From: "Fr. Robert Assaly"
Subject: United Church Canada Statement
Resolution on a just peace in the Middle East
Approved by the Division of World Outreach
Annual General Meeting
February 5th 2001

Introduction

The Division of World Outreach works through the Middle East Working
Group (MEWG) of InterChurch Action for Development, Relief and
Justice (ICA) with partners in the Middle East, including the Middle
East Council of Churches, the Department of Service to Palestinian
Refugees and Sabeel, an Ecumenical Centre for Liberation Theology. In
consultation with these partners, the MEWG has developed a policy
framework entitled "Peace With Justice in Palestine" which was
affirmed by the Board of ICA, with United Church support in May 2000.
In January 2001, eleven Church leaders including the Moderator of the
United Church issued a statement, which affirmed the right of
Palestinians to exist in peace and freedom in an internationally
recognized homeland and state, and the right of Israel to exist in
peace and security within international recognized borders. The
letter also affirmed that the implementation of relevant UN Security
Council resolutions, the withdrawal of Israel from settlements in
Gaza and the West Bank and provision of territorial integrity for a
Palestinian state is necessary for a just and lasting peace in the
region.

In solidarity with Middle East partners, in response to their call
for support of those who are struggling for a just peace in the
region, and consistent with the Policy Framework document, the
Division of World Outreach records the following actions:
Be it therefore resolved that the Division of World Outreach of The
United Church Canada:

1. Affirm the work of the Middle East Working Group of ICA and
further encourage the MEWG to continue to stand in solidarity with
Palestinian people and to speak prophetically for justice in the
Middle East.

2. While condemning acts of violence on all sides, particularly
deplore the continuing excessive use of force, in many forms, by the
Israeli army against Palestinians.

3. Call on the Government of Canada to implore Israel to recognize
its accountability under the 4th Geneva Convention as an occupying
power over Gaza and the West Bank and to heed the required restraint
that it must exercise in these areas.

4. Further request the Government of Canada to call Israel to
recognize, as the occupying power, that it has a primary obligation
to take responsibility for de-escalating the violence, and that it
can do this through the following steps: by withdrawing forces from
the West Bank and Gaza, by ending the containment of Palestinian
villages and communities, by ceasing destruction of olive groves and
other means of punishment of the Palestinian population, and by
ending the economic strangulation of the Palestinian people.

5. Communicate to Middle East partners and to the Government of
Canada the conviction that true peace will only be achievable through
the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions, specifically
242 (1967), 338 (1973), recently re-affirmed by Security Council
Resolution 1322, and UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (1948); and
that these resolutions require the implementation of the right of
return of Palestinian refugees and the withdrawal of Israel from the
West Bank and Gaza including settlements.

6. Call on the Government of Canada and all international actors to
recognize that the right of return of refugees is a basic human right
that must also be accorded to Palestinian refugees.

7. Direct that prayer, study and action resources be produced for The
United Church of Canada that underline the biblical, theological,
interfaith, historical and political contexts of the Middle East and
that help facilitate dialogue with Christian, Jewish and Muslim
neighbours.

8. Encourage The United Church of Canada at all levels to remain in
dialogue with Jewish and Muslim communities and make every effort to
be in solidarity with justice seeking groups within those faith
communities.