Received on October 19th, 2002

The Episcopal Diocese of Rochester has passed the resolution on the
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict almost unanimously--only two desenting votes out of 303.

Moreover after the resolution was presented, there was resounding applause by
the delegates--in spite of the policy not to applaud speeches while issues are debated.

Below is a copy of this resolution
 

A Resolution Concerning the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Resolved, That this 71(superscript: st) Convention call upon the United
States government to act without delay to exercise its enormous diplomatic
resources and political leverage to promote the following steps to create a
just and lasting peace in the Middle East:
      The establishment of an international peacekeeping force, agreed upon
      by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, to halt hostilities and
      maintain order until a peace agreement can be fully implemented
      The full recognition of the state of Israel by the international
      community, including by the Arab states
      The establishment of a viable Palestinian state
      The withdrawal of Israelis from the West Bank and Gaza
      Once these two sovereign states are established, the settlement
      between them of the questions of Jerusalem and the return of
      refugees; and be it further

Resolved, That this Convention urge each congregation in this diocese to
study the historical origins of this conflict in order to understand what
currently prevents peace there and to consider joining on-going ecumenical
and interfaith nonviolent actions by such groups as The National Council of
the Churches of Christ (NCCC), Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP),
Tikkun (an interfaith nonviolent community based in the U.S.), American
Muslims for Global Peace and Justice (AMGPJ), and Jewish Voices Against the
Occupation (JVAD)?among others; and be it further

Resolved, That this Convention instruct the Secretary of Diocesan
Convention to notify President George W. Bush, Senators Charles Schumer and
Hillary Clinton, and Representatives of Congressional districts within this
Diocese of our action.

Rationale:

            The United States is not without responsibility in the current
violence in the Middle East, since our government heavily sponsors the
Israeli military.  Moreover, any peace plan would need the support of the
U.S. government.

The steps outlined in the Resolution include many of the same measures that
have been proposed by several religious individuals and groups?the National
Council of Churches, Churches for Middle East Peace (sixteen different
denominations including the Episcopal Church), Tikkun (an interfaith
nonviolent community based in the U.S.), Jewish Voices Against the
Occupation (also based in the U.S.), American Muslims for Global Peace and
Justice, the Primates of the Anglican Communion, the Anglican Bishop Riah
Abu el-Assal of the Diocese of Jerusalem, Archbishop George L. Carey, and
the Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold of the American Episcopal Church.
These steps are also part of the peace plan recently proposed by Saudi
Arabia's Prince Abdullah that has been well received in the international
community.

Although President George W. Bush proposed a peace plan to resolve this
conflict, June 24, 2002, his plan does not include the establishment of an
international peacekeeping force to halt the violence by both sides, which
is what most other peace plans include as a first step.  Instead, President
Bush's proposal calls upon the Palestinian Authority to elect new leaders
and cease all violence by Palestinians against Israelis before the points
of his plan for the formation of a provisional Palestinian state would be
carried forward.

The steps of the peace plan outlined in the Resolution presume there can be
no enduring peace without justice for the Palestinians.  The United Nations
Resolution #242, issued after the June 1967, Six-Day War, called for the
withdrawal of Israelis from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  That still has
not happened; instead more and more Jewish settlements continue to be
constructed in these occupied territories, exacerbating the hostilities
there.
            Triennial General Convention resolutions addressing the Middle
East's on-going conflict have opposed Jewish settlements in these occupied
Palestinian territories as "illegal and an obstacle to peace"(1994),
affirmed Israel as a sovereign state and supported the creation of a
Palestinian state (1991), and deplored the supplying of weapons by any
nation to this area (1991).  Policies established at these previous General
Conventions still remain in effect.

            Finally, by calling upon the United States government to use
its diplomatic leverage to help obtain a cessation of violence and a
peaceful solution to the conflict in the Middle East, this Convention of
the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester would be responding positively to the 73
(superscript: rd) General Convention Resolution calling on the Church to
support the United Nations Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence
and for the Church to "promote a culture of nonviolence which values love,
compassion, and justice; and reject violence as a means of solving
problems" (2000)