The General Conference of the United Methodist Church has urged all United Methodists to read about the suffering of Israelis and Palestinians and nonviolent ways of ending the conflict by reading the “Kairos Palestine Document according to Resolution #6111 of the 2012 Book of Resolutions. One source of this document can be found at the Palestine/Israel Justice Project site pijp.org/study-guide/ The study guide shown there is based on the Kairos Palestine Document and can be used as a small group study. Contact Gail Chalbi at email@example.com for more information.
Schools run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees opened in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after it secured funding to offset cuts by its main donor, the United States.
The beginning of the school year had been in doubt after the United Nations Relief and Works (UNRWA) said it lacked funds to pay the 22,000 teachers in its schools in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
The Nation State Bill just passed by the Knesset endangers Israeli democracy, legalizes discrimination against 20 percent of Israeli citizens, threatens religious pluralism, and threatens the very future of Israel.
The passage of this bill, a change to Israel’s Basic Laws, comes during a week in which the Knesset also approved laws that attempt to silence human rights defenders, and that discriminate against LGBT Israelis. This week, Prime Minister Netanyahu has also strengthened his alliance with autocrats by praising the Trump-Putin summit, and welcoming Viktor Orban to Israel.
As Palestinians in the West Bank fast from dawn to dusk in scorching heat during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, tens of thousands of people have been affected by a drought that has greatly reduced the flow to their taps.
West Bank and Gaza Strip residents continuously suffer severe water shortages. In the West Bank, not enough water is provided to meet the population’s needs, whereas the main concern in Gaza is the poor quality of available water.
The participants met in Paris on June 3, 2016 to reaffirm their support for a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
They reaffirmed that a negotiated two-state solution is the only way to achieve an enduring peace, with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. They are alarmed that actions on the ground, in particular continued acts of violence and ongoing settlement activity, are dangerously imperiling the prospects for a two-state solution.
The participants underscored that the status quo is not sustainable, and stressed the importance of both sides demonstrating, with policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution in order to rebuild trust and create the conditions for fully ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and resolving all permanent status issues through direct negotiations based on resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), and also recalling relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and highlighting the importance of the implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative.
The participants discussed possible ways in which the international community could help advance the prospects for peace, including by providing meaningful incentives to the parties to make peace. The participants also highlighted the potential for regional peace and security as envisioned by the Arab Peace Initiative.
The participants highlighted the key role of the Quartet and key regional stakeholders. They welcomed the interested countries’ offer to contribute to this effort. They also welcomed France’s offer to coordinate it, and the prospect of convening before the end of the year an international conference.
Dennis W. Frado, Director, Lutheran Office for World Community, ELCA &
Main Representative at UN Headquarters, The Lutheran World Federation
Paris Peace Summit Will Equalize Power Between Israel and Palestine.
This commentary by Saeb Erekat, secretary general of Palestine Liberation Organization, appears in Israeli newspaper Haaretz, June 2, 2016
With the 50th anniversary of Israel’s military and colonial occupation of Palestine coming to a head, we have reached a critical juncture within the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. For over 20 years, bilateral negotiations between Israel and Palestine failed on account of Israeli intransigence over its refusal to recognize Palestinian national rights, plus the continuation and expansion of its settlement enterprise.
In fact, the number of Israeli settlers transferred into occupied Palestine has nearly quadrupled since the beginning of the “peace process,” yet Israel continues to enjoy impunity and is not held accountable. It is now critical to move from an imbalanced bilateral track between an occupied and an occupier refusing to uphold basic principles of international law, to a broader framework whereby the international community assumes its responsibility to implement international law and see the realization of the two-state solution through sustained and effective engagement.
The French Initiative is the flicker of hope Palestine has been waiting for and we are confident that it will provide a clear framework with defined parameters for the resumption of negotiations. The international conference should be viewed as an opportunity to create a negotiating environment in which power is equalized and law and human rights prevail. The conference should not concern itself with how to grant impunity for Israeli violations, but rather with how to respect and uphold the principles of the UN Charter and of peace-loving, law-abiding nations.
Palestine seeks the same rights and responsibilities enjoyed by other states, and any negotiations and permanent status agreement should reflect that. Specifically, the conference must embody the basic principle of sovereign equality, and focus on the implementation and the materialization of Palestinian independence on the ground within a clear framework and timeline. Although a ray of hope, we are under no illusions that this conference will miraculously result in the immediate end of Israel’s settler-colonialism.
Rather, we see this conference as a long-overdue commitment by the international community to compel Israel to accept its responsibility as the occupying force and recognize that the way forward is to implement the two-state solution before it’s too late.
This means that Israel freezes all illegal settlement activity in Palestine, that Palestine must have control over its borders, East Jerusalem is and remains the capital of the Palestinian state, sovereignty is divided along the 1967 border, Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem are reopened and able to operate freely, our refugees scattered worldwide are treated with respect and in accordance with international law and UNGA Resolution 194, and Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons are released.
We support the French Initiative with the aim of securing freedom from belligerent Israeli occupation, and thus independence for the State of Palestine, including its capital East Jerusalem. The solution to our colonial problem is not to reshape Israeli occupation but to end it. Nothing short of full Palestinian sovereignty, with no Israeli interference inside the independent State of Palestine, will bring the just and lasting peace we seek.
Rep. Keith Ellison. Minnesota’s Congressman returned June 4 from a Holy Land visit. He described Palestinian life under Israeli occupation as akin to South Africas apartheid system. Here is excerpt from June 2 report by Ben Norton on Salon.com website
Rep. Keith Ellison shares a photo on Twitter that refers to Israel’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian territories as apartheid. Ellison noted that, while Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the city of Hebron may have windows in their homes that open to segregated streets, they cannot walk or drive down those streets.
In Hebron’s Old City, Israeli settlers often throw rocks, glass, garbage, sewage and dirty diapers from their windows onto Palestinians below them. In response, Arab residents have hung up nets to walk under for safety. This, however, does not stop liquids such as urine from raining down on Palestinians. Ellison, who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has been an outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights for years. He is also the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress, as well as the first black American elected to the House from Minnesota. For decades, Israeli settlers have slowly colonized the occupied West Bank, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Today, more than 600,000 Israeli settlers live in the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and that number grows every year as illegal settlements continue to expand. I
Desmond Tutu, renowned anti-apartheid leader and South African bishop, has said, “I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing in the Holy Land that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under apartheid.” —Ben Norton is a politics staff writer at Salon.