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.
Recent violence between Gaza and Israel is a tragic indicator of the need for a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Sadly, however, U.S. policy is working against such an outcome.
In a November 14 ecumenical statement, 16 U.S. Christian leaders, including the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, outline developments in U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine since the beginning of the Trump Administration, noting their negative impact on Palestinians and the prospects for peace for Israel and Palestine. The statement was sent to all members of Congress and to the Trump administration.
These Christian leaders lament the current context saying, “Forty years ago, the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel were signed and 25 years ago, the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were signed. For many, these two events offered hope of movement towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Israelis, Palestinians, and other neighboring countries. While we recognize these anniversaries, the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for most of the inhabitants is one of shattered hopes.”
The leaders note detrimental shifts in U.S. positions on Israeli settlements, Jerusalem, and Palestinian refugees, and they outline measures taken against Palestinians by the Trump administration including cuts to funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and cuts to other Palestinian aid. They state, “While President Trump’s administration is not the first to show its favoritism of Israelis over Palestinians, we are deeply troubled by its attempt to pursue a sweeping and coordinated set of policies designed to punish Palestinians and take away their human rights, dignity, and hope. By promoting these policies, the Trump administration makes it harder for peace to be realized and increases the chance that there will be new violence.”
The statement includes a call to people of faith to support human rights for Palestinians and Israelis and urges the Trump administration to restore humanitarian aid to Palestinians and “to pursue engagement in honest, credible, and serious efforts with Palestinians, Israelis, regional parties, and the international community, to seek a just resolution to the conflict.”
Bring to their attention this important statement from U.S. Christian leaders. Urge them to support constructive policy that respects the needs and rights of both Palestinians and Israelis.