Item 12-01. On Supporting the Geneva Accord, Urging Israel and Palestine to Implement the Accord - From the Presbytery of St. Augustine.
In response to Item 12-01, the 216th General Assembly (2004) approved the following:
At the time the Presbytery of St. Augustine approved Item 12-01, support for the Geneva Accord urging Israel and the Palestinians to implement the Accord seemed a practicable way forward in light of the derailed road map, especially in light of action taken by the 215th General Assembly (2003) strongly urging Israeli and Palestinian leaders to be serious, active, and diligent about seeking peace for their peoples; or, if they are unwilling or unable, to step down and make room for other leaders who will and can (Resolution on Israel and Palestine: End the Occupation Now, Recommendation D, Minutes, 2003, Part I, p. 636).
At this time, however, several months since the approval of the proposed item by said presbytery, the situation and the prospects for a negotiated just peace have so deteriorated that people in the region generally, and particularly the Palestinians, have been driven to the edge of despair and hopelessness. Therefore, the 216th General Assembly (2004) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) does the following:
1. Confesses the sovereignty of God over all nations, states, governments, and peoples, acknowledging God's supreme act of love for the whole world manifest in Jesus Christ so that by faith the world might not perish but be saved. In Christ, God has called us to show love, seek peace, and to pursue justice, so that the world might be transformed into a foretaste of God's peaceable kingdom.
2. Continues to be inspired by the tenacity of hope of our Palestinian Christian partners in the face of ominous, cumulative gloom and foreboding; it affirms that God has not given us a spirit of timidity, nor have we been called to surrender hope to an attitude of despair.
3. Commends the Presbytery of St. Augustine on its concern for a just resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and for moving the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to persist in voicing this concern. The assembly, therefore, welcomes the possibilities for peace contained in the Geneva Accord, as a useful and practical approach. It would also be encouraged by other inspired initiatives that could advance the prospects of peace in the Middle East.
4. Reiterates and reaffirms the call of last year's General Assembly [2003, 215th G.A.] on the Israeli government to end the occupation now, asserting that:
a) The occupation must end; it has proven to be at the root of evil acts committed against innocent people on both sides of the conflict.
b) The security of Israel and the Israeli people is inexorably dependent on making peace with their Palestinian neighbors, by negotiating and reaching a just and equitable solution to the conflict that respects international law, human rights, the sanctity of life, and dignity of persons, land, property, safety of home, freedom of movement, the rights of refugees to return to their homeland, the right of a people to determine their political future, and to live in peace and prosperity.
c) Horrific acts of violence and deadly attacks on innocent people, whether carried out by Palestinian suicide bombers or by the Israeli military, are abhorrent and inexcusable by all measures, and are a dead-end alternative to a negotiated settlement of the conflict.
d) The United States needs, now more than ever, to become an honest, even-handed broker for peace, and should review its approach to the problem, allowing more room for the more meaningful participation of other members of the U.N.-designated Quartet (the United States, Russia, Germany and France) and others;
e) The international community has an obligation to provide physical protection for those isolated by fear and/or by physical and psychological barriers, thus making space for the restoration of security and creating a climate for the resumption of negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. We support the Palestinians' persistent request to the United Nations to send a peacekeeping force.
5. Vigorously urges the U.S. government, the government of Israel, and the Palestinian leadership to move swiftly, and with resolve, to recognize that the only way out of this chronic and vicious impasse is to abandon all approaches that exacerbate further strife, lay aside arrogant political posturing, and get on with forging negotiated compromises that open a path to peace.
6. Endorses the letter sent on April 19, 2004, by the Stated Clerk, reiterating concerns of our denomination for Christian partners and their institutions that serve as agents of reconciliation and hope, as well as for their Palestinian and Israeli neighbors, in the Holy Land, in the framework of previous statements of the General Assembly.
7. Refers to Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee (MRTI) with instructions to initiate a process of phased selective divestment in multinational corporations operating in Israel, in accordance to General Assembly policy on social investing, and to make appropriate recommendations to the General Assembly Council for action.
Link: http://www.pcusa.org/ga216/business/minutes/jul2-2pm.pdf (see page 3 of 24)