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Dec. 2016 – Please note that this letter refers to UMKR by our former name. Our current name is: United Methodists for Kairos Response.
Dale and Betty Schwicker
Awad Paul Sifri
John Van Hagen
Palestinians write to General Conference 2012 delegates,
call for support of UMC divestment
Salam, Shalom, Peace.
As Palestinian Christians and other Palestinians in support of the efforts by United Methodist Kairos Response, we write to urge you to vote in favor of Petition # 21071 (Aligning United Methodist Investments with Resolutions on Israel/Palestine.)
The Resolution calls for divesting from three companies: Caterpillar, which profits from the demolition of Palestinian homes and the uprooting of thousands of their olive trees; and Motorola and Hewlett-Packard which help the Israeli military maintain a stifling system of checkpoints and separation walls aimed at expanding illegal Jewish-only settlements on land taken from Palestinians. For Christians to profit from investing in companies that are causing direct harm to civilians—Christians and Muslims alike—is morally wrong.
In support of this plea for divestment, we quote from the Kairos Palestine Document, which represents the overwhelming sentiment among Palestinian Christians of all denominations:
"We, a group of Christian Palestinians, after prayer, reflection and an exchange of opinion, cry out from within the suffering in our country, under the Israeli occupation…. The cruel circumstances in which the Palestinian Church has lived and continues to live have required the Church to clarify her faith and to identify her vocation… Today, we bear the strength of love rather than that of revenge, a culture of life rather than a culture of death."
The document goes on to quote Scripture: "You have heard it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven…’ [We] endorse nonviolent resistance based on hope and love that puts an end to evil by walking in the ways of justice."
The Palestinian Kairos group calls for justice, peace and security for all Palestinians and Israelis. It salutes Israeli Jews who have courageously defied their government’s oppressive policies, and invites all Israelis to join in the non-violent struggle to end the Occupation. It clearly endorses divestment, aimed specifically against Israel’s occupation, as an effective means of non-violent resistance. The Palestinian Kairos group reminds us that when the Church of South Africa issued its call for divestment, many churches worldwide rejected that call, proposing, instead, a strategy of "constructive engagement" with the Apartheid regime. This proved to be an error of judgment, while divestment proved to be invaluable to the South African majority struggle for emancipation.
Many of you may be tempted to support "positive investment" in Palestine as an alternative to divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation. We sincerely believe that no amount of positive investment under Israel’s harsh occupation can truly alleviate the suffering of Palestinians and correct the injustice against them. A case in point was recently reported by The Spiegel online (2/16/12).
"Several small Palestinian villages in the West Bank had been without electricity for decades -- before an Israeli foundation with funding from Europe recently installed solar panels and wind turbines. Now, though, Israel wants to remove the facilities because they are on land under its administration....Projects funded by foreign aid organizations or the EU have often been destroyed in the past, the best known example being the Gaza airport, financed with $38 million from the EU only to be destroyed by Israeli bombs a short time after its construction."
We urge you to heed the call of peace-loving Palestinian Christians and Israelis who deeply believe that nonviolent resistance is the way to end an occupation that scars both peoples.
With thanks for your prayerful consideration,
Copyright © United Methodists for Kairos Response. All rights reserved.
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John G. Farah
V. Rev. George Makhlouf
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