Fifty years on...
A call for liberty and justice for all
On June 5, 2017 the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza turned 50. This is not an occasion for celebration but a mark of shame on all who have enabled this half-century of subjugation and oppression.
The Israel / Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is committed to shining al light on this ever-worsening situation which currently by default, is one state, with apartheid laws separating two peoples.
Since the Six Day War in 1967, Israel has, through successive governments of every ideological stripe, continually expanded and deepened the systems of injustice, which keep one people subject to another. As Christians, we are committed to the breaking down of barriers between peoples, the deepening of solidarity based on our shared dignity as children of God, and the support of those for whom basic rights have been denied.
Israel’s official policy is one of “hafrada,” Hebrew for “separation” or “segregation,” which is also the definition of “apartheid.” History has shown that separation does not lead to peace. We believe that there will only be peace for all in the region when there is justice for all in the region. As Americans, we are committed to equal justice for all peoples, regardless of ethnicity or creed.
Currently, in the defacto “one state” that Israel controls, such equal justice seems a long way away. In the illegally Occupied Palestinian Territories, since the Six Day War, the government of Israel has:
- Demolished over 48,000 homes and related structures in the West Bank and Gaza;
- Confiscated over 586,000 acres of Palestinian land in the West Bank;
- Created 300,000 Palestinian refugees;
- Colonized the West Bank with over 600,000 Jewish settlers in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention;
- Enacted over 50 laws that discriminate against Israel’s Arab minority;
- Established an apartheid legal system with civil courts for Jewish settlers and separate military courts for 4.5 million Palestinians, including indefinite detention without trial and a conviction rate of over 99%.
Much of the infrastructure for this systematized oppression is funded by United States taxpayers. The United States provides more military aid to Israel than to any other nation, and has been remiss in holding Israel accountable for its human rights violations. As American citizens, we own this occupation. It is past time that we return it as damaged goods.
We urge you to join with us, along with our sisters and brothers from many nations and religious traditions, to call for and work for equal rights for all, in all the land that is under the control of Israel. The time is now. The plight is urgent. The call is our moral obligation.