Toward Peace and Justice in the Middle East 2002 Action of Immediate Witness

Because our Unitarian Universalist Principles call us to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person, justice and equity in human relations, and the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; and

Whereas Rev. William Sinkford, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, has spoken out on the Middle East conflict in a pastoral letter of March 27, 2002, calling for "our congregations to educate themselves on [the] issues and to engage in honest conversation";

Whereas in 1982 the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly adopted a General Resolution encourage a comprehensive peace settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calling on all parties to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the others;

Whereas Unitarian Universalists have supported and affirmed the rule of law and the positive role of the United Nations in building a world community;

Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 emphasizes "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace," and other United Nations resolutions have re-affirmed Israel as the "Occupying Power" bound by the Fourth Geneva Convention, "which is applicable to all the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967";

Whereas the United States government is responsible for a significant portion of arms sales to this over-armed region, thus furthering its instability;

Whereas the Middle East situation has been deteriorating with increased violence on both sides and increased military oppression;

Whereas United States diplomacy has not led to peace or security for the region; and

Whereas the World Conference of Religions for Peace, an organization co-founded by the Unitarian Universalist Association, has responded to requests from the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the Palestinian Authority by calling for a "religiously sanctioned cease-fire" and recognition of Israel and Palestine as states with secure, internationally recognized borders;

Therefore, be it resolved that the 2002 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association urges the following principles as a basis for action by the governments of the United States and Canada:

  • Freedom from occupation and equal rights for all, including the right to exist in peace and security.
  • Opposition to Israeli settlements, land confiscation, house demolitions, and other violations of international law.
  • Opposition to all attacks on civilians, whether by suicide bombers, F-16 or helicopter gunships, or any other means.
  • Support for a central United Nations role in efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace.

Be it further resolved that the 2002 General Assembly calls on

  • the Israeli government to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention and international law;
  • Palestinians to immediately stop suicide bombings and all attacks on Israeli civilians;
  • the United States government to
    1. "suspend all transfers of those types of weapons and munitions used to commit human rights violations until Israel is clearly in compliance with the terms for arms transfers as expressed in United States law and bilateral agreements," as Amnesty International has called for, and
    2. work within the United Nations for a just peace that includes two viable secure states, Israel and Palestine, based on the 1967 borders, with mutual relations based on sovereignty and equality; and
  • our congregations to:
    1. become educated on Middle East issues and engage in honest conversation;
    2. redouble their efforts for peace based on the goal of justice and human rights for all;
    3. support actions of the anti-occupation Israeli peace activists, including Rabbis for Human Rights and the Israeli reserve officers who refuse to serve in the Occupied Territories;
    4. encourage Jewish Americans and others who support Israel but oppose its occupation of Palestine; and
    5. condemn and oppose expressions and acts of anti-Semitism and acts of terror against Jews, Palestinians, or Arabs and their legitimate institutions wherever they may occur.