Summary of recent Presbyterian (PC(USA)) actions on Israel/Palestine Issues
In 2010, the 219th GA actions reaffirming historical PC(USA)
positions on Israel-Palestine, called for:
Immediate cessation of all violence, whether perpetrated by Israelis or Palestinians
End of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and diversion of water resources
Immediate freeze both on establishment or expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem
Relocation by Israel of Separation Barrier to ’67 border
Withholding of US government aid to state of Israel as long as Israel persists in creating new settlements
Continuing corporate engagement through Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) with companies profiting from sale/use of their products for non-peaceful purposes and/or violation of human rights
A shared status for Jerusalem
Equal rights for Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel
Cessation of systematic violation of human rights by any party, specifically, practices of admin. detention, collective punishment, torture of prisoners and suspects, home demolitions and evictions, and deportation of dissidents
Commended for study the Kairos Palestine document (“A Moment of Truth”), endorsing document’s emphases on hope for liberation, nonviolence, love of enemy, and reconciliation.
2010 - 219th General Assembly - Minneapolis, MN
Affirmed Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign nation within secure and internationally recognized borders in accordance with United Nations resolutions.
Stated that the Israeli occupation leads to the denial of human rights for Palestinians and is a violation of international laws.
Acknowledged with great concern the Israeli settlements with a current population of 285,000 in the West Bank and 198,700 in East Jerusalem.
Noted that the growth of the number of settlements and settlers is perceived by many as an attempt by Israel to prevent the establishment of an economically viable Palestinian State.
Acknowledged the numerous “Israeli-only” bypass roads that carve up the Palestinian homeland and connect one settlement to another.
Expressed concern that these roads have a devastating effect on the ability of Palestinians to live out a normal life – to visit family, farm, family property, to seek medical treatment, to secure employment, and to travel freely in one’s own country.
Acknowledged that three quarters of the separation wall/barrier is inside the West Bank rather than on the 1967 internationally recognized border between Israel and Palestine.
Noted that the location of the separation wall/barrier is in violation of international law, is perceived as an impediment to peace, and perceived as an effort to annex Palestinian land and water resources.
Stated that it is estimated that 24,145 Palestinian homes have been demolished in the West Bank since 1967.
Stated the overwhelming consensus of the committee was that “Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is a sin against God and other fellow human beings.”
2012 - 220th General Assembly - Pittsburgh, PA
Called for the boycott of ALL Israeli products coming from the occupied Palestinian Territories, including AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories Beauty Products, and all date products of Hadiklaim, The Israel Date Growers Co-Operative Ltd, often marked by the brand names King Solomon Dates and Jordan River Dates.
Directed the Stated Clerk to communicate this action to all other PC(USA) councils and entities and invite and strongly encourage those groups and organizations to endorse this boycott until significant progress toward Palestinian rights and independence can be reported to the General Assembly or General Assembly Mission Agency Board.
After 8 years of corporate engagement, the MRTI report recommended divestment from 3 American companies profiting from the Occupation. It was approved in Committee but the Minority Report was substitued for the Main Motion in Plenary by two votes (out of 666 total). The Minority Report called for investing in Palestine rather than divesting from the three American (not Israeli) companies that profit from nonpeaceful pursuits. The Presbyterian Foundation was instructed to find projects to invest in. [MRTI is the Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee of the PC(USA) which does corporate engagement with corporations.]
2014 - 221st General Assembly - Detroit, MI
Instructed the Presbyterian Foundation and Board of Pensions of the PC(USA) to divest from Caterpillar, Inc., Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions, in accord with our church’s decades-long socially responsible investment (SRI) history; and not to reinvest in these companies until MRTI, the Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee of the PC(USA), is fully satisfied that product sales/services by these companies are no longer in conflict with our church investment policy.
For full language see: bitly.com/GA2014DivestLanguage
Reaffirmed the commitment of the PC(USA) to the human rights of all children, particularly the children of Palestine and Israel.
Reaffirmed the support of the PC(USA) for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and affirms its support for the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement on children in armed conflict.
Directed the Presbyterian Mission Agency to engage in advocacy and public witness for the human rights of children in Palestine and Israel in relation to widespread and systematic patterns of ill-treatment and torture within the Israeli military detention system.
2016 - 222nd General Assembly - Portland, OR
After years of educating Presbyterians about what is really happening in Palestine, the measures passed by the 222nd General Assembly took our pursuit of justice to the next level. The 222nd Assembly did the following:
Advocated for the Safety and Well-being of Children of Palestine and Israel
Upheld the Peoples and Partners in the Middle East and in the U.S.
Called for Continuing Dialogue and Relationship with RE/MAX Corporation as the PC(USA) calls upon the company to cease selling property in West Bank settlements.
Passed the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy report entitled: For Human Values in the Absence of a Just Peace
Passed the overture to Prayerfully Study the Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
Affirmed Nonviolent Means of Resistance Against Human Oppression
Defeated an attempt to sever PC(USA) ties with the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation
2018 - 223rd General Assembly - St. Louis, MO
Overwhelmingly opposed federal and state laws designed to suppress Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns in support of Palestinian human rights. the GA/PC(USA) opposes the muzzling of debate and discussion about Israel’s illegal military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Expressed “profound grief and sorrow” for the families of Palestinians killed during the protests, and prayers for recovery for those injured. The Assembly further deplored the killing of more than twenty Palestinian medics, and renewed the call of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for an end to decade-old Israeli blockade of Gaza, which has been condemned by the UN and human rights organizations as a form of collective punishment.
Urged RE/MAX, LLC to do “everything within its legal and moral power” to stop facilitating the sale and rental of properties in Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law and longstanding official US policy. The action urged RE/MAX to no longer refer any clients to agents or brokers involved in the sale or rental of properties in the occupied areas.
Called for the use of diplomatic tools by the government of the United States to bring Israel into full compliance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by granting full equality to its citizens who are Palestinian, by “changing its laws, policies, and practices that favor its Jewish citizens and discriminate against its Christian and Muslim citizens and other ethnic minorities.”