Christianity and the Middle East: Leaders Representing Mainline U.S. Churches Address Israeli-Palestinian Human Rights Concerns

By Strickert, Fred | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May 31, 1999 | Go to article overview

Christianity and the Middle East: Leaders Representing Mainline U.S. Churches Address Israeli-Palestinian Human Rights Concerns


Strickert, Fred, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


CHRISTIANITY AND THE MIDDLE EAST: Leaders Representing Mainline U.S. Churches Address Israeli-Palestinian Human Rights Concerns

In February, some individuals affiliated with the Christian Coalition grabbed headlines when they boycotted the appearance of Yasser Arafat at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC which also featured President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. At the very same time, newspaper editors tucked away on back pages coverage of three major statements from American religious leaders, all supporting a just and lasting peace settlement in Israel and Palestine.

The prominence given the statements representing the "anxious for Armageddon" fringe of evangelical Christians and the relative lack of attention paid to balanced statements by responsible representatives of mainline Christian and other groups is, unfortunately, typical of the media coverage of religious reaction to human rights issues in the Middle East. What the casual reader seldom realizes is that the signatories of such responsible but non-confrontational statements represent the leadership of the major denominations of Middle America.

A LETTER TO CONGRESS

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), speaking for Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, members of the Reformed Church and the United Church of Christ, Quakers, Mennonites, and Unitarians, sent a Feb. 11 letter to all members of the 106th Congress concerning upcoming legislation affecting the Middle East peace process. (The letter can be accessed on the Churches for Middle East Peace Web page . There also is a similar letter from Corinne Whitlatch of Churches for Middle East Peace in "Other People's Mail" on p. 90 of this issue.)

A major section of the letter to Congress-members dealt with congressional fiscal decisions that affect the Middle East. Noting the disproportionate allotment of $5.4 million to the Middle East, out of a total foreign aid budget of $12.8, CMEP encouraged Congress to consider world-wide developmental needs and programs which truly promote peace.

The church leaders complimented Congress on its effort to begin restructuring foreign aid when it balanced an increase in aid to Jordan with decreases for both Israel and Egypt. They expressed disappointment, however, in alterations to the 1999 budget that redirected savings from developmental cuts into increased military assistance for Israel.

The church leaders also expressed concerns about the financial package established at the Wye Conference, calling attention to the disparity between the $1.2 billion figure for Israel while $400 million and $300 million were designated for Palestinians and Jordan respectively. Noting that the Israeli finance minister recently requested $1.2 billion for settlements and bypass roads, the letter reminded its readers that this purpose is clearly at odds with U.S. policy, which restricts U.S. foreign aid from being used in the occupied territories, and that availabillity of such funding leads to more land confiscation and displacement of more Palestinian people.

"We encourage Congress to seek answers as to how the $1.2 billion figure was set and to ask for verification of the need for this very large amount," wrote the church leaders. "The additional aid to Israel should not be provided if Israel does not carry out the withdrawals from the West Bank land as promised."

The letter encouraged continuing and additional aid to the Palestinian people for schools, water and sewer systems, and improvement of the legal system.

Finally, the church leaders reiterated their commitment to self-determination for the Palestinian people, including the probability of a Palestinian state, and to the principle of two peoples and three religions sharing the sacred city of Jerusalem.

SEARCH DOCUMENT

While the letter from Churches for Middle East Peace called for Congress to be prudent and fair in its appropriations, another statement by religious leaders raises the question of whether a complete freeze of funding is in order. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Christianity and the Middle East: Leaders Representing Mainline U.S. Churches Address Israeli-Palestinian Human Rights Concerns
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.