Mission Network Praises Presbyterian Call to Withdraw Military Aid to Israel
Supports Palestinian Solidarity
MINNEAPOLIS, July 9--The 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) today approved a comprehensive report on Israel/Palestine, and other resolutions calling for the United States to withdraw military aid to Israel until it follows U.S. foreign assistance law and to embrace the United Nations Goldstone report.
The Middle East Study Committee Report is the first official statement of the PC (USA) on conditions in Palestine.
Carol Hylkema, Moderator of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) from the Presbytery of Detroit said, “This Assembly is the first time the voice of Palestinian Presbyterians, as well as Middle Eastern Christians, was given an intentional hearing within the process of deliberation.”
The GA also called upon the U.S. government to withdraw military assistance from the nation of Israel until such time that Israel complies with U.S. law in regard to using military equipment for the occupation of the Palestinian territories.
In addition, the General assembly called upon the U.S. government to embrace the U.N. Goldstone report regarding Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, which documents human rights violations committed by all parties.
The IPMN was disappointed that the General Assembly did not set a deadline for divestment from Caterpillar, Inc., which provides the Israeli Defense Forces with machinery to sustain the occupation of Palestine. The network leadership was pleased, however, to see that the GA, in two separate measures, moved to denounce Caterpillar’s profiting from such activity.
The Middle East Study Committee Report includes all the church’s historic policies from 1948 to the present, as well as the plea from the Kairos Palestine: Moment of Truth document (2009) for solidarity from the leaders of every Palestinian Christian communion. The study report has not only been heard by the church’s highest governing body, but has now been commended to every Presbyterian congregation for use and study.
Passing the report in plenary required a consensus of Presbyterians with concerns about Israel/Palestine who do not necessarily agree with each other and yet understood that bringing security to Israel requires justice for Palestine.
The Reverend Will McGarvey, vice-moderator of the IPMN from the Presbytery of San Francisco said, “The Presbyterian Church is the first religious body to consider whether the policies of Israel meet the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, ratified by the U.N. in 1973.” In May 2010, the GAMC (the elected body that implements GA mandates) stated that the apartheid proposal “accurately describes many of the current policies, actions and laws of the Israeli government and their impact on Palestinians.” McGarvey continued, “While the apartheid overture gained a full hearing in the committee, the assembly was not ready to apply the term in order to maintain dialogue with the American Jewish community.”
Established by action of the 2004 General Assembly, the Israel/Palestine Mission Network encourages congregations and presbytery mission committees, task groups and other entities toward specific mission goals that will create currents of wider and deeper involvement with Israel/Palestine.