2020 Community News


Christians in Palestine and Around the World oppose Israel’s Annexation Plan

Dozens of Churches, christian organizations and leaders from US, Europe, Australia, and Asia issue statements making clear annexation cannot be tolerated and calling on governments for bolder actions to deter this unprecedented looming violation of international law and universal human rights.

PALESTINIAN CHRISTIANS' RESPONSES

Kairos Palestine: The Dire Consequences of Israel’s Coalition Government
“The board of Kairos Palestine raises an alarm regarding the consequences of the third failed Israeli election in less than a year. The resulting coalition entered on April 20, 2020, combines two of the most right-wing parties—Bennie Gantz’s Blue and White and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud—in a deal that directly threatens Palestinians’ freedom, health and human rights.

“Described as an “emergency government” to address the impacts of COVID-19, and under the cover of a so-called “coronavirus cabinet,” the State of Israel is empowered to continue its policies of home demolitions, closures, arrests, child detention and settler violence.

“….While the “emergency government” may only take up legislation related to the corona virus, an exception was agreed upon to consider bills related to U.S. President Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century.?
See the full statement with the actions Kairos Palestine calls for

Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem voice concern about Israel’s planned annexation of West Bank land
“….We also call upon the Palestinian Liberation Organization, as the sole legitimate Representative of the Palestinian people, to resolve its internal disputes—as well as any conflicts with other factions that are not under its umbrella—in order to present a unified front dedicated to achieving peace and the building of a viable State that is founded upon pluralism and democratic values.”  See the full statement

Palestinian Christian Clergy: Trump is Complicit in a Catastrophe for Christians
Israel’s West Bank annexation policy, fueled by Trump’s ‘peace plan,’ may gratify extreme evangelicals, but is a mortal blow to the future of Christianity in the Holy Land

“While the world is busy fighting COVID-19, Israeli political parties have reached a government coalition agreement. Benjamin Netanyahu has succeeded in bringing annexation of occupied Palestinian territory to the table, setting a provisional timeframe — less than two months from
now. He can thank the Trump plan for the confidence to push annexation so hard and so fast.

“…. Let us be clear: implementing the Trump plan would bring catastrophic consequences for the prospects of a political solution between Israelis and Palestinians, and particularly for the fulfillment of the rights of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian Christians.

“….This plan transforms the Holy Land into a “Zionist fairyland” for the enjoyment of extreme Christian evangelicals and Jews, while the local Christian population remains subjugated under Israel’s coercion. In fact, the plan maintains a cruel and artificial separation between two
cities with key Christian holy sites – Bethlehem and Jerusalem.”
Originally published in Haaretz
See the full article online

IN THE US: CHURCHES, FAITH-BASED GROUPS and PARTNERS

27 Christian Leaders Write to Congress Opposing Unilateral Israeli Annexation of Occupied Palestinian Territory

“….As of this writing, there is no evidence that President Trump and his administration will reverse course and reject annexation. Warning about the Administration’s current trajectory, Rev. Munther Isaac and Father Jamal Khader, Christian leaders in the West Bank, wrote in Haaretz in early May, “Let us be clear: implementing the Trump plan would bring catastrophic consequences for the prospects of a political solution between Israelis and Palestinians, and particularly for the fulfillment of the rights of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian Christians.

“We call on Congress to wield its power of the purse and not allow any United States funds provided to Israel to be used for the recognition, facilitation or support of annexation, or for denial of Palestinian rights and violation of international law, including continuing occupation.”
Download the full letter

Opposing Israeli annexation, UCC and Disciples leaders amplify Palestinian ‘Cry for Hope’
The General Ministers and Presidents of the Disciples and the United Church of Christ, as well as the two churches’ Co-Executives of Global Ministries, having received the statement from Palestinian Christians “Cry for Hope: A Call for Decisive Action,” have reached out to their members and offered ways it can be studied and acted on by church members.  They also reiterate their strong opposition to anticipated Israeli efforts to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, and to occupation.

“…We also acknowledge that such Israeli de jure annexation would be devastating to any hopes for peace with justice between Israelis and Palestinians while also an extension of decades of de facto Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands. In addition, we continue to work against Israel’s continued blockade of Gaza and its denial of rights of Palestinian refugees, and are deeply troubled by its 2018 basic law identifying the country as “the nation state of the Jewish people,” which openly discriminates against Israel’s one-fifth Palestinian Christian and Muslim population.” See their full statement

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Opposes Israeli Annexation and Secretary Pompeo’s Greenlighting on Behalf of U.S.
“Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) strongly condemns the Trump administration’s support for Israeli annexation of the West Bank and calls for the U.S. government to work instead for a viable and just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Absent leadership from the Administration, Congress must immediately take concrete legislative action to make clear the U.S. government will not fund or otherwise support annexation.

“President Trump’s plan, issued in two parts in June 2019 and January 2020, proposes that Israel annex some 30 percent of the West Bank regardless of Palestinian actions. After issuing the second part of the plan, the U.S. government sent a team to work with the Israeli government in a joint commission to map out the areas for annexation. The commission began work in February.
See the full statement

Jewish Voice for Peace: No annexation. No apartheid.
“This is the day, we’ve been told, that Israel can begin formally annexing Palestinian land. That, with the explicit blessings of the U.S. government, Israel can expand its land theft, forcibly expel Palestinians from their homes, and concretize an apartheid regime over Palestinian families.

“This is the day, we’ve been told, that all we can do is say NO. That, despite our petitions and our demonstrations and our lobbying efforts and unprecedented gains with our elected officials and the incredible work of Palestinian activists across the world, that despite all of that, Israeli annexation can move ahead. And Jewish Voice for Peace is proud to join the massive international movement of Palestinian solidarity in saying NO.”
See their full statement

66 Organizations Respond to the Black Lives Matter Uprising and Israel’s Threat to Annex More Palestinian Land
Letter Calls on Congress to divest from militarism and policing, from the US to Palestine.

“We, the undersigned organizations committed to shaping policy towards justice for all people, call on Congress to take concrete steps to hold Israel accountable for its stated plans to formally annex the West Bank, as well as for its ongoing military occupation, displacement, and oppression of the Palestinian people, by ending US military funding to Israel. Further, we call on you to stop the flow of federal dollars to local police. These demands stem from our united commitment to divest from militarism and instead invest in community needs, like education, housing, and healthcare for all, in order to create safety and justice for all.

“The U.S. investment in militarism and policing of communities of color is global, and so our vision for justice policy must be shaped by our commitment that racial justice has no borders. Just as we join in the demand for our tax dollars to be divested from brutal police violence and a repressive military response to protesters asserting that #BlackLivesMatter, we call for an end to U.S.-funded violence abroad.”
See the full letter to Congress

Hundreds of Jewish clergy members pen open letter opposing unilateral annexation
More than 600 rabbis and cantors in conjunction with seminary students have penned a public letter to the Israeli government stating that they unequivocally oppose annexation, according to a J Street statement.

The clergy members and students noted that unilaterally annexing the West Bank “would be a catastrophic mistake…violate human rights, weaken democracy, and make Israelis and Palestinians less
secure.”
See the report in The Jerusalem Post
See the letter in full

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Statement on Potential Vote to Annex Parts of the West Bank

“T’ruah reiterates our opposition to annexation, and our commitment to a negotiated agreement, and calls on Netanyahu and Gantz to cease planning for annexation.
A global pandemic does not justify a move that will create a permanent occupation, and further codify the denial of basic human rights, including civil and political rights, to the millions of Palestinians living under Israeli military rule. Indeed, the current health crisis has reminded us that the health, safety, and security of Israelis and Palestinians is dependent one on the other.”
See the full statement

WORLDWIDE RESPONSES

Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and World Council of Churches (WCC)  Letter
to European Union

Sent to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and all the Foreign Ministers of the EU nations

“….We concur with the statement by Dr Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, that the looming annexation is “a political litmus test for the international community”, and that it “will not be reversed through rebukes”. We appreciate High Representative Josep Borrell’s clear affirmation that the EU does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Palestinian territory and that it will “continue to closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and will act accordingly.”

“Accordingly, the WCC and the MECC are calling on the EU to ensure that any such annexation is met with real consequences, at least commensurate with those adopted by the EU in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.”
See the full letter

Nonviolence International Statement on Annexation:
Unilateral annexation of portions of the West Bank by Israel is a path of oppression and injustice. The whole world must say no.

“….There are two major arguments against annexation from the Jordan Valley or near Jerusalem:
The first is that it basically violates the bedrock of international law, which holds that you cannot annex territory that comes into your possession as a result of war. After WWII, with the creation of the United Nations, 75 years ago, the international community cannot tolerate “border adjustments” taken unilaterally no matter what the justification.

“….For the Palestinians, nonviolent resistance to occupation, annexation, and 2 nd class status will continue and strengthen. Our NVI partners, including the Holy Land Trust, the US Boats to Gaza, We Are Not Numbers, the Center for Jewish Nonviolence will redouble their efforts. Palestinians make up 50% of the population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Palestinians and much of the world will relentlessly push for equal rights and dignity. Surrender or mass emigration would be a form of cultural suicide. As Dr. King said, we have a choice between nonviolence or non-existence. We know which choice the Palestinians are taking. In the meantime, how much monumental suffering and injustice must happen before the world says no to injustice and yes to peace.”
See their full statement

Kairos Canada: Continue to take action for international human rights and against annexation
“….Although this initial date has passed, the ongoing threat of annexation remains real, particularly in the context of occupation. If Israel proceeds with its plan, these acts would greatly exacerbate the suffering of the Palestinian people and put prospects for just and sustainable peace in even greater jeopardy. Furthermore, this plan constitutes a clear violation of International Law, of which Canada is a party.”
See the full statement and actions called for

Letter from Atlantic Regions of United Church of Canada to Prime Minister
and Other Party Leaders
Re: Canada’s response to Israel’s threat to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territory

“….You need to know that Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations have urgently called on the international community to condemn the proposed annexation. PalestinianChristian leaders, in KAIROS Palestine, have said, “Clear decisions are already taken by the UN. So why further waiting to apply what is already decided?” Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem is asking, “How can the rule of law have any meaning when it is determined, interpreted and applied in accordance with the interests of those who control and oppress their subjects with the intention of perpetuating their rule by means of this same ‘law’?” The Council of Patriarchs and Heads of Holy Land Churches urge the government of Israel to restrain from unilateral annexation plans which would surely bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of a peace process.”
See the full statement and actions called for

UK’s most senior church officials oppose Israel’s annexation plans
The two most senior church officials in the United Kingdom Friday expressed their opposition to any Israeli move to annex West Bank territory in separate letters to the British prime minister and Israel’s envoy in the UK.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster wrote to both the Israeli Ambassador, Mark Regev, and the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, expressing their opposition to any move by the Government of Israel to annex West Bank territory after 1 July 2020,” according to the joint statement released by both churches.

Archbishop Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols said their opposition followed warnings from the leaders of Churches in the Holy Land that pushing ahead with the annexation would “bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of the peace process.”
See the report in Al Arabiya
See the report in Vatican News

Church of Scotland: Churches Call on UK Government to Deter Annexation of West Bank
The Moderator has joined church leaders from across the UK in calling on the Westminster
Government to help deter annexation of the West Bank, which could begin on 1 July.  Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair joined representatives from the United Reformed Church, Quakers in Britain, the Methodist Church, the Church of England and Catholic Church in signing a letter sent to the UK government.
The letter said:
“We stand alongside the Holy Land’s Christian leaders, who have warned that the Israeli Government’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank after 1 July “would bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of the peace process.”
See the full statement

Sabeel-Kairos UK: Annexation is illegal, morally corrupt, and threatens the lives of all in the Holy Land. Churches and civil society must speak up.
“….Last week over 140 MPs wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on him to place sanctions on Israel should it proceed with annexation plans.[4] This falls in-line with the expectation of states to uphold international humanitarian and human rights law, and follows the precedent set by the EU when Russia annexed Crimea. However, MPs alone cannot change the course of action, and neither can the UK government. A global, moral outcry against this illegal action is needed, and it is needed fast.

“….We call on civil society, including the individuals and Churches which we work with, to continue, or begin, an unprecedented campaign to Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction Israel with immediate effect, until it ends its illegal occupation of Palestine and complies with international law. Below we have outlined how you can do this in practical ways.”
See their full statement and all actions they call for

Kairos Ireland: Letter from John Parkin, Chairperson
“….Countries that are pledged to uphold international law and uphold standards of justice and human rights should take a stance against any such annexation policy. In Sweden a number Christian, Jewish and human rights activists have called on the Swedish Government together with the European Union to ensure that Israel’s annexations policies do not go unchallenged but are met with concrete consequences equivalent to those taken against Russia after annexing Crimea. Simon Coveney as acting Foreign Minister has condemned the annexation plan in a Department of Foreign Affairs statement. Eleven ambassadors, including the Irish ambassador have warned against the proposed Israeli action. In the UK a cross party group of around 130 MPs have written to the Prime Minister demanding action against Israel if annexation proceeds.”
Download the full letter

Friends of Bethlehem (Denmark):
Letter to Foreign Minister Regarding Israeli Annexation of Occupied Territories
“….We therefore appeal to the Government of Denmark to consider concrete measures that can put pressure on Israel, so that Israel abstains form further annexing Palestinian and Syrian territories.

“Denmark and the EU have over time condemned Israel’s behavior in the occupied territories as breaches of UN resolutions, international law and the Geneva Conventions. But we need more than words of condemnation, that have not had a great effect. We need action in terms of concrete sanctions. And the rapidly growing 10-year old global network, Kairos Palestine, now appeals that protests are followed up by direct BDS action, from businesses, organisations and governments. We are aware that there is a EU meeting on May 6, 2020 where the question of Israel’s possible annexation of occupied territories will be discussed. We appeal to you that Denmark also at these meetings applies pressure on the other EU countries in order to come to an agreement about concrete measures to be taken with respect to Israel’s policies of occupation.”
Download the full letter in English

German Coalition Letter to High EU Representative for Foreign Affairs
and Foreign Ministers of the European Union
“….Instead of repeated expressions of concern or verbose protests without consequences, the European governments and the EU must take effective steps such as the above-mentioned measures to ensure that the State of Israel finally respects international law and grants human rights to the Palestinians. Israel’s insistence on occupation, expansion of settlements and annexation not only violates international law, but also makes a peaceful future between the two peoples impossible.”
Download the full letter

Kairos Sweden: European Union has to be prepared to use sanctions against Israel 
“….The situation calls for the European Union (EU) to examine its policies in relation to international law. When Russia annexed Crimea, the EU reacted with sanctions and restricted relations. If principle of proportionality applies, the EU should act in similar ways now. That would mean e.g. limitations to visa-free travel between Israel and the European Union as well as limitations to the EU-Israel Association Agreement for trade, which in its second article demands the observance of human rights and democratic principles.”
Published in Aftonbladet 6 May 2020, a major daily newspaper in Sweden and Nordic countries.
Download the fulll statement in English

Christian Leaders in Sweden to EU: Stop Israeli Annexation
“….Annexation of the West Bank will turn the Palestinian people – including fractions of Palestinian Christians and other groups intrinsic to the community – into a people without legal protection, without access to fundamental civil and democratic rights. The name for such a system, in Afrikaans and in International Law, is apartheid. Such a system is a crime against humanity and demands the intervention of the international community.

“Israel’s annexation comes timely – as the world is focused on ending the Corona pandemic. But the annexation also has the unprecedented and vital backing of the USA, consenting to Israel’s breach of International Law. The Christians of the holy land have time and again exposed Trump’s so-called ‘peace plan’ for what it is – a plan that takes neither International Law nor the Christian community in to account.”
Publ. in Swedish at Dagen, May 14, 2020
Download this statement in English

A statement by the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (Australia):
Israeli annexation: an anathema to peace
“….We note the many voices who have spoken out against these latest unilateral annexation plans. Voices from European governments, from the World Council of Churches, from the Heads of Churches in the Holy Land, and from Palestinians and Jewish people the world over.
“….To these voices we add our own, to implore our Foreign Minister and Australian government not to remain silent but to pressure the Israeli Government to cease these latest land grabs and to comply with international law and UN resolutions. It is time to defend the Palestinian peoples’ inalienable rights to their own homeland. If the Australian government continues to assert its position for a Two-State solution, then it needs to step up and recognise the State of Palestine on 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Download their full statement


U.S. Christian Leaders Write to the Democratic and Republican Parties

Over 30 Christian clergy and lay leaders in the United States sent letters to the National Committees of the Democratic and Republican Parties (DNC and RNC), expressing their dismay that the platforms of those parties have “been silent on the rights of Palestinians [and] on Israeli actions that undermine those rights. The letters called for both parties to include in their platforms “clear opposition to ongoing occupation, settlement expansion and any form of unilateral annexation of territory in the West Bank.”

These letters went out in May as the world prepared for the looming threat of formal Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank in the summer of 2020, and in a presidential election year when so much scrutiny is given to these parties’ platforms.

See the text of the letters and download the letter with signers


Should Evangelicals Terminate Their Affair With the State of Israel?

By Rev. Alex Awad, Retired Pastor and UMC Missionary
FOR YEARS, I, a Palestinian and evangelical, have watched with pain the unholy alliance of evangelicals and the State of Israel. Evangelical infatuation with Israel began before there was a Jewish state in the Holy Land. British evangelicals, some of whom were Christian Zionists, helped bring the Jewish state into existence. This fixation kept deepening in the last seven decades. We used the Bible, our pulpits, publications, politics, finances, and our radio and TV stations to expand the territory and power of a Zionist state in Palestine. The average evangelical in the U.S. does not realize the volume of hurt and harm that the political might of evangelical leaders has wrought on the people of the Middle East and especially on Palestinians. See the full article


Fourteen church agencies and organizations urge Trump to lift sanctions and other restrictions on health care during Covid-19 pandemic

Protestants, Catholics and Christians of other traditions urge the Trump administration to make “goodwill gestures” that will demonstrate U.S. concern for the people of Iran, Syria and Gaza.

SEE MORE

Regarding Gaza, they state: “The U.S. should end its support for the blockade of Gaza and immediately press Israel to ensure that medical supplies and technology are provided to Gaza, that patients needing treatment outside of Gaza are given the permits necessary for extended periods of treatment, and that family members, especially parents accompanying children, are also granted permits to travel.”  See the letter


Unitarian Universalists Commit to Vigorous Use of Investor Power for Human Rights

On June 26, 2020 delegates to the virtually held General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) voted to adopt the Business Resolution “Embodying Human Rights in Our Investment Decisions”. The vote in support of the resolution was overwhelming with 95% of the delegates voting for adoption.
Actions mandated in this resolutio include: “To cease purchasing shares in corporations that are consistently, knowingly, and directly complicit in egregious human rights violations and violations of international law, and to divest from shares directly held in such corporations”
Learn more about this resolution
See the text of the resolution



Israel Must Release Palestinian Child Detainees Amid Covid-19

This petition from Defense for Children International–Palestine calls on Israeli authorities to take immediate action to release all Palestinian child detainees in Israeli prisons due to the rapid global spread of the COVID-19 virus.

SEE MORE & SIGN THE PETITION

Palestinian children imprisoned by Israeli authorities live in close proximity to each other, often in compromised sanitary conditions, with limited access to resources to maintain minimum hygiene routines, according to documentation collected by DCIP. COVID-19’s impact is exacerbated by these living conditions making Palestinian children in Israeli prisons and detention centers increasingly vulnerable. SIGN THE DCIP PETITION


Open Letter to Church Leaders

From Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP) – Calls on church leaders to take urgent action in this time of Covid-19 for the Palestinians in beseiged Gaza, by contacting the Israeli government and the U.S. Congress. See the letter AND take action to contact the Israeli Prime Minister at UMKR’s website


U.S. Congressional Action for Palestinians in the time of COVID-19

Senators’ Letter to State Department – March 2020
Eight senators  sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling for U.S. humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people during the global health crisis of the coronavirus. See the story on Mondoweiss     Download the letter with signers

Representatives Letter to State Department – February 2020
Thirty-one members of the House of Representatives sent a similar letter to the State Department in February, and they included a call to end U.S. support for Israel’s blockade of Gaza.  See this story on The Hill     Download the letter with signers


Faith leaders and organizations stand up to the U.S. Plan for “Peace to Prosperity”

On January 28, 2020, the United States announced and published its much-vaunted “Deal of the Century,” titled “Peace to Prosperity.” Faith leaders and organizations in Palestine, North America, Europe, and across the world responded immediately with outrage and protest. “An insult to history, humanity, the Palestinian people, and American dignity itself” reads the statement from Kairos Palestine.  See opposition and calls for action from Palestinian Christians, and dozens of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim groups and denominations.

STATEMENTS FROM PALESTINIAN CHRISTIANS

Kairos Palestine (the Palestinian Christian movement in the Holy Land): “Today we ask churches and Christians across the globe to stand up in the face of injustice against the Palestinian people and demand their countries to reject categorically the so-called ‘deal of the century’, reiterating that neither peace nor justice can prevail unless justice is fulfilled, occupation is ended, and Palestinians are granted their full rights.”See their full statement

The Middle East Council of Churches: Secretary General states “the Palestinian cause is a rightful cause and addressing it through bargaining and trade-offs is unacceptable…. The Middle East Council of Churches….calls the international community to put an end to the injustice and restore the legitimate rights of the Palestinians. See his statement

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land: Statement from Bishop Azar includes calls for action by partner churches See his statement

Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem (above): Their statement on Trump’s plan includes a call to Palestinian leaders: “We also call upon all Palestinian political parties, factions, and leaders to meet to discuss all disputes, end the state of internal conflict, terminate division, and adopt a unified stand towards concluding the state building based on plurality and democratic values.” See their statement

Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace: “There can never be a just and lasting peace agreement without securing the freedom of the Palestinian people. To that end, we call upon our fellow Americans to reject the Trump Administration’s ‘Charade of the Century,’ and call for applying real accountability on Israel, by conditioning U.S. military aid to Israel on Israel ending the occupation See more

INTERNATIONAL FAITH-BASED RESPONSES

World Council of Churches: “This proposal was developed without meaningful participation by representatives of the Palestinian people, and primarily in line with long-stated Israeli objectives. It constitutes an ultimatum, rather than a real, sustainable or just solution. No just peace can be established for either Palestinians or Israelis with such a plan….WCC urges members of the international community not to support this proposal or to recognize its implementation unless and until a better plan has been negotiated and agreed with representatives of the Palestinian people and in compliance with the principles of international law….See more

ACT Alliance, Palestine Forum (large coalition of Protestant and Orthodox churches): “ACT Alliance condemns the US administration’s proposal – consistent with US policy shifts we have witnessed over the past years – as a blatant breach of international law, and we reiterate that any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be negotiated and accepted by both sides…. In other words, the U.S. policy encourages annexation and exacerbates human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) and the Golan Heights.” The statement includes a call to specific actions. See the statement

Lutheran World Federation: “Peace can never be unilaterally imposed,” write LWF president Archbishop Panti Filibus Musa and LWF General Secretary Rev Dr Martin Junge in a statement released on 29 January. “The plan ignores fundamental principles of international law and human rights conventions, as well as numerous UN General Assembly and UN Security Council resolutions, setting a dangerous precedent for the future.” See more

UNITED STATES CHURCHES AND FAITH GROUPS

Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA): “I am very dismayed and disturbed by President Trump’s announcement of a “peace plan” that, I fear, will bring greater insecurity for Israelis and Palestinians instead of peace….Rather than drawing together Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peace accord, the effect of this plan will be further alienation and, I am afraid, more tension, with the possibility of new, violent responses. This path will not lead to peace with justice. It will not promote reconciliation. But it will reinforce extremists in Israel, in Palestine and throughout the
region, decreasing security for everyone.” See more

Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church USA: “This “deal” is little more than a cynical rephrasing of the conditions that have kept the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation for decades. It codifies Israel’s egregious theft of Palestinian land and would continue Israel’s military rule, even over the areas allocated to the so-called Palestinian state. It lacks any evidence of a true willingness to include the interests of the Palestinian community.” See more

Joint Statement, United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ: “…our responsible response is one of grave concern. We do not read the 181-page proposal as either realistic or just. We fear for its devastatingly deleterious effects on Palestinian rights, for its implications for international law and institutions, and for the possible consequences on the people living in an already untenable circumstance. We do not see God’s justice in it.” See more

Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN), Presbyterian Church USA: “There should be no surprise at the injustice of what has been proclaimed the “ultimate peace plan” for Palestine and Israel. For those who have paid attention, this is nothing new; it is simply the same old offer to share an ever-shrinking piece of power and opportunity, to a Palestinian community decimated already by ethnic cleansing. The plan is a house that the US has helped build over the last 50 years of Israeli military occupation….It is a patriarchal attitude which holds that those who win, those who have the power, get to decide what is left for those who have no clout, and even then, that those people should be grateful to have any remainders.” See more

Episcopal Peace Fellowship: Palestine Israel Network: “As an organization dedicated to working for true justice and peace for both Palestinians and Israelis, emphasizing political and human rights for Palestinians, the Palestine Israel Network of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF/PIN) condemns virtually every aspect of the US plan for resolving the Palestine-Israel conflict issued by President Trump on January 28, 2020. This plan should be of paramount interest to members of the Episcopal Church, for the Church has lent ardent support to the parish, educational, healthcare, and hospitality ministries of the Diocese of Jerusalem for many years….Our baptismal covenant to seek justice for all peoples compels us to speak out on what is at stake.” See more

Executive Director, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP): “The proposed plan would further entrench the Israeli security establishment, ensuring that generations of Israeli young men and women will serve in a military tasked with continuing control of the Palestinian people. The inevitable result will be more human rights abuses, trauma, and violence.
This cannot stand.
In addition, as Christians, we must not stand by and let our faith be perverted. It is clear that Christian values are being weaponized in an attempt to give a veneer of moral legitimacy to a plan that is, in fact, meant to facilitate further Israeli control over Palestinian lives, land, and resources. The use of Judeo and Christian religious and spiritual imagery to justify political aims and agendas is idolatry. See more

American Muslims for Palestine: “The outlines of this plan are a recipe for more bloodshed, prolonging suffering in the Holy Land and across the Middle East. This is not a recipe for peace. The Trump administration in essence has embraced the stringent ideological positions and policies of Israel’s extreme right, acting as a conduit to channel these policies rather than policies based on human rights and international law,” stated Osama Abuirshaid, Executive Director of American Muslims for Palestine.
Therefore, this plan is dead on arrival. No Palestinian leader can accept it. And if any does, the Palestinian people will not, as it liquidates their rights that are enshrined by human rights and international law.” See more

Jewish Voice for Peace: “Rabbi Alissa Wise, Acting co-Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, said: “This is in no way a peace plan – it’s an apartheid plan. It’s a distraction ploy by two warmongerers who are prioritizing their personal election campaigns over any semblance of statecraft. International law, global consensus and decades of U.S. policy concur that Palestinian land isn’t for Trump to give away nor for Netanyahu to steal….” See more

CANADIAN CHURCHES AND FAITH GROUPS

United Church of Canada: Letter sent to Prime Minister Trudeau, copied to Canada’s major political parties, to “urge Canada to maintain a principled policy position in accordance with international law, and to strongly oppose the Trump Administration’s “Middle East peace plan” for Israel and Palestine….We further call on Canada to urge other international leaders to denounce the notion that this “plan” could offer a framework through which peace could be negotiated.” See the full letter

Anglican Church of Canada: Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau calls on him “to maintain a principled policy position in accordance with international law, and to strongly, publicly oppose President Trump’s “Peace for Prosperity” plan….We lament with global and Canadian ecumenical partners that the Trump administration’s plan is far from being a “win-win” for Israelis and Palestinians. Rather, we recognize, with many others including Canada, peace with justice will not come by discounting or ignoring Palestinian rights and aspirations.” See this letter

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada: Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau states “Peace can never be unilaterally imposed. Palestinians must be meaningfully involved as part of any peace process. The recent U.S. plan entrenches the occupation. Any path to peace needs to be based on dignity, equality, human rights and self-determination. Ending the occupation is an essential first step for making the journey toward peace.” See their full letter

Presbyterian Church of Canada: Letter to Prime Minister, copied to major political parties, states: “We have heard from our partners in the Middle East…the desperation they feel. This plan cannot bring about peace between Israel and Palestine, as it leaves in place and even cements the very thing that furthers conflict: the occupation and the illegal practices that have characterized it. As such, this plan would set a dangerous precedent of enshrining as a “peace” framework what is fundamentally a violation of international law.” See this letter

Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers): “Any plan toward peace must involve all parties in the negotiation process. It must reflect the needs of all affected parties, not just the needs of the party in the more powerful position. A plan that ensures permanent Israeli power over many aspects of Palestinian life, allows for the further illegal annexation of Palestinian land (a grave violation of the international legal order with far reaching consequences), and grants to the Palestinian people a weak quasi-state with few actual powers, must be rejected in the strongest of terms.” See their full statement

KAIROS Canada: Open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudea calls on Canadian government “to renew its commitment to lasting peace by publicly rejecting this plan, immediately addressing the worsening humanitarian situation for Palestinians and working towards a just peace agreement rooted in the spirit of international law and human rights.” See the announcment and letter

Mennonite Central Committee Canada: Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau states “By rejecting this plan and insisting on a negotiated settlement between two parties based on international law, Canada can contribute to the conditions necessary for an actual just peace. To this end, MCC urges Canada to support diplomatic efforts—including United Nations resolutions—that seek to uphold international law and protect the rights, well-being, and dignity of the region’s peoples.” See this letter in English    The letter in French

Canadian Friends of Sabeel: “With no Palestinians present in the room, President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu unveiled the plan, which:
– Legalizes all Israeli settlements, annexing them indefinitely for the Israeli state
– Organizes Palestinians into “bantustans” – drawing further parallels between Apartheid Israel and Apartheid South Africa
– Declares Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel
– Annexes the Jordan Valley
– Denies Palestinians the right of return
– Demands the demilitarization of the entire future Palestinian state
See their email

UNITED KINGDOM CHURCHES AND FAITH GROUPS

The Church of Scotland: “Any resolution to this terrible situation needs to seriously consider the aspirations and rights of the Palestinian people to equality, justice, self-determination and freedom; enshrined within the parameters of international law. The ‘Peace to Prosperity’ plan flagrantly disregards the basic rights of the Palestinian people by unilaterally endorsing the demands and conditions of one side. In depriving one side of its most basic aspirations for equality and statehood, it risks making an already fragile situation worse.” See the statement

Catholic Bishops of England and Wales: Bishops reject “Peace for Prosperity” plan and insist on the upholding of international law and human rights for all in the Holy Land.
“…no proposal and no serious perspective could be reached without the agreement of the two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians. These proposals have to be based on equal rights and dignity. The plan “Peace-to-Prosperity” does not contain these conditions. It does not give dignity and rights to the Palestinians. It is to be considered a unilateral initiative, since it endorses almost all the demands of one side, the Israeli one….On the other hand, this plan does not really take into consideration the just demands of the Palestinian people to their homeland, human rights and a dignified life.” See the statement

Joint Call from UK Quakers, Sabeel-Kairos UK, and many partners: “The UK has repeatedly stated that annexation of part of the West Bank “would be contrary to international law, damaging to peace efforts and could not pass unchallenged.” Now is the time for the UK to outline what form such a challenge would take, and how it will work with other states to support the Palestinian people to attain their fundamental right to self-determination.” See more

OTHER FAITH COMMUNITIES AND COALITIONS

Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network, Australia: “The final instalment of the so called ‘Deal of the Century’ has been unveiled. The Peace to Prosperity, 181 page document has drawn world wide criticism and derision. Once again we see President Trump overriding international law to present this unilateral plan. It was telling that Netanyahu stood at the President’s side as Trump revealed the plan and has vowed to immediately implement the recommendations if reelected in the next Israeli elections.” See their email

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No to Christian Support for the “Deal of the Century”

Read and sign the petition FOSNA has created at MoveOn.org