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

United Church Responds to Khadr Apology | The United Church of Canada

United Church Responds to Khadr Apology | The United Church of Canada

The United Church respects the decision of the federal government to apologize to Omar Khadr.

The United Church of Canada respects the decision of the federal government to apologize to Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, for its role in his ordeal that began with his detention by the United States in Afghanistan.

Since 2008, the United Church has written to the federal government on several occasions regarding the miscarriage of justice in the treatment of Omar Khadr, who was 15 years old when he was detained and considered a child soldier under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Canada is a signatory. At that time, the church requested that an independent review of the Canadian government’s involvement in Khadr’s detention be implemented.

In a unanimous ruling in 2010, the Supreme Court found Khadr’s human rights were being violated at Guantanamo Bay:

“The deprivation of [Khadr’s] right to liberty and security of the person is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice,” the court ruled.

“The interrogation of a youth detained without access to counsel, to elicit statements about serious criminal charges while knowing that the youth had been subjected to sleep deprivation and while knowing that the fruits of the interrogations would be shared with the prosecutors, offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.”

There is much brokenness in this story. However, as followers of Christ, we find our hope in the power of restorative justice to mend deep divisions between individuals, peoples, and nations.

Source: United Church Responds to Khadr Apology | The United Church of Canada