IPMN Calls Out the Sham that is the US “Peace Plan”
[See also: PC(USA) Stated Clerk's Statement here.]
January 30, 2020 —The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) denounces the deceitful US “peace plan” and stands with those seeking justice for all in Israel and Palestine.
There should be no surprise at the injustice of what has been proclaimed the “ultimate peace plan” for Palestine and Israel. For those who have paid attention, this is nothing new; it is simply the same old offer to share an ever-shrinking piece of power and opportunity, to a Palestinian community decimated already by ethnic cleansing. The plan is a house that the US has helped build over the last 50 years of Israeli military occupation.
Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Group confirms in the New York Times that the US Plan is “the natural culmination of decades of American policy”:
Mr. Trump’s plan has many severe faults: It prioritizes Jewish interests over Palestinian ones. It rewards and even incentivizes settlements and further dispossession of the Palestinians. But none of these qualities represent a fundamental break from the past. The Trump plan merely puts the finishing touches on a house that American lawmakers, Republican and Democrat alike, spent dozens of years helping to build. During the last several decades, as Israel slowly took over the West Bank, putting more than 600,000 settlers in occupied territory, the United States provided Israel with diplomatic backing, vetoes in the United Nations Security Council, pressure on international courts and investigative bodies not to pursue Israel, and billions of dollars in annual aid.
It is a patriarchal attitude which holds that those who win, those who have the power, get to decide what is left for those who have no clout, and even then, that those people should be grateful to have any remainders. This attitude pays no attention to the facts on the ground and more importantly, the people whose homes, families, neighborhoods and entire culture are at risk of being annihilated.
As Christians we are ashamed of the support for this “deal” cooked up by Christian Zionists, who if they see Palestinians at all, see them as a means to an abusive end of a twisted theology: they believe that once all the biblical land of Israel is in Jewish hands, the Messiah will return, but that Jews will have to convert to Christianity or be eternally damned. We condemn this abhorrent triumphalism which leads ultimately to another holocaust of the Jewish people.
As Presbyterians, we understand what it means to be in community, to enter into dialogue and allow the Spirit to provide discernment, and certainly to allow all parties to speak and be heard. We know that this is the way to do justice for peace. As Presbyterians we know process IS theology, and that without inclusion and fairness the process is a sham. Justice does not come easily; it requires the presence of all voices at the table and attentiveness to the heart of each person.
This so-called deal of the century has no legs. It will get nowhere except to provide an excuse for politicians to proceed along a fallacious trajectory and blame the Palestinian lack of commitment, believing that peace on American terms can be attained with one side completely absent from the planning.
Indeed, what we heard from the White House this week takes advantage of those who are in a position with fewer diminishing options. Were this plan to be carried out, it would cement the apartheid system that already exists in Israel/Palestine.
We as people of conscience must be the wrench in the works that prevents the machinery of obliteration. Our task is to continue to speak of the imbalance of this specious plan and all plans of the past, which have been dishonestly tossed at our Palestinian sisters and brothers
We agree with Adalah Justice Project’s Izzy Mustafa who speaks from his Palestinian experience saying, “We refuse the normalization of Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and Israel’s ongoing human rights violations. We refuse to concede on the occupier’s terms. We will continue this struggle and let the world know that Palestinians will remain on our land -- from the river to the sea.”
Our task is to make sure that the Palestinian experience is not denied and that they have a voice; that we listen, and the world listens. Our network will continue to work together, with other similar justice communities, to call for freedom and equal rights for all peoples concerned.
We pray and seek God’s guidance as we continue to move forward without hindrance by anyone’s political gain or colonial aspirations. May it be so.
Top: Shrinking Palestine/Expanding Israel. More info here: VisualizingPalestine.org
Middle: Non-violent protestors in Gaza. Protestors have been calling for their right of return (guaranteed under international law) at regular Friday protests. Like thousands of others, they are victims of Israeli snipers who shoot at protestors' limbs to incapacitate but not rack up numbers of victims who died. Credit: John Anderson, 2019
Bottom: See Us, Hear Us. for more information, see freedomfuture.org