Say “Enough” to 50 Years of Occupation | The United Church of Canada

Say “Enough” to 50 Years of Occupation | The United Church of Canada

We are called to unity in action and costly solidarity for a just peace.


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?”

Take Action

Fifty years of occupation is enough. We are called to unity in action and costly solidarity for a just peace.

  1. Mark 50 years of occupation and pray for peace with justice in June.
  2. 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
  3. Share this Take Action on your social media networks. Use the hashtags #UCCan, #50years, #Israel, #Palestine, #SpiritOfPeace.
  4. Participate in a “Come and See” tour of the region. Future opportunities will be posted on the UCC website.

Background

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

Canada should call on Israeli to adhere, without exception, to international law—especially ceasing demolitions and forcible transfers of Palestinian communities such as Susiya and Khan Al Ahmar.

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@international.gc.ca

Peter Kent
The Conservative Party
E-mail: peter.kent@parl.gc.ca

Hélène Laverdière
New Democratic Party
E-mail: helene.laverdiere@parl.gc.ca

Elizabeth May
Green Party of Canada
E-mail: elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca

Luc Thériault
Bloc Québécois
E-mail: luc.theriault@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:

Christie Neufeldt
Program Coordinator, Public Witness
416-231-7680 ext. 4078
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4078
cneufeldt@united-church.ca

For more information, contact:

Patti Talbot
Team Leader, Church in Partnership
416-231-7680 ext. 4018
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4018
ptalbot@united-church.ca

Source: Say “Enough” to 50 Years of Occupation | The United Church of Canada

The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip

The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip

 

Gail Allan gave a presentation in her role as the Coordinator, Ecumenical, Interchurch, and Interfaith Relations for the United Church.

 

She made the following points:

  • there is a movement of inter-faith work that endeavours to present alternative visions which are vital to actively resisting current thinking
  • local interfaith relations are key
  • there are several documents that guide U.C in dialogue
  • g. Mending The World, which commits U.C to do all its work through a multi-faith lens, Bearing Faithful Witness (Christian/Jewish relations), That We May Know Each Other (Christian/Muslim relations), Honouring the Divine in Each Other (Christian/Hindu relations)
  • Several organizations were mentioned as points of connection, dialogue, and inter-faith justice work
  • Gail drew our attention to specific organizations that we might want to keep in touch with who hold events and that would be informative and a way of making contact with inter-faith groups, e.g. National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Noor Centre, Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI), Multi-faith Centre at U of T.
  • Inter-faith work can be seen as concentric circles: local – national – global

 

What Can We Do

During our discussion some of the following ideas were suggested:

  • keep aware of the U.C website “Take Action” section which guides members in contacting politicians regarding issues such as increasing refugee sponsorships and ending the safe third country agreement.
  • Participating in webinars such as the one recently held on Welcoming Refugees and Challenging Islamophobia
  • Be aware of the proposed inter-faith centre in the Honest Ed’s development.
  • Inviting a Muslim speaker from the National Council of Canadian Muslims to give us a kind of Islam 101
  • Importance of informing ourselves through interpersonal dialogue
  • Week by week small actions that we can ask members to do; a kind of weekly mission that we are sent off with at the conclusion of our services e.g. make a phone call, sign petition
  • Start our actions with an exploration of the document That We May Know Each Other
  • Draft letter regarding suspension of safe third country agreement motion modeling letters from other conferences
  • Advertising events we become aware of on our listserve, inviting others to join
  • Introducing ourselves to our Muslim neighbours, e.g the Ismaili worship group in our neighbourhood.

 

Jared agreed to help co-ordinate events and make sure communications were facilitated for TSP.  It was also noted that we should make an effort to reach those who are not on the list serve.

It was also noted that we need to keep the Board of TSP aware of any actions that are undertaken so they can address any concerns that arise.

 

Please note that this a summary of the discussion and apologies in advance for anything missed or mis-stated,

Betty Stone

 

Stories from the Occupied Territories – Jan 29 Global Gossip

Stories from the Occupied Territories – Jan 29 Global Gossip

Join the Middle East Working Group on January 29 in hearing an informal presentation from Zoe Godfrey-Davies, who spent three months living in the occupied Palestinian territories and working as a human rights observer as part of the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment program in 2014 and 2015. Zoe will be sharing stories and photos from her experience.
There will also be light refreshments.