Statement from UCC-Christian Church (Disciples)

Common Global Ministries Board of Directors Meeting, Cleveland, Ohio,
November 9-11, 2001

Resolution on the Current Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Supporting Actions
toward Ending Israeli Occupation and Establishing a Palestinian State

WHEREAS Israel's 34-year military occupation of Palestinian land and people
continues, perpetuating structures and acts of state violence that have been
condemned by the international community as categorically illegal and
inhumane;

WHEREAS in the current international climate of combating terrorism and in
the name of enhancing its national security Israel has used the distraction
of world attention to exercise its stated policy of targeted assassinations
and excessive collective punishments against Palestinian individuals and
communities in the occupied territories;

WHEREAS in recent months Israel has intensified its year-long incursions into
Palestinian territories with a "re-occupation" of areas heretofore granted
Palestinian autonomy, deploying troops in residential areas and houses of
worship throughout the West Bank and Gaza and using heavy armaments to kill
and injure dozens of primarily civilian Palestinians:
     namely that of August 28 which included the storming of the Lutheran
Church of the Reformation and its orphanage in Beit Jala near Bethlehem, and
use of its 50 orphans as human shields;
     and that of October 18 in which occupation forces fired on St.
Catherine's Church, the Holy Family maternity hospital, a Catholic-run home
for the elderly, and refugee camps in and around Bethlehem; used
U.S.-supplied F-16s and Apache attack helicopters to assault unarmed
villagers such as in Beit Rima near Ramallah, while detaining ambulances and
medical personnel from entering the village; and killed by heavy-gauge sniper
fire the Greek Orthodox altarboy Johnny Thaljieh who was playing after
vespers in Bethlehem's Manger Square;

WHEREAS the Bush Administration and notably Secretary of State Colin Powell,
in reviewing U.S. foreign policy after September 11 to determine the lasting
interests of our nation and its better values, has re-engaged Middle East
partners in dialogue aimed at securing a cease-fire and restarting peace
negotiations, has advanced the Mitchell Report as a basis of next-step
confidence building measures, and has adopted a policy stance that claims as
a common goal a future Palestinian state; that challenges all sides to reduce
the level of violence, including halting political assassinations such as
those of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Abu
Ali Mustafa and the former Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi; that
commends international observers; and that calls on Israel to refrain from
provocations that would hinder future peace negotiations, including its armed
"re-occupations" of Palestinian territories, expansion of settlements, and
assaults against civilian populations;

WHEREAS the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of
Christ) have affirmed resolutions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
opposing all acts of violence and violation of human and civil rights and
upholding statutes of international law, especially UN Resolutions 194, 242,
and 338, that would prevent Israeli crimes under military occupation and
foster the self-determination of Palestinians through the establishment of a
viable Palestinian state;

WHEREAS the World Council of Churches has initiated the Decade to Overcome
Violence (DOV), endorsed by both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
and the United Church of Christ at General Assembly/General Synod 2001 in
July, and has chosen the end of the occupation of Palestine as the focus of
DOV for 2002;

WHEREAS the World Council of Churches (WCC) has investigated Al-Aqsa intifada
and concluded that an international monitoring presence is essential both for
civilian safety and the stability of renewed peace negotiations, and that
such a presence should include not only official United Nations peacekeepers
but international Christian witnesses to accompany besieged Palestinian
communities; and as a consequence has established an Ecumenical Monitoring
Programme in Palestine and Israel (EMPPI) based on the model the WCC employed
to confront South African apartheid; and

WHEREAS during this intifada the ecumenical Middle East Forum of Church World
Service and Witness has convened several working groups for a just resolution
to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, whose programs include national
grassroots mobilization, media advocacy, new resource material development,
as well as ecumenical monitoring strategies, and whose key participation has
included the Middle East and Europe Office of Common Global Ministries and
its consultant resources;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Common Global Ministries Board hereby
states its opposition to all acts of violence and terror in the current
conflict in the Middle East, whether they be conducted by individuals,
military forces or other state agents, or ex parte militants;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Common Global Ministries Board commend the
U.S. Administration to remain committed to securing a lasting peace between
Israelis and Palestinians, in the context of a comprehensive Middle East
peace that recognizes the essential role played by the U.S. government in the
conflict as it affects all situations of occupation in the Middle East,
supporting the Administration's declared policy objectives of seeking
Palestinian statehood through renewing peace negotiations, predicated on the
Mitchell Report's recommendations to curb violence, cease Israeli settlement
colonization, including so-called "natural growth" expansion, and implement
international cease-fire monitors;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Middle East and Europe Office initiate
efforts for the denominations to communicate through the General Ministers
and Presidents and Co-Executives of the CGMB its commendation and concerns to
President Bush and Secretary of State Powell, highlighting the premise that
true peace and security depends on justice for all rather than privilege and
power for some;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Middle East and Europe Office continue to
develop programs and means of coordinating activities in cooperation with
advocacy and ecumenical partners in the U.S. and Global Ministries partners
in Palestine, especially toward shared World Council of Churches' objectives
of ecumenical monitoring and the 2002 focus on Palestine as a priority for
the Decade to Overcome Violence;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Middle East and Europe Office initiate
efforts to identify and mobilize individuals, congregations and regional
church bodies who will call and work for the end of the occupation and the
establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

Subject to availability of funds.