|The Conference representatives to the United Church General Council Executive which will be meeting this weekend received the following letter. It was also sent to the Conference Secretaries for information. The Conference Executive Secretaries are corresponding members. The GCE meets this weekend so it is a short time period but if you have the opportunity, please consider sending your Conference reps a short email to encourage them to give prayerful consideration to the request in the letter.
Communication Coordinator November 18, 2015
November 5, 2015
We, as the Co-ordinating Team of UNJPPI are writing to inform you of the current situation in Palestine and Israel from some of our sources and to encourage the Executive to move ahead immediately.
Here are suggestions from UNJPPI for your action at this meeting of GCE.
UNJPPI is ready and eager to support this work. Enough people have been killed.
“On my very first tour to Israel/Palestine in 2009 I met Hashem Azzeh. He is the tall courtly man in the moustache in this picture, showing our group around Hebron. He lived in a house that had been completely surrounded by immigrant Jewish settlers, many of them American, speaking with Brooklyn accents. They were protected by Israeli soldiers. He showed us how the settlers were trying to force him to leave, including attacking his children, cutting his olive trees and shooting holes in his water tanks.
He was a medical doctor, patient but determined. There was not a hint of racism about him. But he was not going to allow settlers to expel him from his family home despite incredible pressures.”
Yesterday Peter received an email saying that the IDF has finally killed him. The interview with him in this short video gives a hint as to what the Palestinians are up against and how evil racism can be. http://muftah.org/idf-kills-hebron-peace-activist-hashem-azzeh/#.Vif2PTZdGM8
“Many of the people who show us around in Israel/Palestine are risking their lives to talk to us. I never cease to be impressed with their courage.
Had he been an Israeli medical doctor killed by Palestinians, no doubt it would be on the front pages of every paper in Canada. As it turns out, it did not even merit a mention in the Ottawa Citizen. Palestinian lives (like black lives) don’t seem to matter very much.”
“Before 1948, there was no Israel. Israel was built on the rubble of my grandparents’ house. Israelis came to the land by ships and planes and ethnically cleansed my people from their villages and cities so they could build a state they called Israel. “How can you say we have to take lessons from a country like this?” I demanded. He replied, “Israel doesn’t kill innocent people. Israel kills terrorists.” I believe there are people in this world who know little and are not familiar with the facts, and there are others who know the facts yet manipulate and lie about them. There also are those who we won’t forget and can’t forgive. I raised my voice so everybody could hear me. “I’m from Palestine and my cousin was killed in the last war on Gaza. Samar was 29 years old and was murdered with her two sons and 8-month-old, unborn child. They were killed in their home by an air strike, while they were preparing food to break their fast. You consider them terrorists? I volunteered at the hospital during the 51-day onslaught last year and I didn’t see one single resistance fighter injured or dead. All I saw were civilians, mainly women and children. I saw my cousin with her children in one big black bag on the ground among other burned or mangled bodies. – See more at: http://wearenotnumbers.org/home/Story/114#sthash.Kebj6V9d.dpuf-“
According to the latest data released by the UN on 23 October 2015, since the start of the recent upsurge in violence in Palestine/Israel (29 September to 19 October), 38 Palestinians and 7 Israelis have been killed, representing a ratio of 5:1. During the same period, 5,075 Palestinians and 41 Israelis have been injured, representing a ratio of 124:1.
During the same period WCLAC has documented 7 cases involving settler violence and night raids conducted by the Israeli military on Palestinian homes in the West Bank. What this evidence discloses is that in spite of recent media attention highlighting a recent upsurge in violence, night raids and settler violence are continuing much as before, suggesting that it is only when Israelis experience the effects of the occupation that the situation is worthy of significant attention.
How can we (UNJPPI and General Executive of United Church of Canada) faithfully respond to our partners in Palestine and Israel?
Jan McIntyre and Dawn Waring, returned Ecumenical Accompaniers, both currently in Palestine suggest:
Peter Larson makes explicit some very concrete actions which could be taken now to engage various ministers in the new government. http://canadatalksisraelpalestine.ca/2015/10/24/lets-regain-a-reputation-for-fairness-with-respect-to-israelpalestine-some-suggestions-for-prime-minister-elect-trudeau.
This is a KAIROS moment and we plead with you to give this the immediate attention that is needed.
We pray that you will have a fruitful meeting and that you will direct staff to begin this work immediately. UNJPPI is waiting to be helpful in any ways within our capacity.