Speak Out for a just and peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Speak Out for a just and peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Tell Congress you support the Obama Administration’s efforts to end settlement expansion and restart negotiations to achieve a viable two-state solution

ASK:  Contact your members of Congress and urge them to support the Obama Administration’s efforts toward a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Tell them that you appreciate the Administration’s encouragement of both sides to get serious about meaningful negotiations, and you support its efforts to end Israeli settlement construction in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian Territories.

BACKGROUND:  During the recent visit of Vice President Biden to Israel, authorities announced plans to build 1,600 new housing units in Palestinian East Jerusalem.  The announcement was widely seen as threatening to derail U.S. efforts to get negotiations started for a comprehensive agreement for peace.  Then, on March 24, the Jerusalem municipality approved an additional 20 new apartments for settlers in East Jerusalem.

East Jerusalem’s Israeli population of approximately 200,000 presents significant challenges and obstacles to East Jerusalem serving as the capital of a future Palestinian state.  Further settlement of the city, especially in Palestinian neighborhoods, only increases those challenges.  There can be no peaceful resolution to 43 years of Israeli occupation if settlement expansion and the dispossession of Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem continue.

Reiterating the United States’ firm support for Israel’s security, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has also repeated her criticism of new Israeli settlement construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.  She says that this construction “undermines mutual trust” and “exposes daylight between Israel and the United States that others in the region hope to exploit.”

The Israeli government has declared, however, that it will not reverse its plan for new settlement construction in East Jerusalem.  “As far as we are concerned, building in Jerusalem is like building in Tel Aviv,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

FAITH REFLECTION:  As Christians, we believe that God’s great work in Jesus Christ is to remove the barriers between God and humankind and among people.  It is a work of reconciliation and the righting of relationships, which we call justice.

In Israel and the Palestinian territories today, we find three faith communities — Jews, Muslims and Christians — and two nationalities — Israelis and Palestinians.  They are not at peace and they are not in right relationship with each other.

Christ is at work to bring these diverse, divided and often hostile peoples together – in peace, justice and security.  When we contribute to efforts of righting the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians – as in the form of a secure Israel living at peace with an independent, viable Palestine – we are sharing in the peacemaking work of Christ.