Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Presbyterian General Assembly's Middle East Resolution

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Presbyterian General Assembly's Middle East Resolution

Article excerpt

Full text of Peacemaking and International Relations Resolutions pertaining to the Middle East and adopted at the 202nd General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church, held June 1990 in Salt Lake City, UT

Whereas the 1974 General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church and the 1984, 1987, 1988, and 1989 General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church (USA) have affirmed that "the right and power of Palestinian people to self-determination by political expression [based] upon full civil liberties for all [people], should be recognized by the parties in the Middle East and by the international community..." (Minutes, 1984, Part I, p. 338; 1987, Part I, p. 418 in "A Theological Understanding of Christians and Jews"); and

Whereas, in the same documents, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has affirmed that "the right and power of Jewish people to self-determination by political expression in the State of Israel, based upon full civil liberties for all, should be recognized by the parties in the Middle East and by the international community;" and

Whereas, the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestine National Council have declared willingness to live in an independent state in peace alongside the state of Israel and have denounced terrorism in statements by the Palestinian National Council, Nov. 12-15, 1988; and by Yasser Arafat speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, Geneva, Switzerland, on Dec. 14, 1988; and

Whereas, indications are that the Palestinian people have a clear desire for autonomy that includes an independent state on the West Bank and Gaza; and

Whereas, the state of Israel has refused to recognize the right of the Palestinians to choose their own representatives; and

Whereas, the state of Israel continues to block the free and democratic choices of the Palestinians by military occupation, administrative detention (8,500 as of Dec. 8, 1989), and deportation; and

Whereas, the state of Israel continues to respond to the Intifada with repressive actions such as the killing of Palestinians (823 as of Dec. 8, 1989), the demolition of houses (1,225 as of Dec. 8, 1989), uprooting trees (77,698 as of Dec. 8, 1989), forced curfews, and armed military patrols; and

Whereas Palestinian violence against other Palestinians is apparently on the increase; and

Whereas, there is a legitimate fear on the part of many Israelis of annihilation by armed Arab aggression and acts of violence against Israeli citizens; and

Whereas, as Palestinian universities and colleges were closed by the Israeli Defense Forces subsequent to the start of the uprising, and study and makeup exams in alternative locations were prohibited, and the increase of military restrictions on education at all levels subsequent to the beginning of the Intifada was unprecedented; and

Whereas, the closures of primary and secondary schools violate several international laws, including: the "Right to Education" section of the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949 for the Protection of Civilian Persons in the Time of War; the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural rights; and

Whereas, the United States continues to support the state of Israel monetarily with grants in excess of $3 billion a year (more than $8.2 million per day); and

Whereas, the church needs to continue to increase its awareness of the complex dynamics of the situation and affirm all peoples involved; and

Whereas, the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to be peacemakers;

Therefore, be it Resolved That the 202nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) 1990 reaffirm the position taken at the 196th General Assembly (1984) and subsequent assemblies regarding the Israeli-Palestinian situation, and

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