Disciples Peace Fellowship Statement
September 13, 2018
Disciples Peace Fellowship condemns recent actions taken by the US administration in relation to Palestinian human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The US administration recently cut all aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports Palestinian refugees. The United States was by far the largest single donor to UNRWA. As a result of this action, schools for 526,000 children will be threatened, as well as many life-saving humanitarian relief programs such as healthcare, social services and emergency food & housing assistance. Moreover, nearly all UNRWA staff are refugees themselves, and therefore their jobs and the livelihoods of their families are also put in jeopardy by this action. The US also announced it will cut aid to the six Palestinian hospitals comprising the East Jerusalem Hospital Network. These cuts will have even swifter deadly results.
Meanwhile, the US administration has rejected all efforts at Palestinian diplomacy by moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem last winter and announcing its decision this week to close the Palestinian Mission to the United States, located in Washington, DC. Furthermore the US administration is now promoting a “re-definition” of the international understanding of who qualifies as a Palestinian refugee, in order to shift demographic realities in Israel’s favor and erase Palestinian refugee rights which are protected by multiple United Nations resolutions. They have also attacked the International Criminal Court, one of Palestine’s only channels for seeking justice for the many human rights violations carried out against its people by Israel, and have, furthermore, made grave threats of retaliation if the ICC pursues claims against Israel.
This US administration still purports to be working on a peace deal, but their actions thus far show only an interest in collaborating with the far-right Israeli government in entrenching a violent occupation and pushing the Palestinian people out of existence. This will only deepen the conflict and human suffering. We stand with Palestinian diplomats and peacemakers in condemning these actions, which serve only to move Palestinians toward hopelessness, while emboldening extremists in Israel. We call upon people of all faiths to encourage lawmakers to pursue a true and just peace in the Holy Land, one that respects and protects the rights, dignity, and self-determination of all peoples, Palestinian and Israeli alike.
DPIN Statement & Call to Action in Response to
President Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel
We condemn President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, joining our voice to those of our Global Ministries Mission Partners in Palestine and Israel, the thirteen Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, the Middle East Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, our partner denominations, our Muslim and Jewish friends and persons of other faiths and good will around the world.
In addition to placing an enormous obstacle along the path to a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Muslims and Christians, Trump’s unilateral decision will have the effect of legitimizing Israel’s continuing destruction of Palestinian homes, ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem, construction of illegal settlements, and ongoing attempts to annex East Jerusalem.
As far back as 1980, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) took the position that “Unilateral actions by any one group in relation to Jerusalem will only perpetuate antagonisms that will threaten the peace of the city and possibly of the region” when it affirmed the National Council of Churches’ Middle East Policy Statement and again through a General Assembly Resolution Jerusalem City of Life (1997).
We reaffirm our commitment to the actions to which our Palestinian Christian sisters and brothers have called us in the recent open letter from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine and the document, Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth: repentance, prayer, solidarity, political advocacy, BDS, and alternative travel to the region.
In this season of hope and anticipation, we are tempted to cynicism and despair. But we heed the angel’s refrain, “Fear not!”, and we recommit ourselves to the One whose commonwealth we pray and work to come in its fullness on earth as it is in heaven.