From: Riess Potterveld
Sent: Thursday, November 09, 2000 1:12 PM

Statement on Israel/Palestine by members of PSR faculty



LETTER ON THE PALESTINIAN SITUATION AND
PEACE WITH JUSTICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
 

As members of the faculty of Pacific School of Religion, we wish to express
our deep concern about the current violence in Israel/Palestine. We are
alarmed at the present situation resulting from the continued occupation of
the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza by the state of Israel, more
than seven years after the Oslo process began, and 33 years after the
occupation took place. The United Nations, in Resolution 242, noted the
"inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force."  In recent
years, the United States government has insisted on taking a unilateral
role, controlling the negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis
and pushing away the United Nations which called for the creation of the two
states on November 29, 1947.  The U.S. has moved farther and farther from
international law and U.N. resolutions which should govern the questions of
statehood, definition of borders, water and other resources, settlements,
return of refugees and the status of Jerusalem.

The U.S. government has frequently weakened or vetoed U.N. objections to
Israel's human rights abuses of the Palestinian people-abuses such as home
demolitions, land confiscations, arbitrary arrest and torture.  We are
concerned, too, that the U.S. and many other governments which are
signatories of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) which established
protection for civilian population under belligerent occupation, have not
intervened to make these provisions "prevail," as they are obligated to do
under Article 1.  If there is no pathway to protect the civilian population
under occupation, no response to the findings of the many human rights
organizations, and no fair peace process based on international law and U.N.
resolutions, then we fear that violence is bound to continue to erupt and
engulf the whole region.

We are convinced that the current framework of "peace negotiations" can only
lead to further injustice and violence resulting from the intolerable
conditions into which the Palestinian people have been locked in the West
Bank and Gaza. As a people of faith, we call for Jerusalem to be recognized
as a homeland for two peoples and honored as a religious center for the
three living faiths of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The small
territories over which the Palestinian Authority has been given limited
control under the Israeli occupying army, are in fact economically
unsustainable. The result of this pattern of negotiation is a series of
separate zones where the Palestinians have inadequate access to employment,
water, education and health, unable to move freely between these territories
with each other and with East Jerusalem. Far from having any real
independence, the Israeli army assumes the prerogative to intervene in them
at any time with military force and to close them off from each other with a
system of check points and closures. This has created an inhumane situation
that should not be allowed to continue under the name of "peace."

We suggest the following guides for the development of a new framework for
negotiations.

1.    To insist on an impartial investigation of the causes (precipitating
background factors and the underlying triggers) of the recent violence.

2.    To put in place measures which would protect the Palestinian
population
in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza.

3.    To insist that the peace negotiations between Palestinians and
Israel be
based on international law and United Nations resolutions.

4.    To insist that negotiations take place under the aegis of the
Secretary
General of the United Nations.

We call upon the community of Pacific School of Religion, the member schools
of the Graduate Theological Union, and our partner church denominations to
inform themselves about the actual situation in Israel/Palestine and to
speak out in favor of a just peace.

Sincerely,

Douglas G. Adams
Professor of Christianity and the Arts

Andrea Bieler
Associate Professor of Christian Worship

Joseph D. Driskill
Associate Professor of Spirituality and Ronald D. Soucey Lecturer

Russell Haitch
Visiting Lecturer in Christian Education

Kah-Jin (Jeffrey) Kuan
Associate Professor of Old Testament

Speed B. Leas
Visiting Professor of Congregational Leadership

Fumitaka Matsuoka
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, Professor of Theology

William McKinney
President
Professor of American Religion

Michael Mendiola
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics

Lynn Nell Rhodes
Associate Professor of Ministry and Field Education

Rosemary Radford Ruether
Professor of Feminist Theology

Benoni Reyes Silva-Netto
Professor in United Methodist Studies

Mary A. Tolbert
George H. Atkinson Professor of Biblical Studies

Mary Donovan Turner
Carl Patton Associate Professor of Preaching

Randi J. Walker
Associate Professor of Church History
 

Riess Potterveld
Vice President
Pacific School of Religion
1798 Scenic Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709
(510) 849-8227
rpotterveld@psr.edu