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IPMN supports upgrading Palestine status at UN

IPMN supports upgrading Palestine status at United Nations

November 28, 2012 - The Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) strongly supports the position of the denomination concerning the impending vote at the United Nations to upgrade the status of Palestine to an Observer State. The PC (USA) has encouraged world governments to stand with Palestine and recognize their right to self-determination. The IPMN believes that this recognition of Palestine is a vital step towards peace in the Holy Land.

In the past, both the United States and Israel have strongly opposed the move on recognition of Palestine as a state through the General Assembly of the United Nations.  They have argued that the status of Palestine can only be determined by direct negotiation between Israel and Palestine.  The United States, continuing this stance, has urged the Palestinian Authority not to go forward with a resolution leading to recognition at this time, saying that more time is needed to work out an agreement.

Given the intransigence of the governments of both the United States and Israel on this question, and the failure of last year’s bid through the UN Security Council for full membership, it is not hard to understand why the Palestinian Authority and its president Mahmoud Abbas have decided to move forward with their plans to initiate a vote in the United Nations General Assembly on November 29.

The IPMN urges the government of the United States to support the upgrade of the status of Palestine at the UN. Failing this, we call on the government of the United States to refrain from abusing its power and pressuring other member states to vote against this bid. The United States should allow the democratic process of the UN General Assembly to move forward in a decent and orderly fashion.

The IPMN is particularly concerned by recent indications that the government of Israel is prepared to punish the Palestinian Authority if this vote goes forward.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly has already put in place the machinery for such punishments including a freeze on tax revenues that Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority, the announcement of numerous new housing units in the West Bank settlements, and the approval of sections of the Levy Report that recommended legalizing and easing restrictions on construction in the West Bank.

Those in the U.S. and Israel who want security for Israel should welcome this vote. IPMN believes that security goes hand-in-hand for Israelis and Palestinians alike. We pray in the hope that the United States will not support retaliatory measures against the Palestinian Authority for asserting their right to self determination and will not retaliate against the UN body for a democratic process that it has needed and used concerning other conflict areas in the world.

Peace in the Middle East demands courageous action and innovative thinking on all sides of the conflict.  Recognition of Palestine is a step forward in the process.  Retaliation against the Palestinian Authority is a step backward.

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