The Israel/Palestine Conflict
an index of reports
April '02 through 2006
For reports added in 2010 >>
For reports and links
Items archived from 2006 >>
Reports from 2005
are now archived.
For archives from September through
December, 2004 >>
July and August, 2004 >>
|Faith-based responses to the new conflict in Israel,
Palestine, and Lebanon [7-19-06]
We offer here a few comments and
analyses of the current crisis in the Middle East, reflecting a variety of
viewpoints and faith traditions.
If you want to suggest other statements, or share you own
views, we'll be happy to hear from you, and post them here.
Just send us
|Items posted so far:
Clifton Kirkpatrick urges Bush to press Middle East peace
'Spiral of violence' threatens all-out
regional war, Kirkpatrick says
National Council of Churches
says Mideast violence is futile,
urges nonviolent solution, prayers and advocacy
Jewish Voice for Peace offers seven
"talking points" on the Mid-East crisis
Michael Lerner: "End the Suffering in the Middle
Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of
Tikkun Magazine and a long-time advocate for peace in the Middle East
(including peaceful initiatives from Israel) has posted a lengthy and
thoughtful analysis of the complexities of the current military struggles,
along with suggestions for action on the part of all parties involved.
on divestment: " Our policy in the Middle East is why we are
in this war."
Former Israeli Minister of Education asserts:
There is apartheid in Israel
Shulamit Aloni, the Israeli Prize laureate who once served
as Minister of Education under Yitzhak Rabin, wrote an article for Yediot
Acharonot, Israel's largest circulating newspaper, in which he describes
a new decree banning the conveyance of Palestinians in Israeli vehicles.
Such a blatant violation of the right to travel joins the long list of human
rights violations carried out by Israel in the Occupied Territories. It's
one more proof, he says, that Jewish attacks on Jimmy Carter’s recent book
are unjustified, since apartheid is in fact being imposed by Israel on the
He continues: "Apartheid is defined [in the International
Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, to
which Israel is a signatory] as an international crime that among other
things includes using different legal instruments to rule over different
racial groups, thus depriving people of their human rights. Isn't freedom of
travel one of these rights?"
Read the article, as posted by Tikkun >>
A Jewish professor
of political science writes in support of divestment
Commissioners preparing for the coming General Assembly have received great
heaps of letters and other communications from people and groups wanting
them to hear their point of view. And there may be just a few among those
commissioners who have not quite kept up with the paper flood.
But one letter in the flood is worth reading,
whether you’re a commissioner or not.
Norman G. Finkelstein, who teaches political
science at DePaul University in Chicago, has long paid attention to the
Israel-Palestine conflict, and has worked for lasting peace between the two
His letter reflects both his experience and
his concerns, and explains why he supports the Presbyterian study of the
possibility of what he rightly calls "a phased, selective divestment from
companies profiting from Israel's occupation."
Nukes in the Middle East?
Well, Israel does have them.
Witherspooner Dr. Arch Taylor sends this note:
I have been trying to call attention to the fact that Israel possesses
nuclear weapons of mass destruction as an important factor in the present
international expression of concern about Iran. Nobody seems willing to
listen. People in general don't know this truth about Israel, and the
major media aren't interested in getting the word out. I am currently
trying to get the local newspaper stirred up about it. Please do your
In peace, for peace,
Taylor refers to
an article by
Malcolm Lagauche in Uruknet, a website devoted to providing "information
from occupied Iraq"
Federation of American Scientists provides another, perhaps more
objective, analysis of Israel’s development of a significant nuclear
Rachel Corrie -- to be
A New York theater is pressured to cancel a
play as too sympathetic to Palestinian cause
An article by Jeremy Gerard, published by Bloomberg, tells
the sad story. It begins:
Rachel Corrie is back in the news, transformed from
unlikely martyr to the Palestinian cause into something more mundane:
poster girl for the culture wars, in the battle over art, with a capital
A, and its responsibility to truth, with a capital T.
Corrie, an idealistic 23-year-old from the state of
Washington, died in March 2003 when an Israeli Defense Forces bulldozer
crushed her as she protested the razing of Palestinian homes in Gaza.
Outrage followed, as Corrie’s pretty blond visage stared out from the
front pages of newspapers around the world.
Now the contretemps has moved beyond international
politics. "My Name Is Rachel Corrie," a solo show distilled from Corrie’s
writings by the British actor Alan Rickman (the sinister Professor Snape
in the Harry Potter films) and journalist Katharine Viner, was first
presented last spring at London’s
Royal Court Theatre. It was critically acclaimed and a popular hit.
In the U.S. this season, an off-Broadway company, the
New York Theatre Workshop — probably best known as the group that
developed "Rent" as well as Tony Kushner’s "Homebody/Kabul" –was to have
presented "Rachel Corrie." But artistic director James Nicola announced
last week that the production was being "delayed" while the group
considered the best way to"contextualize" the play. Translation: People
are complaining that presenting this work gives a bullhorn to Israel’s
enemies, and that makes us very nervous. So we’re going to see if we can
render "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" toothless or, barring that, postpone it
and pray really hard that the problem eventually just goes away.
The rest of the article >>
Go to the Rachel’s
Words website for much more on Rachel Corrie, the play, and plans to
hold readings of the play to protest this censorship of her witness for
peace and justice.
Hebron: On hatred
Maureen Jack, member of a Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron, in the
Israeli occupied West Bank of Palestine [posted here 11-25-05]
[A note from your WebWeaver: I am not able to
confirm this account, but I have had previous contacts with the Christian
Peacemaker Teams which lead me to trust them. I have also heard similar
stories from other Palestinians.]
23 November 2005
I'd not met him before. He's perhaps slightly older than I and he was
wearing a green cap, not unlike my red CPT one. By his accent he was clearly
originally from London, though he now lives in a settlement. I said hello.
'Fuck you. Screw you,' he said.
We were standing across the street from an entrance to the
Israeli settlement of Beit Hadassah in Hebron. I was there with Anne and
John (both in their late seventies) and some other internationals on school
patrol at the foot of steps leading up to Qurtuba School, a school for
Palestinian girls. We were waiting for the girls to come down on their way
home. He was there with a group from Women in Green, an organization
committed to support for Israeli settlements. They were also there waiting
for the schoolgirls.
The girls and women teachers started to make their way
nervously down the crumbled steps. The Israeli visitors pushed forward
taking photos. We got in between them as best we could. I didn't document at
all. I took no photos. I have no idea of what went on around me. All I could
see was the fear on the faces of the women and girls. All I could feel was
the tremor in their hands as I helped them down. All I could hear was my
faltering Arabic as I tried to find something reassuring to say.
And then it was over. The girls and the teachers were all
on their way home. But the Israeli ex-Londoner was not finished. 'Have you
got cancer yet? I hope so,' he said to me. 'Please don't say that. My
husband died of cancer six years ago,' I replied. 'I am happy about that,'
What has this man's life been like that he has such
hatred? How is he feeling now? Is he thinking of me, as I am thinking of
him? Is he weeping now, as I am? And am I weeping for myself, or for him?
Christian Peacemaker Teams is an ecumenical initiative to support
violence reduction efforts around the world. To learn more about CPT's
peacemaking work, please visit our website at:
http://www.cpt.org. Photos of our
projects may be viewed at:
Presbyterians continue to pursue possible divestment from companies
supporting Israeli occupation of Palestine
The Presbyterian Church’s Mission
Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) committee , meeting last week in
Seattle, chose five multinational corporations — Caterpillar,
Citigroup, ITT Industries, Motorola and United Technologies — for
"progressive engagement" about business practices believed to contribute to
violence in Israel and Palestine.
After several hours of discussion on Aug. 5, the MRTI
committee unanimously selected the five companies and agreed to begin
discussions with them about their involvement in the conflict.
the Presbyterian New Service report >>
Also, about 20 members of the PCUSA went to Seattle to
express support for the General Assembly’s decision to start a process of
"phased selective divestment."
The article >>
And officials of firms on ‘engagement’ list
defended their business practices in Israel-Palestine, with some expressing
puzzlement, others sticking to earlier statements.
The story >>
Critical responses have come, too
Laurie Goodstein, writing in the New York Times, gives a rather
negative view of the MRTI action, including this comment:
"This is a brilliantly organized political campaign to
hurt Israel, and it's not going to help a single Palestinian," said Rabbi
Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish
watchdog group based in Los Angeles. "When you look at the list of
companies, this is basically a recipe for Israel to disarm."
She also cites Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick’s continuing effort to
help people understand what’s really going on:
The Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, stated clerk of the
Presbyterian Church U.S.A., said in an interview: "It's not a campaign to
divest from the state of Israel. We're fully committed to the state of
Israel. But it is a campaign to divest from particular activities that are
doing damage and creating injustice and violence, whether that's the
building of the separation barrier, construction related to the
occupation, or weapons and materials that lead to suicide bombings."
Read this in the
(registration required) or on
Another negative comment:
"Churches gang up on Israel"
In a remarkably similar, but more overtly slanted article, columnist Tom
Teepen says the Presbyterian Church is leading other churches in "get-tough
policies toward Israel ostensibly designed to force peace with the
Palestinians, but [that are] are more likely to sabotage peace than to
in the Minneapolis Star Tribune >>
A frequent reader comments on the New York Times column:
The Times piece on MRTI's announcement is only slightly better than what
I would expect from the Layman. It gives lots of attention to what other
people are saying and studiously diminishes both the content of MRTI's
statement and the expertise behind it. Like so much of what we have seen, it
manages to imply that selecting targets and topics for engagement is
tantamount to proceeding with taking our money out of Israel sometime this
week. The Times needs to be called on the carpet for buying in to an
hysterical side show so fully that it appears to be unwilling to present
either the case MRTI has made or the reality of the process our church has
undertaken. On Saturday the piece was one of the top five articles that
people had looked at on-line.
The assumption that these big serious companies will not engage our silly
little church is both ill-informed and debilitating. The news that our
church might influence its targets with holdings so small as $60 million
total in companies whose market capitalization amounts to tens or even a
couple of hundred of Billions is a serious enough matter to excite all that
blather makes it real clear that a lot of folks who are real good at getting
access to the news media do not agree with the assumption.
Perhaps someone should explain to some folks that the PCUSA's holdings in
these companies stocks are the PCUSA's property, and the church has property
rights to make decisions about its holdings based on its own perception of
its interests and responsibilities.
NOTE: The Witherspoon Society board has been and continues to
be supportive of the action of the General Assembly and the continuing
efforts of MRTI to seek effective ways of resisting the violence in
Israel/Palestine. The possible divestment of certain stock holdings is
a way of opening dialogue with corporations about their actions that appear
to perpetuate the violence. Will it solve all the problems of the
Middle East? Not likely. But it does offer one small step toward
peace, and away from violence. Can we do less?
Got comments on the MRTI action and/or the continuing
Please send a note!
New DVD series tells stories of Palestinian
Christians in West Bank
Elizabeth Sanders announce the completion of their series
Elizabeth Sanders lived in the mostly Christian Palestinian village of
Zababdeh from August, 2000, through December, 2003. Volunteers with the
Presbyterian Church (USA), their ministry was one of ecumenical support to
the Church in the land of its birth. Salt
of the Earth documents the lives of nine Palestinian Christians
living in the northern West Bank. This film grew out of a desire among their
Palestinian neighbors to share their stories, and a desire among Christians
in the West to hear them. The Sanders describe the project as "a labor of
love, a response to the graciousness, warmth, hospitality, and welcome we
received from our Palestinian neighbors and colleagues."
Clips from nine of the
segments are available online.
You can order your copy/copies by visiting the
The Sanders are also developing study guides for each of the segments.
earlier reports from them ...
NCC Middle East delegation concludes visit, issues
'Barriers do not bring freedom'
An 11-member delegation from the National Council of Churches USA has
recently returned from a two-week visit to the Middle East. Delegation
members asked those with whom they met: "Is there a new window of
opportunity for peace?" In the statement entitled "Barriers Do Not Bring
Freedom," the delegation concludes, "A sliver of hope for peace does exist,
but we feel strongly the moment must be seized now or the future will remain
Read the rest of the
story, including the members of the delegation, and the full text of
their statement. [2-9-05]
multiply for renewed peacemaking in Israel/Palestine
Thirty-five Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders have
appealed to President George Bush to resume peace negotiations between
Palestinians and Israelis.
The National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for
Peace (NILIP) in the Middle East is a collaboration of the U.S.
leadership of the three Abrahamic faiths -- Christians, Jews and Muslims
-- and is a first in this arena.
The national leaders and heads of 28 organizations are
also mobilizing local religious communities in U.S. cities to back this
appeal to the president and to request support for it by their senators
and representatives to Congress.
Center ("A Prophetic Voice in Jewish, Multireligious, and
American Life") has placed a full-page ad in today's New York Times
(page A 11) - a strong, multireligious call for Peacemaking in
|Jewish leader urges "Help Abbas succeed ...
Yossi Beilin, a former
justice minister of Israel, writes in the
Washington Post that the election of Mahmoud Abbas as the new
president of the Palestinian Authority offers a unique opportunity for
peace in Israel/Palestine. This presents President Bush with a challenge
to show whether he is for the peace process or against. Beilin and Abbas
gave birth to the Oslo Accords and laid the foundation for Clinton's
Camp David summit.
about the Israel Palestine conflict from a Palestinian Christian and
If you're in the New York area, you'll have opportunities this week to join
in events this week with the Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb. Mitri is a Palestinian
Christian and the pastor of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem.
Despite the growing violence, Mitri remains an ardent advocate for peace in
the region. He will be speaking on three occasions, sponsored by
the Presbyterian UN Office and other groups.
Why they hate us, and why it matters
pastor of Salem Presbyterian Church in Salem, VA, recently
reported in the local paper on a talk by the Rev. George Conn, a retired
Presbyterian pastor, recently returned from a visit to Israel-Palestine.
He explored the reasons for the deep hostility felt by so many in the
Middle East toward the US.
The real battle of Muslim extremists is against their
own governments, but the US has provided an ideal recruiting tool and
outside enemy for their struggle.
Middle East Update
US continues favoring a
"one-state" solution to the Israel-Palestine struggle, ignoring all UN
mandates and legitimate interests of Palestinians.
The Presbyterian Washington Office provides a helpful,
thorough background paper on the situation, with suggestions for action.
Sixty former US
diplomats protest Bush's alignment with Sharon [5-7-04]
Some 60 former U.S. diplomats and other government
officials who served overseas have signed a letter to President George W.
Bush, protesting his support for the Israeli government's position in the
The letter was inspired by a similar protest signed by
52 former British ambassadors and senior government officials and sent to
Prime Minister Tony Blair last week. That letter warned that Blair's
strong support for Bush's policies in both Iraq and the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict were "doomed to failure."
The US diplomats' letter, which applauded their British
colleagues' initiative, is focused far more on the Israel-Palestinian
issue, noting in particular Bush's Apr. 14 endorsement of Sharon's plan to
unilaterally withdraw Israeli settlers from the Gaza strip while
consolidating five large settlement blocs on the West Bank.
Thanks to Darrell Yeaney
Israel-Palestine: a new crisis
settlement is being undermined by recent administration actions to give
one-sided support to the Israeli government under Ariel Sharon .
The Washington Office of the PC(USA) provides a helpful
background paper and suggestions for communicating your concern to
Congress and the White House
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is beginning to gather aid
for victims of the earthquake in Iran.
Read more about their plans, and about
resources you can use to gather and send help.
A Christian Peacemaker Team delegation in
Hebron reports on glimpses of hope amid all
the bad news from Israel/Palestine [10-1-03]
"Holy Land" - What is it and who owns it? A Christian
transformation of the question [8-30-03]
Land - "holy land" - and who owns it is at the center of
the terrible, seemingly endless conflict in Israel/Palestine.
The Rev. Thomas C. Davis, pastor of Hanover Street
Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware, decided to preach
sermons exploring the notion of holy land in the Hebrew scriptures,
and its radical transformation in the New Testament. In the first sermon,
"God's Abode," he points to Jesus' insistence that God's presence was now
to be found not in a place - the Temple or the Land - but in the Person of
Jesus (the Way), and thus in all persons.
And in the second sermon, "Everywhere Lies Holy Ground,"
he traces the pattern of "ethnic cleansing" from the ancient Hebrews'
conquest of the Promised Land, through their Puritan descendants' conquest
and extermination of the native peoples of North America, to the apartheid
system in South Africa. He shows how, again, Jesus overturns the idea of a
"holy land" as the property of one people; now all land is holy, for God
moves among all peoples.
"The Jews can't lay exclusive claim to [the Holy Land]
any more than they can to holy ground. Everywhere lies holy ground,
because the spirit blows where it wills." And so, he concludes,
"Christianity, in Luke's view, is not tied to any specific land. It''\s
mission is to the ends of the earth."
Note: Both sermons are posted on the
same page; the link above will take you there.
The Violence in Israel/Palestine: A
Predictable Consequence of a Flawed Road Map....and what we can do about
What can be done to realize any kind of peace in the
Rabbi Michael Lerner of the Tikkun Community has posted a
letter that people may want to send (with any alterations they might choose
to add) to their Senators and Congresspersons. In it he sets forth a number
of concrete suggestions, including:
|strong statements by the US that terrorists acts will
not be allowed to halt the peace process - thereby removing the veto power
now held by extremists on both sides;|
|unequivocal statements "that the United States supports
and will insist upon a Palestinian state throughout the West Bank and
Gaza, and a return of Israel to the pre-67 borders with "minor border
modifications" ... and that these minor modifications will be negotiated
right now, at the beginning of the process."|
|international funding to compensate Palestinians who
choose to live within the Palestinian state, as well as for Jews who fled
Arab lands from 1948-67, and "funds to resettle Israeli settlers within
the pre-67 borders of Israel."|
|"the introduction of an international
force to provide a buffer between the two sides by separating them and
principles, "fighting" and dying for peace in Palestine
American woman, Rachel Corrie, was crushed to death March 16 by an Israeli
army bulldozer as she attempted to prevent the destruction of a
Palestinian family's home. Two young men, one American and one British,
have been seriously wounded by Israeli army gunfire. All have been serving
in Palestinian areas with the International Solidarity Movement, the peace
group that uses such non-violent means as positioning activists as "human
shields" around the occupied territories to protect Palestinian civilians.
Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian, notes that these recent
incidents appear to be "part of a pattern, and that Israel is deliberately
targeting internationals, so that it can carry out human-rights abuses
unobserved. Whatever the truth, Americans and other foreign citizens are
falling victim to Israeli tactics that have killed and injured thousands
of Palestinians. A lack of accountability means that such incidents could
This article was first published in the Chicago
Tribune on 22 April 2003.
Thanks to Darrell and Sue Yeaney
Hope, and Love in Zababdeh [3-3-03]
Marthame and Elizabeth Sanders are American
Presbyterians working in the Palestinian Christian village of Zababdeh,
They share a close-up look at a West Bank
community, and the Christians and Muslims for whom it's home. And they try
to explain why, even now, they haven't left for the safety of the United
The answer? "We're still here because we
believe. We came here out of a commitment to serve the Church in the land
of its birth, to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
What our American government says or does cannot change that calling, or
pry us from this place. ... We're still here because we hope. We hope that
war will be avoided, for nothing made by human hands is inevitable. ... We
are still here, because we love. We love the people of this region. From
Baghdad to Beirut, we have visited them, eaten with them, laughed and
cried with them, worshiped and prayed with them. Having done so, it's
impossible for us to think of them as the enemy - or as candidates for
So your WebWeaver wonders: Living out of
faith and hope and love, how might we in the U.S. face the threats that
our national poses to the world today?
peacemaker's mission trip to the Middle East
Darrell W. Yeaney, Middle East Peacemaking Enabler in
the Presbytery of East Iowa - and Witherspoon member - reports on a
three-week mission trip to the Middle East last May and June. The group
heard three main concerns from Christians: the negative impact of
aggressive Western "evangelists" who do not respect the
Christian communities that have lived in those countries for centuries;
the pressures created by the growing rich-poor gap between the West and
other parts of the world; and the continuing anguish over Israel's
occupation and repression of the Arab people of Palestine, and one-sided
US support for Israel. [12-11-02]
Christmas ... plenty of room in the inn
The inns are empty, but they couldn't get into the
town because Israel has closed it to all visitors.
A Palestinian Christian tells of the sad state
of "the little town of Bethlehem"
at the season of Christmas, 2002. As you ponder the birth of Jesus -- or
prepare sermons about it -- this might add a dimension of
a deeply troubled land [11-15-02]
PCUSA Moderator recently visited his homeland of
Palestine, and heard one clear message: His people are suffering
now more than ever, and urged him to work to dissuade the US from
Peace Pledge is gathering support [9-10-02]
The Campaign of Conscience is seeking signatures for a "Peace
Pledge" of people and groups committed to opposing the impending
war against Iraq.
|Iraq War Plans Consume Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking
A respected church
group analyzes the heavy costs - human, moral, political and diplomatic
as well as economic - of the planned war on Iraq. The organization,
Churches for Middle East Peace, of which the Presbyterian Church (USA)
is a member, has issued a thoughtful review of the impending war against
leaders urge: "Stop the rush to
Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick has joined 36 other
church leaders from Britain, Canada and the US, to call on the U.S.
government to pull back from its "rush to war" in Iraq.
churches urge President to support international
peacekeeping force in Israel/Palestine [8-29-02]
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), an ecumenical
coalition that includes the Presbyterian Church (USA), has sent a
letter to President George Bush urging him to support an the
deployment of an international peacekeeping force in Israel/Palestine.
with the Archbishop
Sojourners' editor Jim Wallis offers an
interesting view of Rowan Williams, the new Archbishop-Elect of the
Church of England. This leads to thoughts on the need for people to
raise their voices - through letters, calls, petitions - against the
impending American invasion of Iraq. [8-29-02]
What should we be doing about the
threatened invasion of Iraq?
send a note, and let's talk about it!
professor: Israel's policy toward Palestine
aims at "urbicide" -- destroying the fabric of their society
Howard Zinn offers a compelling case against
US invasion of Iraq [8-22-02]
Pres. Bush saying, like his father, "What
we say goes"? [8-19-02]
Arch Taylor, retired Japan missionary, shares a letter
he recently sent to the Louisville Courier-Journal, laying out
briefly and powerfully the alarmingly unilateral and aggressive policies
of the present Bush administration.
Related to this, you may want to read a report of a
recent speech by former weapons inspector Scott
Ritter, speaking out loudly against invasion.
all evangelicals are Zionists [7-16-02]
A group of 43 evangelical leaders -- including 5
Presbyterians -- has sent a letter to Pres. Bush,
|Rabbi Michael Lerner has offered a response
to Pres. Bush's policy statement on the Middle East conflict, saying
that the statement gives encouragement to Israel's repressive policies,
and thus encourages Palestinian terrorism rather than efforts for
even-handedness in the Middle East [6-15-02]
The Rev. Arch Taylor, a former Presbyterian Japan
missionary, has sent this letter to President Bush, commending his
even-handedness in dealing with the Pakistan-India conflict, and urging
the same kind of approach to the Israeli-Palestinian situation.
a Palestinian, and a Jew join in calling for an end to the devastation
Arch Taylor, a former Presbyterian missionary in Japan, along with a
Palestinian-American and a Jewish-American, published an open letter
on May 4 in the Louisville Courier-Journal, with the headline:
AN END TO PALESTINIAN DEVASTATION.
The writers place much of the responsibility for the current violence
on Prime Minister Arial Sharon, under whose leadership "Israel is
systematically destroying not only the Palestinians' present but also
But US policy (or lack of policy) is also responsible: "Mere
words calling for Israeli withdrawal and eventual establishment of a
viable Palestinian state will avail absolutely nothing so long as
unconditional support for Israel and Sharon continues."
Citing the example of the 435 Israeli combat officers and soldiers
who have refused to fight beyond Israel's1967 borders, the three authors
call on people on both sides to "take risks for peace." They
conclude: "We believe that peace can come only when both Israel and
Palestine co-exist as viable, independent states side by side, each with
recognized and secure borders."
delegation condemns killing by both sides, lifts up steps
toward peace [5-6-02]
A delegation of US church leaders has returned
from a 12-day visit to Israel, Palestine, and neighboring
countries, under the auspices of the National Council of the
Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Calling on both Israel and the
Palestinian Authority to agree to an immediate ceasefire, they
"condemn equally and unequivocally both the suicide
bombings and Palestinian violence against Israeli society and
the violence of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian
Among other steps toward a resolution of the
conflict, they call for:
|the affirmation by Palestinians and by Arab
states of the right of the State of Israel to exist within
|the establishment of an international
peacekeeping force ...|
|the end of Israel's occupation of the West
Bank and Gaza;|
|the cessation of the building of new
Israeli settlements ...;|
|... dismantling ... of settlements that
negate the geographic integrity of a viable Palestinian
|the sharing of Jerusalem by the two peoples
and three faiths so that Jerusalem may truly reflect its
name, City of Peace; and|
|the commitment by Israel to address the
issue of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.|
The Rev. Janet Arbesman, Vice-Moderator of the 213th
General Assembly of the PCUSA, was a member of the delegation.
|A new "decalogue"
for peace [4-18-02]
Religious leaders spoke out in January to
condemn all religious violence, and offered an "Assisi
Decalogue" to give form to their call for peace. Was
Journalist David Walters gives some of the
story, and the content of the statement itself.
eyewitness to "a war crime" in Jenin [4-18-02]
Witherspooner Darrel Yeaney has sent one
account of the devastation wrought by the Israeli forces in the
Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin. Yeaney says that Phil Reeves
was formerly a staff writer for the Orlando paper, and is now
Middle East correspondent for the London Independent.
Adds Yeaney, who has made numerous visits to the Middle East
himself, "You can count on [his report] for accuracy.]
The report begins:
A monstrous war crime that Israel has tried
to cover up for a fortnight has finally been exposed. Its
troops have caused devastation in the centre of the Jenin
refugee camp, reached yesterday by The Independent, where
thousands of people are still living amid the ruins.
A residential area roughly 160,000 square yards about a third
of a mile wide has been reduced to dust. Rubble has been
shovelled by bulldozers into 30ft piles. The sweet and ghastly
reek of rotting human bodies is everywhere, evidence that it
is a human tomb. The people ... say there are hundreds of
corpses, entombed beneath the dust, under a field of debris
He went to Jenin expecting that many of the Palestinian accounts
were exaggerations, as the Israelis have insisted. He saw enough
to be convinced that the terror and devastation are very real.
For instance: "Until two weeks ago, there
were several hundred tightly-packed homes in this neighbourhood
called Harat al-Hawashim. They no longer exist."
full, wretched story on the ZNet on-line news
For more graphic views of the horror in Jenin,
Palestine Chronicle. But be
warned, the photos are grim!
In the Name of God, Seek Peace and
Pursue It [4-15-02]
Jewish leaders have issued a
call for peace, urging the United States to "bring about the
creation of an international force to protect both Israelis and
Palestinians from violence," and "call a regional peace
conference including Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and all the Arab
states, and peace-committed religious leaders and leaders of civil
society in the region, to take up at once the Saudi proposals for
regional peace ..."
Wallis of Sojourners looks at "the
horrific violence in the Middle East" through a Palestinian
Quaker and American Jewish friends. He concludes:
The immediate question is how to stop the current
violence. ... The United States should immediately work to bring about
the creation of an international protection force to shield both
Israelis and Palestinians from further violence, and call a regional
peace conference including Israel, the Arab states, along with
religious leaders and civil society organizations.
There has been enough killing - it's time for peace.
He also offers some hope: voices
on both sides of the conflict calling for peace.
Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick has issued a
letter calling urgently for peace in the Middle East. He calls
for an end to acts of terrorism and of state-sponsored violence, and for
an end to the occupation of Palestinian territory. [4-10-02]
He notes that "
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship has issued a
statement on the crisis in Israel/Palestine, restating its
"conviction that acts of violence can not lead to security and
peace for Palestinians and Israelis."
The statement expresses appreciation for Pres. Bush's
April 4th statement, and underscores the need for an end to
the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. [4-5-02]
appeal has come to us urging that people around the world join in a circle
of prayer for peace in the Middle East. We share it here in
the confident faith that prayer does make a
on the Israeli - Palestinian conflict: A
Jewish cry at Passover for the suffering of Palestinians, and for a
truly "free Jerusalem" [4-1-02]
appeal from people under siege in Ramallah [3-30-02]
We have just received an urgent plea from Palestinians
and members of the international community in Ramallah, Palestine.
They detail what is happening to the people there, and urge people in
other countries to raise their voices in protest against the actions of
the current Israeli government.
For reports added in 2010 >>
For reports and links
Items archived from 2006 >>
Reports from 2005
are now archived.
For archives from September through
December, 2004 >>
July and August, 2004 >>
Some blogs worth visiting
Mitch Trigger, PVJ's
Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where
Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and
views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both
personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!
You can post your own news and views,
or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.
for Life" website
Long-time and stimulating blogger John Shuck,
a Presbyterian minister currently
serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton,
Tenn., writes about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized
and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and
Click here for his blog posts.
Click here for podcasts of his radio program, which "explores
the intersection of religion, social justice and public life."
John Harris’ Summit to
Theological and philosophical
reflections on everything between summit to shore, including
kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology,
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens
neighborhood of Ridgewood -- by a progressive New York City
Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon
board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in
Voices of Sophia blog
Heather Reichgott, who has created
this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:
After fifteen years of scholarship
and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the
voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy,
students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers
and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God
in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God
through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through
articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!