IN SUPPORT OF JUST PEACE IN PALESTINE AND ISRAEL: A CALL TO COSTLY
Find below the letter sent to Just Peace Advocates along with the report from the Task Force on November 21, 2021.
Read the March 8, 2020 response from Just Peace Advocates that sent to the United Church in regard to its consultation.
Read the paper used by the Task Force in its consultation
Read the Task Force Report below, and make your own conclusions, but we note that it does not support the call that Christians in Palestine, including partners of the United Church of Canada in Palestine made in 2017, or subsequently in 2020 through the Kairos Palestine “Cry for Hope”
We also notice that the partners from Palestine are not included in the consultation. We understand at least one partner did sent a statement but was not included in the list of those consulted. Also, at least one Canadian based secular group submitted to the Task Force but was not included.
The statement does not recognize the use of the word “apartheid.” While no policy has been approved during a General Council resolution, the church references an opinion included in the 2012 paper that was used as background for the General Council 41 in 2012 in Ottawa as the rationale for the church having agreed to not use the word “apartheid.” The report does not support BDS but does support right of people to practice BDS.
Just Peace Advocates had urged as a first step that the Task Force to take steps to accept the Kairos document from 2009, a call from Palestinian Christians at that time. The United Church of Canada did not accept this 2009 statement. Although General Council 41 (2012) was considered to be a response. At this time the United Church of Canada did address some aspects of the Kairos document, and approved a limited boycott campaign related to a couple settlement products.
In 1954, at its General Council Meeting 16, the United Church grassroots strongly endorsed United Nations Resolution 194, supporting the right of return for the Palestinian people exiled in 1948. Those gathered from across the country also encouraged their church to ask the Canadian government to urge the United Nations reconsider the 1947 Partition Plan, and that
At the next General Council meeting in 1956, the church voted to say Israel was responsible for 1948, although there were some that insisted for balance that the resolution also include a statement that the Palestinian leadership was to blame for telling their people to leave.
However, very concerning was the resolution at General Council 41 which called for the right of return only if in doing “maintains the demographic integrity of Israel.” This statement was a long way from the United Church of Canada’s stance into the early 1970s (and previous) supporting the full right of return of Palestinians under United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (1948). This statement essentially negated the rest of the resolution and was a shameful response to the Palestinian Kairos 2009 call.
Read the history of the United Church General Council approved resolutions on Palestine since 1948.
The November 2-21 Task Force Report to the 2017 call from Christians in Palestine
Also find below the Resolution made by the Taskforce commissioned by the General Council Executive that will go to General Council 44. General Council runs virtually from February 13 – August 7, 2022.
While this Resolution provides “principles” it does not address the call from the Christians in Palestine. However, there are several Resolutions now that have been submitted by the grassroots of the church that do call specifically for use of the word apartheid, support of BDS, divestment (which the church already approved most recently in 2012 at GC41), and calling the church to urge the Canadian government to support the International Criminal Court process.