Initial Comments on Resolution passed by the United Church of Canada
by Hanna Kawas
Aug. 15, 2009
The one resolution passed by the 40th General Council of the United Church of Canada includes item 1(g) (see below), which calls on Palestinians to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
We also learned with horror this week, after reading the United Church Moderator’s statement that the official Church position, since 2003, has been the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. This position is more damaging than anything positive in the new resolution.
Does the Church understand that this is a racist position, that they are recognizing a state where one group (in this case, based on religion) is guaranteed more rights than other groups that constitute a huge 20% of the population?
Would they for a moment recognize or insist anyone else recognize Canada as a Christian state, or Eygpt as an Islamic state?
And its not just saying this is the official religion, but rather supporting exclusive priviliges enshrined in law based on that religion and institutional measures to ensure that this religion maintains a majority in the population base? (For further info, see my letter “Don’t Ask Palestinians if They Recognize Israel”
We are not surprised that the Zionist lobby in Canada is happy with these results.
Resolution passed by the 40th General Council of the United Church of Canada
August 13, 2009
Amended proposal: Implementation of measures Towards Peace in The Middle East:
That the 40th General Council 2009
1. Record its convictions that a just peace in the Middle East will require:
a) The denunciation of Human Rights abuses committed by Israel and Palestine, as documented by Amnesty International and the United Nations, that will result in Member States of the United Nations taking subsequent, appropriate actions;
b) That the occupation and siege of Gaza by Israel cease, requiring the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza;
c) That the Government of Canada and Member States of the United Nations support international efforts to alleviate the humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza;
d) The withdrawal of Israeli military forces to pre-1967 borders and ending all forms of violence by the Israeli Government upon the Palestinian people;
e) The cessation of suicide bombings and other violent attacks directed towards Israeli civilians on the part of Palestinians;
f) Recognition that East Jerusalem, West Bank and the Gaza Strip constitute an integral part of the territory occupied in 1967 and Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem must be dismantled;
g) The recognition by the emergent State of Palestine of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state within safe and secure borders;
h) The recognition by the Israeli Government and the emergent state of Palestine of equal citizenship rights, protections, privileges and responsibilities for all of their respective citizens regardless of religious or national origins.
2. Direct the General Secretary, General Council to inform the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in writing, of the above convictions and urge that Canadian policy and commitments in the Middle East reflect this position.
3. Affirm the United Church of Canada’s participation in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel and seek further ways of augmenting our physical presence in the Middle East.
4. Support the principles of the Amman Call particularly those that promote Peace-Making, Bridge-Building and the development of long term strategies for peace and right relations.
5. Direct the General Secretary, General Council to engage in consultation, dialogue and study (with relevant partners and other interested parties), concerning implications of past and future actions to end the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and enter into conversation as how to move the two peoples toward reconciliation (including, but not limited to economic boycott), and to report to the 41st General Council and to provide continuing guidance to the other United Church courts until GC41.
6. Recommend that the United Church Conferences, Presbyteries, congregations and community ministries immediately enter into consultation, dialogue, study and prayer, and then to take appropriate action toward ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, and enter into conversation as to how to move the two peoples toward reconciliation (including, but not limited to economic boycott).
7. Affirm the United Church’s support of its partners through financial commitment, solidarity, delegations and ecumenical accompaniment.