A Response to the Current Violence in Gaza
Over the past 10 days people of faith around the world have been shocked and saddened by the recent violence in Israel and Gaza. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) joins with its partner organizations including Churches for Middle East Peace (Letter to President Bush on 12/29/08 and Letter to Congress on 1/5/09) and Religions for Peace International (Statement on 1/5/09) in calling for the United States President and Congress to effect robust diplomatic efforts to bring about an immediate cease fire and secure the access of humanitarian relief efforts in the region.
As United Nation’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated, the current violence only interferes with long-term peacemaking efforts. We join with him in recognizing that, “The only answer is an end to the violence. Whatever the rationale of the combatants, only an end to violence and a political way forward, can deliver long-term security and peace.” Today’s news that consensus is emerging over principles for a cease-fire is most welcome.
For the past three years, Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations throughout the US have studied peace in our faith community. In November of last year, the Commission on Social Witness released a draft Statement of Conscience on Peacemaking. Our goal with the Statement of Conscience is to have a comprehensive, dynamic and prophetic statement concerning our relationship with peace and violence. This violence in the Middle East is the first major conflict since the release of the Statement. Currently, the Commission on Social Witness is soliciting feedback and comments on the draft Statement. We ask: “In the face of this violence, is our Statement of Conscience adequate? Does it stand up to actual violence?” Please consider sharing a conversation with your community about the Statement of Conscience on Peacemaking and be prepared to share your feedback by February 1st, 2009.
The UUA urges our congregations:
- To add their voices to Churches for Middle East Peace’s current advocacy efforts, and to participate with local interfaith colleagues witnessing for an end to the violence and a return to peacemaking.
- To remember, during worship, the terrible pain and suffering of innocent people in the region.
- To educate themselves and their congregations about the history and complexity of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
- To support humanitarian efforts in Gaza by making donations through the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee's Gaza Humanitarian Crisis Fund.
- To make use of our Association’s ‘Peacemaking’ resources.
- To share stories of congregational engagement with the UUA.
- To share comments and feedback to the UUA’s Commission on Social Witness.
- UUA 2002 Statement of Immediate Witness: Toward Peace and Justice in The Middle East
- UU Clergy working for Peace and Justice the Middle East