Petition 60868

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Task Force on Israel/Palestine (60868-GM-R9999-!-G)

WHEREAS, it is God’s will that all people enjoy peace/shalom/salaam, i.e., peace, security, prosperity, and right relationships with one another and the earth; and

WHEREAS, the psalmists calls us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), and to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14); and

WHEREAS, we affirm Israel’s right to permanent, recognized, and secure borders, and Palestinians’ rights to self-determination and formation of a viable state; and,

WHEREAS, the 2012 Book of Resolution states “we seek for all people in the Middle East region an end to military occupation, freedom from violence, and full respect for the human rights of all under international law” (Resolution #6073, 2008 Book of Resolutions, amended and readopted in 2012); and

WHEREAS, “The United Methodist Church opposes continued military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, the confiscation of Palestinian land and water resources, the destruction of Palestinian homes, the continued building of illegal Jewish settlements, and any vision of a ‘Greater Israel’ that includes the occupied territories and the whole of Jerusalem and its surroundings (Resolution 6111: “Opposition to Israeli Settlements in Palestinian Land.” 2012 Book of Resolutions); and,

WHEREAS, we are called to support members of Christ’s church around the world, including Palestinian Christians who are being forced to leave the Holy Land due to Israel’s confiscation of their property and the severe hardships of living under occupation; and,

WHEREAS, the Palestinian Christian community, through the Kairos Palestine document, has requested the support of the wider Church (Kairos Palestine. “A Moment of Truth: A Word of Faith, Hope and Love from the Heart of Palestinian Suffering” <http://www.kairospalestine.ps/content/kairos-document> Web. December 2009); and,

WHEREAS, Palestinian Christian leaders have specifically requested the support of The United Methodist Church (Letter to The United Methodist Church from Rifat Odeh Kassis, General Coordinator, Kairos Palestine, November 28, 2014 <https://www.kairosresponse.org/Rifat_Kassis.html>. Web. January 2015); and,

WHEREAS, the 2012 General Conference reiterated the call to end the occupation, through boycotts of goods produced in the occupied territories (Resolution 6111: “Opposition to Israeli Settlements in Palestinian Land,” 2012 Book of Resolutions); and,

WHEREAS, all UMC missionaries serving in the Holy Land over the last twenty-five years support concrete actions by our denomination to show our support of Palestinian rights (United Methodist Missionaries Support Divestment from the Israeli Occupation, https://www.kairosresponse.org/UMC_Missionaries_Divestment.html. Web. January 2015 <https://www.kairosresponse.org/UMC_Missionaries_Divestment.html.%20Web.%20January%202015>).

Therefore, be it resolved, that the General Board of Church and Society together with the General Board of Global Ministries shall create a diverse and representative task force to review and research actions that can be taken to respond to these requests by our UMC missionaries and our Palestinian sisters and brothers in Christ, and formulate and publish recommendations for annual conferences, local churches, and members, including helping organize Holy Land Tours that are consistent with the 2008 resolution #6031 “Holy Land Tours” that provides guidelines for travel in Israel/Palestine.

Be it further resolved, that the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church calls on the U.S. government, the government of Israel, and the elected Palestinian leadership to work for diplomatic and nonviolent solutions to the problems of the region, to respect the equality and dignity of all the region’s people, and to forge solutions based on the principles of international law and human rights.

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