By Leslie Scanlon, The Presbyterian Outlook.
While the door to a viable Palestinian state is “closing rapidly, if it is still open at all,” the Presbyterian Church (USA) should support efforts for a political arrangement that accords with its values, including but not limited to a two-state solution and a Jerusalem where Jews, Muslims and Christians have access to sites considered holy in their faiths.
That’s part of the findings in a 56-page report just released by the Study Team on Prospects for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine. The team’s report and recommendations will go before the 2016 General Assembly, which will meet in Portland in June.
The 2014 General Assembly instructed the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy to review the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s support for the “two-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The new report fulfills that mandate.
The new report, “Israel-Palestine: For Human Values in the Absence of a Just Peace,” says the PCUSA has clung for years to the international consensus favoring separate states for Israelis and Palestinians, with a shared Jerusalem. During that time, it says, Israel’s “trajectory of continued settlements and brutal occupation” has made that goal “difficult if not impossible” to achieve.
“De facto annexation, land confiscation, and government subsidized settlement growth have increased” since the signing in 1993 of the first Oslo Accord, which was supposed to chart the path to peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the report says. It says the “systematic violation of Palestinian rights and democratic values” has eroded Israel’s moral legitimacy.
Read the report — Israel-Palestine: For Human Values in the Absence of a Just Peace