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19. Resolution "The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"
Rev. Ruth Powell, Chairperson of Committee 25, expressed her appreciation for the work of the committee, and described their work of consolidation. She moved a new Resolution which was recommended by her committee and spoke to the motion which was discussed. After discussion it was
87-GS-86 VOTED: The Sixteenth General Synod adopts the Resolution "The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict."
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Biblical and Theological Foundations
The United Church of Christ affirms the Biblical and Theological Foundations of the Just Peace Church Pronouncement of the Fifteenth General Synod:
A Just Peace is grounded in the ministry of reconciliation. The Church is thus an alternative to those forces which divide, which perpetrate human enmity and injustice, which destroy. As Christians, we offer this conviction to the world: peace is possible.
WHEREAS, the United Church of Christ long has been concerned with the self-determination of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and has previously condemned "anti-Semitism in all its forms;" and
WHEREAS, the United Church Board for World Ministries has developed a study packet on The Middle East entitled "In Search of Reconciliation," and an OCIS-UCBWM Human Rights Fact-Finding group has produced a Report on Human Rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories; and
WHEREAS, Christians, Muslims and Jews often hold distorted images of one another and treat one another with contempt or hatred to the point of violence and oppression, and as this has fostered hatred of Islam as in the crusades and anti-Semitism as in the Holocaust; and
WHEREAS, peace in The Middle East is essential for the future of Israel, for the Palestinians and the Arab states, and for the whole world; and
WHEREAS, it is time to end the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Sixteenth General Synod calls upon all congregations of the United Church of Christ to engage in study and action utilizing the United Church Board for World Ministries Middle East Study Packet "In Search of Reconciliation" and the "United Church of Christ Human Rights Study Tour Report;" and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Sixteenth General Synod requests that the United Church Board for World Ministries provide personnel and resources to our ecumenical partners and partner Christian denominations in this area as they continue their ministries of reconciliation in the very shadow of the Cross; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Sixteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ joins with the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in The Middle East, an organization of Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, in affirming the following statement, entitled, "A Time for Peace in The Middle East;" and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Sixteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ requests that the office for Church and Society give careful attention to representing these concerns to the government of the United States.
A Time for Peace in The Middle East
(Statement Adopted June 11, 1987 at the National Meeting of the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in The Middle East in Arlington, Virginia)
Peace in The Middle East is essential for the future of Israel, for the Palestinians and Arab states, and for the whole world. But the promise of peace remains unfulfilled. There is daily suffering and danger of greater violence and another war if there is no peace.
WE JEWS, CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS SAY - IN THE NAME of GOD, COMPASSIONATE AND JUST - IT IS TIME FOR PEACE. We are motivated by our deepest religious convictions. Working for peace is not optional: it is fundamental to our faith.
It is time to end the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is time for all parties to stop terror and violence. Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by negotiations. IT IS TIME FOR PEACE.
WE CALL UPON OUR OWN UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT TO MAKE PEACE A PRIORITY and use diplomacy to promote negotiations for a just peace based on the following:
Israel's RIGHT TO SECURE BORDERS AND PEACE WITH HER NEIGHBORS, as an expression of the Jewish people's right of self-determination. The principles embodied in U.N.Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 provide an agreed upon formula to achieve security and peace for all states in the area in exchange for withdrawal from territories occupied in the 1967 war.
THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE'S RIGHT of SELF-DETERMINATION, including the right to choose their own independent leadership, is equally essential to peace. Evidence that Palestinians are willing to exercise their right of self-determination in the West Bank and Gaza, alongside Israel, encourages prospects for peace.
THE NEED FOR AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR PEACE: the complexity of the conflict and the important interests of many countries in The Middle East require an international conference, involving all parties in the conflict as well as the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
Jerusalem is of vital significance to Israelis and Palestinians, to Jews, Christians and Muslims. We believe negotiations, rather than unilateral action, can help assure that Jerusalem will be a city of peace.
PEACE IN The Middle East IS POSSIBLE. NOW IS THE TIME FOR PEACE! SHALOM - PEACE - SALAAM.