The United Church of Christ’s 30th General Synod passed a resolution strengthening our moral accountability as church members and U.S. citizens to end the decades-long military occupation that underlies the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The resolution calls for a non-violent strategy that uses financial resources as economic leverage for peace, so that our investments as a church and nation do not sustain the occupation.
One focus of this strategy is to press the U.S. government to hold Israel accountable to human rights standards that U.S. law requires of states receiving foreign aid. Specifically the resolution calls on the church to petition Congress “to ensure that the U.S. aid to Israel violates neither the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibits assistance to any country that engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations nor the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, which limits the use of U.S. weapons to ‘internal security’ or ‘legitimate self-defense’…”
U.S. financial assistance should not contribute to human rights violations committed by or under Israeli occupation. Urge Congress to hold hearings regarding human rights conditions on U.S. military aid to Israel.
To achieve peace between Israel and a future Palestinian state, successive U.S. administrations have said Israel’s occupation of Palestinians and their land must end. Yet the situation on the ground is worsening every day: illegal Israeli settlements and land confiscations are expanding; home demolitions, collective punishments, and freedom restrictions are routine; and extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and abusive detentions—including of minors—and violence against civilians are occurring with impunity. Whether committed by Israeli forces or settlers, Israel is responsible as the occupying power.
Israel should be subject to the same process of human rights compliance as other countries receiving U.S. military aid. In an October 5, 2012 letter UCC leaders joined more than a dozen U.S. church organizations in calling for Congress to “hold Israel accountable to [human rights] standards by making the disbursement of U.S. military assistance to Israel contingent on the Israeli government’s compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies. As Israel is the single largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid since World War II, it is especially critical for Israel to comply with the specific U.S. laws that regulate the use of U.S.-supplied weapons.” With this resolution the UCC again seeks to hold the U.S. accountable in its efforts to seek peace.
The U.S. must ensure that its military aid is not used to commit human rights abuses or otherwise support a system under which conditions deteriorate and the prospects for peace are diminished. Urge Congress to hold hearings to examine and insist on Israel’s compliance as a requirement for receiving U.S. aid.
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