Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Urges End to US Aid to Israel Until Settlement Construction Ends
Isaiah 58, a group of Lutherans working for peace and justice in the Holy Land, welcomes today’s overwhelming approval by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) of a resolution [C1] calling on the US government to end aid to Israel until the latter freezes the construction of settlements on occupied Palestinian land, which violate longstanding official US policy and international law, and are a major obstacle to peace in the Holy Land. The vote on resolution C1, which took place at the ELCA’s triennial Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans, was 751 (82%) in favor, and 162 opposed.
Currently, the US gives more than $3 billion in military aid to Israel annually, without which it could not maintain its occupation of Palestinian lands, which entered its 50th year in June. The ELCA has long opposed Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise and supported nonviolent action in support of Palestinian rights. Today’s vote represents a continuation of the ELCA’s efforts to help bring about peace, justice, and equality for all the peoples of Israel and Palestine.
Isaiah 58 is a group of ELCA Lutherans who advocate for a more engaged church response to calls from Palestinians for an end to Israel’s occupation and a just peace for both Israel and Palestine.
To receive with gratitude the memorials of the Northwest Washington, Sierra Pacific, Southwest California, Rocky Mountain, Minneapolis Area, Southwestern Texas, Southeastern Iowa, South-Central Wisconsin, Southeast Michigan, Indiana-Kentucky, Metropolitan New York, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Upper Susquehanna and West Virginia-Western Maryland synods related to Israel and Palestine;
To reaffirm the commitment of this church to:
1. Continue its awareness-building, accompaniment, and advocacy on behalf of a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine;
2. Take steps to assist the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) and other Christians in sustaining their endangered presence in the Holy Land;
3. Promote the economic empowerment of Palestinians, including investment in Palestinian projects and businesses;
4. Promote the protection of the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis and oppose all violence and actions which discriminate against or deny any people their basic freedom, dignity or human rights;
5. Embrace the principles of restorative justice as part of the ELCA’s advocacy and engagement for the just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and actively seek ways to support Palestinians and Israelis engaging in restorative justice dialogue and other projects; and
6. Continue to pray for the ELCJHL and the work of The Lutheran World Federation Jerusalem program;[7.] To encourage this church’s members, congregations, synods, and agencies as well as the presiding bishop to call on the U.S. President, in coordination with the United Nations Security Council, to offer a new, comprehensive and time-bound agreement to the governments of Israel and Palestine, resulting in a negotiated final status agreement between Israel and Palestine leading to two viable and secure states with a shared Jerusalem; [8.] To urge this church’s members, congregations, synods, agencies and presiding bishop to call on their U.S. Representatives, Senators and the Administration to take action requiring that, to continue receiving U.S. financial and military aid, Israel must comply with internationally recognized human rights standards as specified in existing U.S. law, stop settlement building and the expansion of existing settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, end its occupation of Palestinian territory, and enable an independent Palestinian state; and [9.] To encourage this church’s members, congregations, synods, and agencies to call on the U.S. President to recognize the State of Palestine and not prevent the application of the State of Palestine for full membership in the United Nations.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a full communion partner of The Episcopal Church.
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