semitic, compares it to Nazi era; statement condemned by all of Palestinian society
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May 2019 – The German parliament has passed a resolution that denounces the BDS movement for Palestinian human rights as anti-Semitic and associates it with boycott actions during Germany’s Nazi era. It has generated a firestorm of response from Palestinians and human rights defenders. Kairos Palestine urges the Bundestag to reverse the resolution and asks: “What other avenue would our German brothers and sisters ask us to take in order to overcome this historic injustice…?” • See the BDS National Committee release • For more on this story, see the report from UMKR, with all statements from Palestinians and others, and op-eds.
McCollum Bill Back in Congress, Stronger than Ever! Would Stop US Funding for Military Abuse of Children
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April 30, 2019 – Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) has introduced H.R. 2407, the “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act,” a groundbreaking bill that prohibits U.S. taxpayer’s dollars being spent for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel/Palestine. This bill would amend the existing Leahy Law, which is part of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act; it seeks to promote children’s human rights by ensuring that U.S. financial aid to Israel is not used to support the widespread and institutionalized abuse of Palestinian children who are detained by Israeli forces and prosecuted in Israeli military courts. UPDATE, JUNE 13, 2019:This landmark bill for Palestinian human rights now has 18 Co-sponsors! See them here
• Read the political analysis by Josh Ruebner
• Learn more about the bill and get resources with No Way to Treat A Child
• See the Endorsing Organizations
⚠️ ACTION ALERT:
Support this historic bill for Palestinian human rights
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• TAKE ACTION: This bill is the first of its kind in the U.S. Congress, an exciting opportunity for our legislators to stand up for Palestinian rights, and it needs all our support. Amplify the call to end U.S. funding for Israeli detention and abuse of children by writing to your Representative in the House today! Send a message now
• MORE ACTION: Take a stand yourself by endorsing HR 2407 as a Citizen Co-sponsor!
Global Kairos Petition Delivered to Israeli Embassies and Consulates; coordinated actions for Nakba Day 2019
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May 15, 2019 – On the 71st anniversary of the Nakba, the catastrophe of Palestinian exile and ethnic cleansing, a multi-faith delegation from around the Washington metro area gathered outside the Embassy of Israel to present the Global Kairos for Justice International petition to the government of Israel. The call for freedom and human rights was signed by over 3200 individuals and organizations from 51 countries. Today’s delivery was linked to similar global events simultaneously commemorating the Nakba with actions at government buildings, embassies and consulates, as well as conferences and marches.Read more of this report
• See all the actions FOSNA organizedat Israeli embassies and consulates in the US
• Read and SIGN the Global Kairos Petition, from Kairos Palestine and its global partners
“Deplorable”: At UN, Israeli Ambassador Uses the Bible to Justify Land Theft
Do No Harm! Palestinian Society Calls to all Tourists and Religious Pilgrims
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Palestinian civil society calls on all international visitors, especially pilgrims, and people of conscience to do no harm to our nonviolent struggle for our rights under international law by respecting our ethical tourism guidelines.
• Do not visit historical/religious/touristic sites…that are illegally run by the Israeli occupation authorities…
• Avoid products and services provided by Israeli or international companies that are complicit in Israel’s human rights violations…
• Pressure online tourism companies, such as Booking.com, Airbnb, Expedia and TripAdvisor…to stop operating in or promoting visits to illegal Israeli settlements…
• Boycott all LGBTQIA+ events organized by or in cooperation with the Israeli government or complicit Israeli institutions…
• Avoid any travel itinerary to present-day Israel or illegal Israeli settlements…
• Increase visits in solidarity with the Palestinian and Syrian people as well as independent… SEE THEIR CALL • More on Responsible Tourism on Palestine Portal • Upcoming Trips
Churches and Christian Organizations Reject Trump’s recognition of Israeli annexation of Golan Heights
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March 2019 – Ten US churches and Christian organizations issued a statement “fully reject[ing] this unilateral declaration” and stating: “We see this reversal of consistent US policy and international consensus—that the Golan Heights are occupied and were acquired by force in the 1967 War in contravention of international norms—as an abandonment by the US of diplomacy to resolve such issues.” See the statement
March 2019 – Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) issued the statement Recognizing Israeli Annexation of Golan Heights Another Dangerous Example of One-Sided U.S. Policy, stating that this decision “once again demonstrates the administration’s recklessly one-sided approach to Middle East foreign policy. Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) deplores the move as violating one of the cornerstones of post-World War II international law: the illegitimacy of territory gained through conquest.” See the statement
Broad-based Ecumenical Calls to Trump and Congress: reverse “unconscionable” cuts to UNRWA funding
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February 2019 – Fourteen US Churches and Church bodies sent a letter to President Donald Trump calling on him to reverse the recent U.S. decision to cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA): “The humanitarian impact of these cuts will be devastating…. More than half a million Palestinian children are educated in UNRWA schools. Half of Gaza’s population receive food assistance from UNRWA. Hundreds of thousands…rely on health services provided by UNRWA clinics. These already vulnerable communities will be forced to suffer even more if these unconscionable cuts are not restored.” See the letter
March 2019 – Nineteen faith organizations and denominations sent an open letter to members of the U.S. Congress, that said: “humanitarian assistance must be provided on the basis of need alone; it is unconscionable and against universally-agreed humanitarian principles to withhold aid to extract concessions from political leaders.” See the letter
Fifteen Faith Groups Warn Americans: Our Right to Free Speech Is Under Attack
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January 2019 – Fifteen faith organizations issued a statement calling for Americans to oppose “anti-BDS legislation” such as Senate resolution S.1: the “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019.” This bill seeks to provide legality for unconstitutional laws adopted in dozens of U.S. states that “penalize Americans – often by denying them access to jobs, contracts, and other opportunities the state offers – if they support boycotts addressing Palestinian human rights or if they simply refuse to pledge in writing that they do not support such boycotts. The Supreme Court has made clear that political boycotts are a form of speech protected by the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. See the call
Every week, Christians around the world join in prayer with Palestinian Christians, through the Wave of Prayer from the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. Below are recent prayers as well as news bites from Sabeel: use the scroll bar to see more of them and click on any item, to read more at Sabeel’s website.