Council Reaffirms Right of Self-Determination for Palestinians and Israelis.
The 42nd General Council made several key decisions on Aug. 11 related to Palestine and Israel during one of three commissions, which are decision-making bodies.
The commission debated asking the Executive of the General Council to review its long-standing policy on a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. It noted that any change will come in consultation with United Church partners in the region.
Some of those partners are suggesting that the day for a two-state solution has passed due to the prevalence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The commission struggled with the question of whether to let go of the church’s long-term position advocating and working for a two-state solution to the current Israeli occupation of Palestine.
In the end, the commission backed away from a change in policy by simply reaffirming “the right of self-determination for Palestinians and Israelis so that any choice regarding statehood must be made by the people living in Palestine-Israel.”
It reaffirmed the right of Israelis and Palestinians to live peacefully within internationally recognized borders, and it voted to strengthen the strategies and actions taken at the last General Council in 2012 to address the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories by the state of Israel.
This includes “initiating and developing a program of education and advocacy in cooperation with our partners, related to divestment from and economic sanctions against all corporations and institutions complicit in and benefitting from the illegal occupation. This would include education about tourism which bolsters the oppression of Palestinians.”
The commission also encouraged “all courts, bodies and members of The United Church of Canada to apply such divestment strategies and sanctions, until such time as the occupation of the Palestinian territories ends.”
This was understood as advocacy and encouragement, rather than a mandatory or binding direction to the church.
In a further move toward bridge building and reconciliation, the commission directed the General Secretary of the General Council to develop a resource listing organizations in Canada and in Israel/Palestine that foster the building of relationships of trust between
The United Church of Canada and the Canadian Jewish community
The United Church of Canada and Canadian Palestinian groups
Palestinian and Jewish groups in Canada
Palestinians and Israelis in Israel-Palestine.
Website editor’s note: For more news, videos and photos from General Council, visit www.gc42.ca