Toronto: The United Church of Canada today released the report of its Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy. The report will be considered by the denomination's 41st General Council, which meets in Ottawa, August 11–18, 2012. Until that time the working group's report is not policy of the church, and its proposals are solely recommendations.
The 26-page report was completed following extensive consultation and discussion, including a 12-day visit to the region in February 2011. During that visit the working group met with representatives of Palestinian, Israeli, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities in Israel and the West Bank.
Former United Church Moderator, the Very Rev. David Giuliano, chaired the three-member working group. He says the working group believes that the dignity of all peoples in the region must be at the heart of the policy directions set out in the report.
“Without dignity for all the people of the land, and for the land itself, justice that leads to peace is not possible,” says Giuliano.
Giuliano says the working group listened carefully to many points of view in the conflict but did not shy away from arriving at its own conclusions.
“Simply put, Israel is maintaining a harsh occupation that must end so peace can emerge. The occupation is damaging both Palestinians and Israelis. The occupation is being implemented by a democratic country and sustained and supported by Western governments, including Canada's,” says the report.
The working group also
“The future of Israel and of Palestine are intimately intertwined,” says Giuliano. “Until Palestinian people experience justice, peace, and freedom of movement, Israel will be unable to fully claim its place among democratic nations.”
Video clips of the three members of the working group talking about the report are also available on the United Church's YouTube channel.
A more detailed version of this news release is also available.
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