Peace to you. Shalom. Salaam.
We are members and adherents of The United Church of Canada of various theological and political worldviews. We are deeply concerned with the longstanding and ongoing injustice and violence that plagues the people of Palestine and Israel. We pray and work as we can for a just, safe peace that brings life to these nations. We believe that to get to this place of life, it is vital that we continue to build relationships with everyone who is working for peace in the region.
Recently, The General Council of The United Church of Canada made decisions regarding its stance on the conflict between the people of Israel and Palestine.
Although there are many nuances to this action, the decision and recommendations clearly place the weight of responsibility on Israel for the continuation of the conflict and for the impoverished living conditions of the people of Palestine. The General Council named the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands “as a major contributor to the injustice that underlies the violence of the region,” and the particular role Israeli settlements play in continuing and deepening the occupation.
However, there was little recognition of the roles other important parties, including some in the Palestinian community, are playing in perpetuating violence and injustice, thereby standing in the way of a peaceful resolution to this unjust situation. The General Council called on the government of Israel to take many actions, but it made no similar entreaties to the Palestinian leadership. For there to be a true partnership toward peace, all parties must be encouraged to do their part in building that partnership. To achieve peace, an open and fair dialogue must be present. With its decision the United Church of Canada has removed itself from dialogue.
The General Council has called on United Church members to support the end of the occupation by engaging in a boycott against some products of the Israeli settlements.
We believe that this decision of the General Council has damaged relationships that are vital to growing a just peace.
We commit ourselves to challenging the decision of the General Council, through the processes of The United Church of Canada.
We will work against the boycott campaign and the other policies including divestment and sanctions against Israel.
We will support positive peace-building efforts.
We commit ourselves to offering care to the people of Israel and the people of Palestine, not by economic sanction, but by economic support.
We commit ourselves to working with people here in Canada, in Israel and in Palestine, for a secure, just peace, that lifts up abundance and hope for all.
Salaam. Shalom. Peace.
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