The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because [God] has annointed me
to bring good news to the poor…
to proclaim release to the captives…
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
(Luke 4:18–19 / Isaiah 61:1–2)
Imagine living in your own homeland with no real status. Your movements are controlled by an occupying army, your homes and crops threatened with demolition. Palestinians live under this constant pressure every day, and seek a just peace for a free and abundant future.
June 2017 marks 50 years since the end of the Six-Day War and the beginning of Israeli military occupation in the West Bank. The occupation continues to stifle the aspirations of Palestinians for freedom, dignity, and independence, and to threaten hopes for peace with justice for all people in the region.
In this place where Jesus walked on the earth, walls now separate families, imprisoning those within in a deepening cycle of violence and despair. The occupation has already stolen two generations’ lives, and subsequent generations continue to feel hopelessness and rage.
Luke 4:18–19 describes the year of Jubilee, during which God expects and demands justice to be done. In this Jubilee year, the prophetic voice of the church must not be weaker, but rather stronger. United Church partner Kairos Palestine asks us: “Are you able to help us get our freedom back, for this is the only way you can help the two peoples attain justice, peace, security and love?”
Fifty years of occupation is enough. We are called to unity in action and costly solidarity for a just peace.
- Mark 50 years of occupation and pray for peace with justice in June. A bulletin insert with a prayer is available under Downloads, below. More worship resources on related themes are available in the Worship section.
- Write to The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and your member of Parliament. Ask that the Canadian government
- live out its stated policy on Palestine and Israel, including pressuring the Israeli government to cease all settlement activity
- intensify diplomatic efforts for a just and lasting peace based on UN resolutions and international law
A sample letter is available under Downloads, below.
- Share this Take Action on your social media networks. Use the hashtags #UCCan, #50years, #Israel, #Palestine, #SpiritOfPeace.
- Participate in a “Come and See” tour of the region. Future opportunities will be posted on this website.
- Share your prayer for just peace in the Holy Land. The World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling on Christians to join in prayer for just peace in the region on June 5—the day that marks 50 years since the beginning of the Six-Day War. You can share your prayer on social media (#SpiritOfPeace) or e-mail it to the WCC.
The United Church of Canada has a long history of working with others to seek peace with justice in Israel and Palestine. This work is rooted in the gospel mandate to be peacemakers and in response to the calls of Palestinian and Israeli partners. Violent acts such as the killing of both Palestinian and Israeli civilians, use of excessive force by Israeli police and army against protesters, extrajudicial killings, and collective punishment are obstacles to a just and lasting peace.
The United Church continues to ask the federal government to live out its stated policy on Palestine and Israel, including recognizing
- the illegality of Israeli settlements
- violations posed by the route of the Separation Wall
- the importance of a negotiated resolution to the conflict
For more information about current activities, see Unsettling Goods: Choose Peace in Palestine and Israel.
Send your letters and e-mails to:
The Hon. Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
E-mail: chrystia.freeland [at] international.gc.ca
The Conservative Party
E-mail: peter.kent [at] parl.gc.ca
New Democratic Party
E-mail: helene.laverdiere [at] parl.gc.ca
Green Party of Canada
E-mail: elizabeth.may [at] parl.gc.ca
E-mail: luc.theriault [at] parl.gc.ca
Your member of Parliament—you can find your MP’s email or postal address by entering your postal code on the Parliament of Canada website.
Send copies of your letters and e-mails to:
For more information, contact: