|Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA approved the committee motion by a vote
of 483 to 28.
| I wish to extend my appreciation to those who have
helped us in the Presbyterian Church USA replace the Israel divestment
resolution approved in 2004 with a much more even handed resolution regarding
affairs in the Middle East.
The exact wording of the approved motion is
Presbyterian Church USA
consideration of the overtures brought before the Assembly Committee on
Peacemaking and International Issues of the 217th General Assembly (2006), we
offer the following recommendations.
1. We acknowledge that the
actions of the 216th General Assembly (2004) caused hurt and misunderstanding
among many members of the Jewish community and within our Presbyterian
communion. We are grieved by the pain that this has caused, accept
responsibility for the flaws in our process, and ask for a new season of mutual
understanding and dialogue.
To these ends, we replace the instructions
expressed in Item 12-01 (Minutes, 2004 Part I, pp. 6466) Recommendation
7, which reads 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. with the
7. To urge that financial investments of the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as they pertain to Israel, Gaza, East Jerusalem,
and the West Bank, be invested in only peaceful pursuits, and affirm that the
customary corporate engagement process of the Committee on Mission
Responsibility Through Investments of our denomination is the proper vehicle
for achieving this goal.
2. Direct Mission Responsibility
Through Investment (MRTI) to ensure that its strategies for engaging
corporations with regard to Israeli and Palestinian territories
Reflect the application of fundamental principles of justice and peace common
to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism that are appropriate to the practical
realities of Israeli and Palestinian societies.
b. Reflect commitment
to positive outcomes.
c. Reflect awareness of potential impact upon
the stability, future viability, and prosperity of both the Israeli and
d. Identify affirmative investment
opportunities as they pertain to Israel, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West
3. We call upon the church:
a. To work through peaceful
means with American and Israeli Jewish, American and Palestinian Muslim, and
Palestinian Christian communities and their affiliated organizations for an end
to all violence and terror against Palestinian and Israeli civilians.
b. To work through peaceful means with American and Israeli Jewish, American
and Palestinian Muslim, and Palestinian Christian communities and their
affiliated organizations to end the occupation.
c. To work through
peaceful means with American and Israeli Jewish, American and Palestinian
Muslim, and Palestinian Christian communities and their affiliated
organizations towards the creation of a socially, economically, geographically,
and politically viable and secure Palestinian state, alongside an equally
viable and secure Israeli state, both of which have a right to exist.
d. To encourage and celebrate efforts by individual Presbyterians,
congregations, and judicatories of our church to communicate directly and
regularly with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities, sponsor programs
likely to improve relations among Christians, Jews, and Muslims, and engage in
peacemaking in the Middle East.
4. The 217th General Assembly (2006)
does not believe that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) should tell a sovereign
nation whether it can protect its borders or handle matters of national
defense. The problem with the security wall, in 2004 and presently, is its
location. The 217th General Assembly (2006) supports fair criticism of the
security wall insofar as it illegally encroaches into the Palestinian territory
and fails to follow the legally recognized borders of Israel since 1967
demarcated by the Green Line. To the extent that the security barrier violates
Palestinian land that was not part of Israel prior to the 1967 war, the barrier
should be dismantled and relocated.
5. Recognizing that the situation
on the ground in the Israel-Palestine area is rapidly changing, the General
Assembly Council (GAC) is directed to carefully monitor ongoing developments of
the situation in the Middle East and to examine the polices of the PC(USA)
related to the Middle East, in order to make a comprehensive report to the
218th General Assembly (2008).
6. Instructs the Stated Clerk to
communicate Recommendations 1. through 5. above to the United States
president, vice president, secretary of state, and members of Congress; to
Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the Middle East; to the membership of the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); to leadership of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim
faith bodies and denominations in the United States and the Middle East with
whom we are in communication.
Comment: The Assembly received
twenty-six overtures pertaining to the Middle East. The recommendation is the
result of the General Assemblys honest and sincere effort to address the
issues and concerns that appeared in the overtures in a comprehensive and