Monday, April 14, 2014

Walking with Palestinian Christians for Holy Justice and Peace

How should the United Methodist Church support Palestinians at the special conference in August at Ginghamsburg College in Tippi City, Ohio? Here are some thoughts from M. Theresa Basile that I share with you.

By Rev. Darrell Mitchell

1. First, you must know that there is real injustice in Israel and Palestine today. Palestinian lands in the West Bank have been stolen at a fast pace: 70 percent of the farm land that belonged to Palestinians has been confiscated to build segregated Jewish settlements. Israel is also building a wall that not only separates Palestinians from Israel, but also separates Palestinians from one another. This creates much suffering amongst the Palestinian people: once the separation wall is complete, 85 percent will sit on Palestinian lands — not on the acknowledged border between Israel and the West Bank.

2. The U.S. government, the United Nations, and most international human rights organizations have declared that building settlements on the West Bank is illegal. The International Court of Justice at The Hague also judged that the wall is illegal and must come down and Palestinian farmers need to be compensated for their losses.

3. U.S. lawmakers receive substantial pressure from Israel and Jewish lobbying groups. This discourages the United States from stopping Israelis who are harming Palestinians. The United States consistently uses its privilege at the United Nations to shield Israel from international condemnation and to spare Israel from living up to international law.

4. The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions National Committee, as the name suggests, is calling for boycotts, sanctions, and divestment in pursuit of justice for both Israelis and Palestinians.

5. The church in the Holy Land is calling on Christian denominations to stop investing their pension funds in businesses that do harm to Palestinians. The suffering of Palestinians sabotages the potential for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians.

6. The United States’ veto power in the United Nations Security Council is on Israel’s side. Forty-five years of negotiation with Israel has failed to bring peace and justice to the Palestinians.

7. Injustice to Palestinians has become the main topic of Jewish and Christian dialogue. Christians must send a prophetic message to Israel that we will not abandon the Palestinian people at this time.

8. Keeping the poor under economic oppression is the first cause of violence, wars, and terrorism. Divestment offers a nonviolent approach.

9. Christians sin against Palestinians through investing in companies that cause Palestinians to suffer. This behavior does not encourage the Israelis to commit to peace or justice.

Darrell Mitchell is a minister in the United Methodist Church and serves on Iowa Peace Network's Joint Oversight Committee.


  1. Wow, what a biased article. Stop blaming the jewish people for a situation not perpetuated by Israel. The former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was friendly with Hitler and could hardly wait for him to bring the holocaust to the mideast. The British also made a mess of the mideast. Jordan is 77% of original Palestine but the Brits installed the Hashemites to control Jordan for their help in defeating the Ottoman Empire. In September of 1970 more than 10,000 Palestinians were killed in Jordan. The jewish people only have a small part of what should be their land and the anti-semites will not be happy until the jewish people are all murdered. For over 45 years it has been the hostile arab neighbors who have thwarted peace. History has proven that jewish people are not safe in Europe or anywhere else regardless of the good citizenship and contributions to humanity that they have made. The jewish people should not give in to propaganda and hate disguised as moderation. No other mideast country allows its citizens the level of freedom one finds in Israel, and that includes people of all faiths. Good luck openly practicing any faith other than Islam in any arab nation.

  2. Excellent post. It is surprising that many American Christians actively support the murder of Christians (and Muslims) in Palestine. Do they not consider Arab Christians as their brothers?
    Some people seem to forget that the Israeli military routinely targets Christians including attacks on/near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.