Toward Peace and Justice in the Middle East a 2002 Unitarian Universalist Association Action of Immediate Witness

Article excerpt

Because our Unitarian Universalist principles call us to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person, justice and equity in human relations, and the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; and

Whereas the Reverend William Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, has spoken out on the Middle East conflict in a pastoral letter of March 27, 2002, calling for "our congregations to educate themselves on [the] issues and to engage in honest conversation";

Whereas in 1982 the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly adopted a General Resolution encouraging a comprehensive peace settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calling on all parties to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the others;

Whereas Unitarian Universalists have supported and affirmed the rule of law and the positive role of the United Nations in building a world community;

Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 emphasizes "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace," and other United Nations resolutions have reaffirmed Israel as the "occupying power" bound by the Fourth Geneva Convention, "which is applicable to all the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967";

Whereas the United States government is responsible for a significant portion of arms sales to this overarmed region, thus furthering its instability;

Whereas the Middle East situation has been deteriorating with increased violence on both sides and increased military oppression;

Whereas United States diplomacy has not led to peace or security for the region; and

Whereas the World Conference of Religions for Peace, an organization cofounded by the Unitarian Universalist Association, has responded to requests from the prime minister of Israel and the president of the Palestinian Authority by calling for a "religiously sanctioned cease-fire" and recognition of Israel and Palestine as states with secure, internationally recognized borders;

Therefore, be it resolved that the 2002 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association urges the following principles as a basis for action by the governments of the United States and Canada:

* freedom from occupation and equal rights for all, including the right to exist in peace and security

* opposition to Israeli settlements, land confiscation, house demolitions, and other violations of international law

* opposition to all attacks on civilians, whether by suicide bombers, F-16 or helicopter gunships, or any other means

* support for a central United Nations role in efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace. …