Organizations in the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy send out action alerts monthly, focusing on different issues so that members of Congress hear consistently that their constituents support a just and lasting resolution to the Palestinian and Israeli conflict.
Protests in Gaza are being met with lethal force by the Israeli military. At least 28 Palestinians have been killed and over 1600 wounded by Israeli forces since March 30, according to an April 17 press release from UN human rights experts who said, “’security forces continue to use live ammunition and rubber bullets against the protesters, killing and wounding dozens of mostly unarmed protesters, women, men and children alike.’”
Responding to the protests and the use of force against them, fifteen U.S. churches and Christian agencies upheld the rights of Palestinians and called for accountability for Israel’s use of force in an April 12 statement on “Right of Refugees, Right to Demonstrate Peacefully, Right to Dignity.”
Let Congress know that there are Christians calling for the respect of Palestinian rights and the end to the use of violence by Israeli forces against the protesters in Gaza.
Echo the message of the April 12 statement by asking your elected officials to:
• Call for an end to the use of violence by Israeli forces against the protesters,
• Ensure that US aid isn’t used in ways that contravene established US and international laws,
• Support the rights of refugees, including Palestinian refugees, and
• Insist on an end to the blockade of Gaza
By way of background, the statement by the fifteen U.S. churches and Christian agencies notes,
"Friday, March 30, thousands of Palestinians participated in the first of several weeks of planned nonviolent demonstrations in Gaza near the fence with Israel. These demonstrations are expected to continue until May 15, when Palestinians mark Nakba (“catastrophe”) Day, remembering the 1948 displacement and dispossession of 750,000 Palestinians, and resulting in a Palestinian diaspora and a refugee population that today numbers over five million, including descendants. At the same time Israel will celebrate 70 years since its establishment on May 14, 1948."
"We reject the use of violence by individuals, groups or states." the U.S. churches and Christian agenies say. "In the wake of demonstrations that have resulted in tragedy and death, and anticipating the continuation of Palestinian protests over the coming weeks, we cannot be silent."
They conclude, “In demonstrating, Palestinians have sought to bring the world’s attention to, and to recover, their rights—rights as refugees, to demonstrate, and to live in dignity. They have been met with an immediate and tragic rejection of those rights, but as people of hope, and in the season of Easter, we believe that those rights will ultimately prevail. In this time, we pray fervently, speak clearly, and act diligently in support of peace, justice, and equality.”
Note: Learn more at Gaza Unlocked: Hearing in the Heartland on Saturday, April 21, in Indianapolis or online. This event is organized by the the American Friends Service Committee.