Church leaders condemn Israel for human rights violations
Diane Huie Balay
Methodist News Service
May 12

The United Methodist Council of Bishops passed a resolution May 4
urging a cessation of Israeli-Palestinian violence and rapped Israel
for continued human rights abuses against Palestinians.

With 8.4 million members, The United Methodist Church is the second
largest Protestant denomination in the United States. The church has 50
active bishops in the United States and 17 in Europe, Africa and the
Philippines.

The bishops' resolution condemning the violence was passed at their
semi-annual meeting April 29-May 4 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The resolution read in part:

"Whereas basic freedoms and human rights of Palestinian people continue
to be violated,

"Whereas the building of new and expansion of existing settlements
continues in [the Palestinian territories],

"Whereas the United States government has and continues to provide
funding for the Israeli government and that funding supports the
establishment of settlements in occupied territories, the building of
road ways through the occupied territories which divide the Palestinian
lands,

"Whereas the Palestinian and Israeli forces continue violent acts of
terrorism and destruction often inflicted upon innocent men, women, and
children,

"We therefore call upon the United States government through Congress
to use all measures possible, including the cutting off of all funding
to the Israeli government, to insure that the flowing conditions are
met:

"* All human rights violations cease
"* Building of roads for the purpose of dividing the Palestinian lands
through the West Bank and Gaza cease
"* No more Jewish settlements are built in occupied territories
"* All home demolitions cease.
"Furthermore, we call upon the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to bring
an end to all hostilities.

"Furthermore, we call upon all United Methodists to become educated on
the issues, pray for all people of the region, and provide financial
support to the Palestinian people through contributions to the General
Board of Global Ministries.

"And furthermore, we call upon all United Methodist communities and
churches to invite religious leaders (Jewish, Christians and Muslim)
into conversations in order to foster deeper understanding of the
issues."