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The Coalition for Responsible Peace in the Middle East's footnoted version of Sabeel's “A Call for Morally Responsible Investment: A Nonviolence Response to the Occupation" highlights the misinformation, half truths and gross exaggerations within Sabeel's resolution. 

A CALL FOR MORALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT:

A Nonviolent Response to the Occupation

The movement towards a resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict through nonviolent means is now accelerating. There is a window of opportunity to reach a just settlement. In spite of past setbacks and much skepticism, many people on both sides of the conflict cling to the hope for peace. As people of faith, the God we believe in is the God of hope and peace. We must not give in to despair.

Regardless of whether this new opportunity bears fruit in the political arena, we believe that serious ethical and moral issues pertaining to the occupation still need to be addressed by people of faith. [1] Hence the challenge is for churches to consider seriously the issue of morally responsible investment. [2]

Political Background

The State of Israel was established in 1948 on 78% of historic Palestine [3] leading to the displacement of most of its Palestinian inhabitants, [4] who became refugees. [5] Since 1967, Israel has occupied the Palestinian territories – the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. [6] This area constitutes approximately 22% of historic Palestine [7] and has a population of almost four million people. [8] During this period, Israel has consistently refused to implement United Nations Resolutions and International Law. Israel stands in violation of over 60 UN resolutions and has been protected by a United States veto over 30 times. [9]

For many years the Palestinians rejected the establishment of the state of Israel because it was founded on the denial and violation of Palestinians’ rights. [10] In 1988, and for the sake of peace, the Palestinian National Council accepted UN Resolution 242, thus clearly expressing its willingness to recognize the state of Israel provided it withdraw from all the occupied territories. [11]

Similarly, in 2002 the Beirut Arab League Summit officially extended full recognition to Israel on condition that it withdraw from all occupied Arab land. Israel rejected the offer without even considering it officially [12]

We believe that peace is not only possible but within reach. The peace we are talking about guarantees the security and territorial integrity of the state of Israel within its 1967 borders and allows the Palestinians to establish their own independent and sovereign state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem will have to be shared and all other issues can find appropriate solutions based on international law. [13]

Moral Reasons for Responsible Investment

Sabeel is a Christian organization. [14] As such, it emphasizes the importance of faithfulness to God – the God of love, justice, mercy, and peace. [15] All people are created in God’s image and are loved equally and unconditionally. [16] We also believe that the creator God has sanctified humanity through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The dignity of every human being is precious in the eyes of God.

Furthermore, God in Christ has given us life. “…in him was life, and the life was the light of all people” (John 1:4). God’s will for all people is, therefore, to have life and to have it “more abundantly.” Jesus said, “I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness” (John 10:10). For people to enjoy life in its fullness, they must live in peace and justice, in dignity and harmony with each other. [17] Their God-given human worth must be respected. We must do everything we can to remove any obstacles that prevent human beings from achieving life in its fullness. God must be sovereign over all aspects of our lives including our politics, work, and investments.

From this faith perspective, we call attention to the ethical and moral imperatives that must guard and guide all people and institutions including governments. As people of faith we see them expressed in biblical injunctions such as “Love your neighbor as yourself ” (Mark 12:31) and “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you”(Matthew 7:12). We also believe that the best embodiments of such principles as they apply in the international arena are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, which includes the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as other universally accepted principles of international law protecting human rights and human dignity.

There are multiple examples of violations of human rights in the Israel-Palestine conflict. [18] International Humanitarian Law specifies that people living under occupation (like the Palestinians on the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem) [19] must be protected until the occupation comes to an end. [20] It is illegal to build on or confiscate their land. It is illegal to kill or harm innocent civilians (whether Palestinian or Israeli). It is forbidden to employ collective punishment, degrading treatment and torture. [21] It is illegal to transfer parts of an occupying powers’ civilian population into occupied territories. [22] International Law also forbids the acquisition of territory through war. [23]

From the standpoint of faith, we believe that we must recognize and name the evils that are facing the peoples of Israel-Palestine on both sides of the conflict. [24] We must act responsibly under God. God calls us to value all people and stand up for all who are suffering and oppressed regardless of their nationality. Such a stand leads us to responsible stewardship in the investments we make as individuals, churches, institutions and corporations. As Christians we object to all those who carry out violent, unethical, immoral, and illegal actions. [25] We have a God-given responsibility to act. At a minimum, we cannot ourselves participate even indirectly in supporting and enabling unjust policies.

In this context, therefore, we need to consider the following:

  1. Earning money through investment in companies whose products and services are used in such a way as to violate International Law and human rights is equivalent to profiting from unlawful acts and from the oppression of others.
  2. Investment in such companies can be seen as condoning the harm of innocent civilians under occupation and the illegal Israeli settlement policies that lead to human rights violations. [26]
  3. Investment in such companies enables the government of Israel to sustain the ongoing violation of human rights of innocent civilians. [27]
  4. Continuing such investments, once the facts are brought to our attention, constitutes deliberate condoning of the evil practices.

[God] judges the nations with justice.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed

a place of safety in times of trouble…

God remembers those who suffer;

He does not forget their cry,

and he punishes those who wrong them…

The needy will not always be neglected;

the hope of the poor will not be crushed forever”

(Psalm 9:8-9, 12, 18).

The Legal Call for Morally Responsible Investment

Harm against all innocent civilians is unjustified and a serious violation of human rights. According to International Law countries are not allowed to cause harm to populations under their control. The de-development, impoverishment, and hardships inflicted on the Palestinians as an occupied people cannot be ignored. [28] Our goal is to insist on Israel’s compliance with international and humanitarian law. [29] Morally responsible investment is a means of enacting our obligation to prevent any assistance or participation in the violations of these basic human rights. All those who believe in a just resolution to the conflict also have an ethical duty to prevent unlawful harm to civilians.

  • It is clearly demonstrated that Israel, in its continued occupation and the practices associated with the occupation, is in open violation of International Law and specifically the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. [30] Violations of these articles, specifically the grave breaches (Art. 147) have been defined as war crimes.

Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 ( to which Israel is a signatory) states:

Article 1: The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.

Article 27: Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults and public curiosity. [31]

Article 47: Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced, as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory. [32]

Article 147: Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the present Convention: willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power, or willfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention, taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. [33]

  • Out of this follows the concept of Ownership Responsibility. Within the structure of corporations, shareholders are theoretically the true owners of a corporation and are ultimately responsible, legally, politically and morally, for the actions of the corporation, which are done on their behalf, for their benefit and in their name.

No shareholders can avoid legal or moral responsibility once the issue has been brought to their attention. If they cannot direct the management of a company to change its actions, they are still responsible for such actions as long as they own shares. When the church controls through its pension funds and investments large numbers of shares, its impact can be significant.

When the company is involved in violations of International Law -- child labor, pornography, apartheid practices, or settlement building [34] -- the owners (shareholders) are morally responsible. To the extent they cannot prevail on the other shareholders and the management to end their evil practices, they must divest and seek other investments that are more in line with their beliefs. Even if such action is numerically insignificant, it is morally essential in terms of the witness of the church itself.

  • In 2004, the International Court of Justice reaffirmed these requirements of humanitarian law and stated again that the building of the Wall [35] violates international law, and has called on the international community to refrain from assisting these violations in any way. [36]

Until the international community takes up its legal responsibility and its obligations to put an end to these violations, organizations and individuals are required, at a minimum, to refrain from giving any material or political support. Therefore the duty to withdraw any existing support becomes a legal obligation under the provisions of the law.

The International Court of Justice Ruling on the Wall (July 9, 2004) states:

Construction of the wall within the Occupied Territories severely impedes on the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and is therefore a breach of Israel's obligation to respect that right.

The International Court of Justice announced that all states are under an obligation:

· not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the Wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction. (Passed by a vote of 13 to 2)

· to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in the Convention. (Passed by a vote of 13 to 2)

· to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the Wall and the associated régime, taking due account of the present Advisory Opinion. (Passed by a vote of 14 to 1)

We are concerned about the delegitimization of International Law that Israel models when it ignores the International Court of Justice, the Geneva Conventions and United Nations resolutions. [37] The potential for these institutions and laws to resolve conflicts is weakened globally when one party chooses to selectively ignore its rulings .

We recognize that regardless of our position on the political resolution, we should not permit ourselves to have any involvement to facilitate or provide resources that would be used to inflict unlawful harm on people. This is a general principle that we stand for universally.

Bringing an End to Israel’s Illegal and Immoral Behavior [38]

African National Congress President Oliver Tambo said in 1987 at the height of the system of apartheid: [39] “trade and foreign investment have bolstered the apartheid economy and added to the resources which apartheid State has recklessly wasted in the pursuit of inhuman schemes….Furthermore this trade and investment has enabled the apartheid economy to fund ever increasing expenditure on the State’s coercive machinery which is aimed at internal repression and external aggression; and the flow of technology from outside helps to refine that apartheid machinery and make it more efficient….These international connections have helped sustain, and continue to sustain the apartheid system.”

Currently a system of international economic support for the occupation exists as multinational corporations build franchises in the occupied territories, supply military goods, [40] and provide material for the construction of the settlements and Separation Wall. [41] Although numerous U.N. resolutions have been passed and many countries have pleaded with Israel to change its policies, the “facts on the ground” of occupation grow worse year by year. The goal to end the occupation has never seemed farther away. [42]

At this point in time, having assessed the international community’s failure to persuade Israel to comply with the United Nations and the International Court of Justice, we must look at other options. Around the world people are beginning to speak of selective divestment from Israel as a method of creating the change that is needed. [43] One Israeli human rights lawyer, Shamai Leibovitz, put it succinctly: [44] “As an Israeli thoroughly familiar with Israeli politics, I believe that selective economic pressure is the most effective way to end the brutal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and bring peace and security to Israelis and Palestinians. If the Jewish people are ever to become ‘a light of all nations’ (Isaiah 42:6) and return to their core values of justice and human dignity, Israelis and Jews of conscience must call now for effective measures to end the occupation of millions of Palestinians.”

Sabeel believes that the divestment issue opens up a larger conversation about the immorality of occupation [45] that has not been emphasized enough in the past. In its statement, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) [46] calls for sanctions: “The moral dimension led to a delegitimization of the very apartheid system that left no room for ‘reform’. Carried over to Israel’s Occupation, the moral element in a larger political condemnation of Israel’s policies could delegitimize the Occupation to the point where only its complete end is acceptable. A campaign of sanctions which highlights the moral unacceptability of Israel’s Occupation could have a great impact, eventually impelling governments to impose economic sanctions while creating a climate difficult for businesses (beginning with Caterpillar) to continue function.” (www.icahd.org)

As responsible owners and investors, the churches have multiple economic options. The dictionary defines divestment as “to free of,” “to sell off,” “to dispossess”. Today, there are many methods of investment and divestment including these five strategies:

1. Avoidance strategy, i.e. avoiding investment in companies on moral grounds.

2. Involvement strategy, i.e. exercising influence and pressure on companies and corporations in shareholder meetings to actively promote moral and social responsibility and accountability.

3. Alternative strategy or selective investment, i.e. establishing alternative investment funds that promote justice and peace.

4. Withdrawal strategy, i.e. simply pulling investments on moral grounds.

5. Reinvestment strategy, i.e. moving the money on moral grounds from investments in corporations complicit of wrongdoing to organizations that engage in morally responsible business, or to reinvest in the organization or company after positive change occurs.

What Methods Does Sabeel Recommend?

As the next logical step, we encourage morally responsible investment along the lines of the above mentioned points, which basically translates into selective divestment -- the model that has been advocated by the World Council of Churches, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church (USA), as well as other organizations working for a just peace in the region. [47] As the U.S.-based organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, [48] states: “At JVP, we fully support selective divestment from companies that profit from Israel's occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. This includes American companies like Caterpillar who profit from the wholesale destruction of Palestinian homes and orchards. It also includes Israeli companies who depend on settlements for materials or labor or who produce military equipment used to violate Palestinian human rights.” ( www.jewishvoicefor peace.org)

1. Therefore, Sabeel calls on churches to exert pressure on companies and corporations to discontinue business activities that:

a. provide products, services or technology that sustain, support or maintain the occupation; [49]

b. have established facilities or operations on occupied land

c. provide products, services, or financial support for the establishment, expansion, or maintenance of settlements on occupied land or settlement related infrastructure;

d. provide products, services or financial backing to groups that commit violence against innocent civilians; or

e. provide finances or assist in the construction of Israel's separation wall or settlement infrastructure.

(adapted from the criteria set by the Presbyterian Church USA)

2. When such pressures fail to yield positive results, Sabeel calls on churches to divest/disinvest from companies and corporations that do not respond and comply with morally responsible investment and business practices.

“We do not believe that such investment plans are, by their very nature either anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli. On the contrary, the Occupation is destroying Israeli society by increasing poverty, violence, and insecurity. Therefore actions that oppose the Occupation are, in fact, pro-Israeli. Furthermore, we believe that such actions are in keeping with our vision of a Judaism that is based on the principle of justice.” [50]

Not in My Name Statement of Support for Selective Divestment (http://www.nimn.org)

Obstacles and Challenges Facing the Churches

Blessed are you when people revile you and speak all manner of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad for great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way were the prophets persecuted before you (Matthew 5:11-12).

There are obstacles that make it difficult for some churches to carry out divestment even when it is particular to companies operating in, benefiting from or financing the occupation, companies that are aiding and abetting activities prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

Supporters of Israel’s illegal practices will offer several challenges to the churches to which Sabeel offers the following responses:

1. Apologists will argue that historical, psychological, biblical, theological, and even social reasons make it difficult for many western Christians to confront the unjust policies of the government of Israel. The evil of anti- Semitism, which has marred Christian-Jewish relations, still looms strong and the tragedy of the Holocaust remains a source of guilt for many Christians. [51]

Sabeel's response:

We are promoting the same values as those who struggle against anti-Semitism. [52] No group of people, simply due to their ethnicity or nationality, should be excluded from the protections of International Law. [53] Morally responsible investment is a Christian imperative and a nonviolent method aimed at ending the illegal occupation. [54] We are calling for divestment from targeted companies that benefit from the violation of human rights and refuse to alter their behavior once confronted. This pressure must continue until the occupation ends.

We must advocate for upholding International Law specifically because these laws were designed to protect all civilians. It is precisely because we care about the legacy of the Holocaust [55] and other international violations of human rights that we strongly believe that when we see indiscriminate violations of International Law, we must take a moral stand.

2. Apologists will ask church officials who are critical of Israel’s violations of International Law to enter with them into dialogue that drags on and on . All kinds of justifications, excuses, and rationales are presented which can create fear and reluctance within Christians and result in undermining their initial commitment.

Sabeel's response:

Sabeel takes this stand for morally responsible investment in an effort to create a real dialogue about peace with justice. [56] We ask churches to have "clean hands" and to stop supporting proven violations of International Law that have been well-documented by both Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations in the last 38 years. ( www.btselem.org ; www.hamoked.org.il ; www.alhaq.org ; www.pchrgaza.org ) [57]

Learning the facts is important. Engaging in dialogue is useful – but the best dialogue is done from an informed perspective with a goal of bringing the suffering to an end. Sabeel provides opportunities to visit and learn first-hand about the impact of the occupation on the daily life of the Palestinians. ( www.sabeel.org ) [58]

3. Apologists will bring up the question of Palestinian violence. [59] They claim that if the Palestinians would stop their “terrorism,” there could be peace and security.

Sabeel's response: [60]

The use of violence against civilians represents the problematic proliferation of contempt for the basic tenets of International Law in the area. Putting an end to violence against civilians requires addressing both the state and individual violence in the region and all responsible parties.

Sabeel decries all violent acts against civilians and has made that clear in previous statements that are available on line ( www.sabeel.org ). [61] At the same time both Palestinian and Israeli civilians have the same human rights to security as all people and Sabeel stands by and for their inherent rights. Our call for morally responsible investment includes divesting from any organization or corporation that supports or promotes in any way violence against civilians. [62]

The government of Israel has shown no intention or effort to date of complying with International Law. [63] The international community and the leading powers, for their own political reasons, have been unwilling to enforce International Humanitarian Law. [64] Therefore, it is left for us as faith communities to do what our political representatives are not doing on our behalf. Violations of human rights can never be justified.

4. Apologists, in all probability, will use the Christian Zionist voice against the mainline churches in an attempt to discredit them and to show that millions of Christians accept and approve of Israel’s actions which violate International Law.

Sabeel's response:

Standing alone for justice is not new for Christians. We may be a voice in the wilderness but when we act out of the conviction of our faith then mountains can be moved.

Sabeel understands that within every denomination comes a wide variety of perspectives on the conflict. A decision like this can and will cause denominational disagreement. Yet, we encourage churches to use this process of discussing morally responsible investment to better understand both the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict and our obligation to live by ethical standards with our resources. The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) has prepared an informational DVD that can be used as a congregational resource (see www.pcusa.org ).

5. It is likely, due to the various types of pressure that will be placed on a church that takes this step, that most churches may be tempted to back down or dilute their divestment strategy to an extent that would make it ineffective.

Sabeel's response:

As Christians we have to ask ourselves if statements are all that we can give as help to resolve this conflict. It is time to take a clear stand for human rights and dignity. If the rules of International Law were adopted by Israel, there would be an automatic resolution to the conflict and a just settlement would emerge. [65] While we understand the political dimension, our clear stand as Christians comes from our belief in the dignity and well-being of all people. Too many precious children of God, Palestinians and Israelis, have been lost due to our unwillingness to forthrightly address the moral issues.

6. Many will ask, “Why target divestment of firms actively engaged in violations of International Law in Israel rather than of firms actively engaged in violations of International Law in China or Saudi Arabia?”

Sabeel's response:

If, for example, a firm is complicit in violation of child or prison labor, U.S. and E.U. law boycotts those firms. If a firm violates standards for trade, they are subject to countermeasures by governments. When the U.S. or the E.U. is not diligent, then movements of conscience step in and press for such action, while carrying out their own citizen actions – boycotting or targeting firms that are especially complicit. To some degree, these other countries are being acknowledged and pressured for their human rights violations by the U.S. and the international community already. Unlike Israel, they are not being protected or insulated from the application of International Law. . [66] The Security Council has been prevented, again and again through the U.S. veto, from taking action against the acknowledged violations by Israel of International Law.

We at Sabeel encourage churches to put pressure on and/or divest from any and all companies and corporations that are involved in practices that violate human rights. It is important to note that our call for morally responsible investment is specifically focused on companies directly involved in illegal practices in the Occupied Territories and not in Israel itself.

Sabeel believes that any divestment must be done from moral obligation – the same moral obligation that obliges us to struggle against and separate ourselves from anti-Semitism. [67] The blessing that is promised in the Sermon on the Mount is for those who are falsely accused. We must be sure that we are acting solely as a result of moral constraints.

A Call to the Churches

“In the center stands faith, on the periphery you have works; in the center the gospel, politics on the periphery; in the center salvation, on the periphery the well being of our neighbor. Between the center and the periphery our human life revolves, on the periphery is decided and revealed what has happened at the center.”

Helmut Gollwitzer

The mainline churches in the West have, by and large, maintained a very balanced position vis-à-vis the Palestine/Israel conflict. On the one hand, they have always affirmed Israel’s right to exist. [68] On the other hand, they have been clear that Israel must withdraw from all territories that it occupied in the 1967 war and allow the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

The churches repeatedly and categorically have stood on the side of a just peace for the Palestinians in accordance with UN resolutions and International Law. [69] International, regional, and national councils of churches around the world have asserted this same position. Through their statements and representations, the churches were encouraging their national governments to pressure Israel to implement International Law, all to no avail. Indeed, the international community has been helpless to prevail upon Israel to halt its oppression of the Palestinians. [70]

As churches examine their own investment policies and show willingness to take moral and ethical investment decisions, they pick up where the political global community has failed to date. It is important to demonstrate by our own example that, just as we are prepared to bear burdens to maintain our own respect for international law, so Israel must accept these same burdens. Churches, by moving from statements to direct action and adopting appropriate financial policies that are in line with their moral and theological stance, create an example for the international community, even if it means incurring and absorbing some financial loss.

We applaud the decision of the World Council of Churches Central Committee, meeting in February 2005, which called on the churches to:

  • encourage member churches to work for peace in new ways and to give serious consideration to economic measures that are equitable, transparent and non-violent;
  • persuade member churches to keep in good contact with sister churches embarking on such initiatives with a view to support and counsel one another;
  • urge the establishment of more and wider avenues of engagement between Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities pursuing peace;
  • remind churches with investment funds that they have an opportunity to use those funds responsibly in support of peaceful solutions to conflict. Economic pressure, appropriately and openly applied, is one such means of action.

“The end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century, but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure – in particular the divestment movement of the 1980s. Divestment from apartheid South Africa was fought by ordinary people at the grassroots. Faith-based leaders informed their followers, union members pressured their companies’ stockholders and consumers questioned their store owners. Students played an especially important role by compelling universities to change their portfolios. Eventually, institutions pulled the financial plug, and the South African government thought twice about its policies. Similar moral and financial pressures on Israel are being mustered one person at a time. If apartheid ended, so can this occupation, but the moral force and international pressure will have to be just as determined. The current divestment effort is the first, though certainly not the only, necessary move in that direction.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

A Call from Palestinian Christians

The Palestinian Christian community in Palestine is very small in number. We are less than 2% of the population. [71] Although we are fully Palestinian and an integral part of the Palestinian people, we are distinctly Christian.

Since the inception of the conflict one hundred years ago, the Christian community has been playing a very active role in championing justice for all the people of the land. In fact, some of the main advocates for peace have been Palestinian Christians. [72] We continue to take a stand on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Palestine so that all of us can enjoy freedom.

Although we work for peace alongside our Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters, we are blessed by our links and partnership with a “great cloud of witnesses” throughout the world that, like us, are members of the Body of Christ. Biblically and theologically we stand together:

  • For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body (1Corinthians 12:12-13).
  • If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it (1Corinthians 12:26).
  • We are called by God to work for justice: He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).
  • We are called by Christ to work for peace: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9).

We are, therefore, pleading with our brothers and sisters all over the world to invest their God-given material resources in morally responsible activities that would contribute to the achievement of a just peace in Israel-Palestine. Furthermore, we ask them to continue to pray for all the inhabitants of our land so that peace will be achieved and the way for reconciliation will be opened. We are reminded of the words of the Latin American theologian, Leonardo Boff: “If we want to serve the true God, we must break out of the circle of self-absorption and pay heed to the bloodied faces of our fellow human beings. If we do not share life with the oppressed, we do not share life with God.”

A Closing Prayer for Guidance

Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center

PO Box 49084

91491 Jerusalem

sabeel@sabeel.org


Resources for further study: [73]

Christian Statements:

  • World Council of Churches Central Committee minute: www.oikoumene.org/GEN_PUB_5_Second_report_o.779.0.html#1573
  • Episcopal Church in the United States of America: www.episcopalchurch.org*
  • Global Ministries [the Common Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ] document "The Palestinians, Israel, and the Churches' Economic Leverage": http://www.globalministries.org/
  • Presbyterian Church (USA) Statements on Ending the Occupation and Divestment: www.pcusa.org/israelandjewishrelations/divestment.htm
  • HOPP Campaign for a Just Peace in the Middle East, End the Occupation of Palestine, Sweden. www.svenskakyrkan.se/HOPP . **
  • The Network of Christian Organizations in Bethlehem district (NCOB) Statement (www.holylandtrust.org)

Jewish Statements:

  • Israel Coalition against House Demolition Call for Sanctions: www.icahd.org
  • Not in My Name Statement in support of Selective Divestment: www.nimn.org
  • Jewish Voice for Peace in support of divestment: www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org
  • European Jews for a Just Peace statement on illegality of settlement products: www.ejjp.org
  • New Profile: Movement for the Civilization of Israeli Society: www.newprofile.org ** *

For a complete list of products manufactured in illegal Israeli settlements: www.gush-shalom.org

For additional information on the struggle against the occupation: www.endtheoccupation.org

*Episcopal Church in the United States has stated the following:

It is the intent of the Social Responsibility in Investments Committee to undertake the following:

· Over the next twelve months, SRI will investigate what corporate actions (including corporate dialogues and shareholder resolutions) might be appropriate with (1) companies that contribute to the infrastructure of Israel's ongoing occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and (2) companies that have connections to organizations responsible for violence against Israel.

  • In doing this work, SRI will work in partnership with the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East and with the Anglican Peace and Justice Network, the latter of which is preparing a report for the Anglican Consultative Council in June 2005. It will also seek dioceses and congregations that may be interested in being partners in corporate actions designed to promote peace in the Middle East.
  • In doing this work, SRI will also seek input from the wider church, from ecumenical and interfaith partners (including the American Jewish community), and from Jewish and Palestinian groups in the Middle East.
  • SRI will report back to the Executive Council with recommendations on this work at its October 2005 meeting.

The Social Responsibility in Investments Committee—which while monitoring what other church bodies like the Presbyterian Church (USA) are doing, understands that its primary responsibility is to implement existing Episcopal Church policies—will interact with as many groups as possible to better understand the underlying issues and how corporate actions in the Middle East may be impediments to peace. Further, the emphasis of this process is not likely to be divestment from companies whose actions are morally questionable, but rather engagement with them. In so doing, the Episcopal Church is acting in ways consistent with its own policy statements on the Middle East, with our participation in the wider Anglican Communion, and its call to peacemaking in the world.

**Christian Council of Sweden has appealed to their member churches and their aid organisations to participate in the campaign, Support a Just Peace in the Middle East - End the Occupation of Palestine. Many churches and organisations support this campaign, among them Caritas, Diakonia, Evangelical Alliance, Swedish Organisation for Individual Relief (SOIR), YWCA-YMCA, The Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation, Student Sweden Christian Movement, Church of Sweden, Church of Sweden Women, Mission Covenant Church of Sweden and Baptist union of Sweden. The Swedish campaign is a response from churches and Christian organisations in Sweden to the invitation from the World Council of Churches to work towards an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The campaign includes:

· Co-ordinated, focused work to raise opinion and lobbying

· Support for the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme, EAPPI.

· Exerting political pressure to make the EU suspend its free trade agreement with Israel.

· Specific action: Boycotting produce from the illegal settlements on occupied territory.

*** New Profile aims to transform Israel from a highly militaristic society to a civilian society dedicated to equality of gender and ethnicity and firmly based on universal human rights. [74]
One of several characteristics of militarism is the use of force to obtain political objectives. New Profile deems Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians to be a use of force to obtain the political objective of creating the ‘greater Israel.’
New Profile opposes the Occupation on three counts:
1. Its destruction of Palestinian life, society, land, and property.
2. Its role in maintaining militarism in Israel.
3. Its erosion of Israel’s socio-economic and moral fabric.

We therefore seek non-violent means of ending this catastrophic Occupation. One such means is using economic sanctions to pressure the government to change its policy. To this end New Profile welcomes and supports selective divestment aimed at divesting from companies that contribute to the continuation of the Occupation by supplying arms, other equipment, or staff.

We welcome all such endeavors, believing firmly that ending the occupation is not only to the benefit of the Palestinians but also necessary for the welfare of Israel, its youth, and future generations. Over 20,000 Israeli soldiers have died in its wars since 1948. Enough. It is time to beat our swords into ploughshares, to bring security to Israel by giving the Palestinians their freedom and recognizing their absolute right to exist, and to build a future for today’s Israeli youth and generations to come by creating a civilian society whose underpinnings are equality of gender and ethnicity and universal human rights.

New Profile: Movement for the Civilization of Israeli Society




[1] ,”we believe that serious ethical and moral issues pertaining to the occupation still need to be addressed by people of faith.”

This claim is deceptive. The ‘occupation’—Israel’s administration of the Territories—has been coming to end. By 1996, 98% of Palestinians were self-governing under the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the PA governed 40% of the West Bank and over 80% of the Gaza Strip and all of the major population centers in the Territories. Israel redeployed to these areas only to combat the terrorist war unleashed in September 2000. In August 2005, Israel withdrew from the rest of Gaza and uprooted all Jewish residents of the area. To suggest the ‘occupation’ is ongoing and has not changed is misleading.

Peace cannot come if “people of faith” don’t address the remaining obstacles to peace: anarchy in the PA and the terrorist groups that claim, as Hamas military leader Muhammad Deif did on a tape released August 27 2005, that they will not be satisfied until Israel is destroyed. "I talk to you today thanking God for his support for our people’s jihad (holy war) and for the liberation of our beloved Gaza Strip. I pray to God to assist us in liberating Jerusalem, the West Bank, Acre, Haifa, Jaffa, Safed, Nazareth, Ashkelon and the rest of Palestine." Reported in Jerusalem Post at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1125022806787&p=1101615860782

[2] Hence the challenge is for churches to consider seriously the issue of morally responsible investment.”

This claim is deceptive. This document does not call for a comprehensive policy of morally responsible investment. Rather, it is a call for divestment from only one country in the world—Israel—and it condemns the alleged human rights abuses of only one nation in the world—Israel. It is a transparent political effort to get Christian churches to support a radical Palestinian agenda and to join the economic boycott that Arab states have maintained against Israel since 1948, long before the ‘occupation’ began.

[3] The State of Israel was established in 1948 on 78% of historic Palestine.

There was no “historic Palestine.” Palestine was created by the Allies and the League of Nations in 1920 when they also carved other Middle Eastern nations out of the defeated Ottoman Empire. The Mandate roughly followed the borders of ancient Israel and was designated as the Jewish homeland.

“There is no such country [as Palestine]. Palestine is a term the Zionists invented!….Our country for centuries was part of Syria.” Local Arab leader Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, to the Peel Commission in 1937. [3]

“Palestine had belonged before the war to the Ottoman Empire. The country had been conquered, not by Arabs of Palestine, but by the Allies, and had finally been ceded to the Allies and not to the Arabs. Since 1517, Palestine had been under the rule of the Turks. There could be no reference, therefore, to an Arab nation in Palestine, nor could it be claimed that the territory formed part of the patrimony of that nation.” Minutes of the Permanent Mandates Commission, 16th (Extraordinary) Session June 30 1930

“[T]he sympathy of the Palestinian Arabs with their kinsmen in Syria had been plainly shown….Both peoples clung to the principle that Palestine was part of Syria and should never have been cut off from it.” Peel Commission 1937.

Israel’s boundaries in 1950 comprised 17.5%, not 78%, of the former Palestine Mandate. Arabs controlled 82.5% of the Mandate.

78% of the Mandate lands had been given exclusively to Arabs in 1922 in what became Jordan. Jews were forbidden to settle there. The other 4.5%—the West Bank and Gaza—was captured by Jordan and Egypt in the 1948 War.

In actual practice, two mandates were being applied, one to Palestine and the other to Trans-Jordan, the latter being comprised in the former; but while Trans-Jordanians might go freely into Palestine, Jews were not allowed to settle in Trans-Jordan.” “Minutes of the Thirty-Fourth Session” of the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission June 18 1935 ( http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/ea08ec2300e1e17c052565ef006425ba!OpenDocument)

[4] The State of Israel was established in 1948… leading to the displacement of most of its Palestinian inhabitants….”

The establishment of Israel did not displace a single Palestinian Arab or create refugees. The war that Arab states launched against the newly established state just hours after it declared its independence in 1948 caused these dislocations. Israel assured Arabs who remained in its borders that they could become full citizens: 160,000 Arabs remained in what became Israel.

In 1947 when the UN recommended partitioning the remaining Mandate to create an Arab state alongside a Jewish state, the Jews accepted the compromise. Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948 and welcomed all Arabs living in its UN-recommended borders as citizens. “ We yet call upon the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to return to the ways of peace and play their part in the development of the State, with full and equal citizenship and due representation in its bodies and institutions - provisional or permanent.” (Israel Declaration of Independence at http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/israel.htm )

Palestinian Arab and other Arab leaders angrily rejected the compromise and chose to get on the battlefield what they could not get from the world community: 100% of the remaining Mandate. Like most wars, the war they launched and lost created dislocations.

“We are solidly and permanently determined to fight to the last man against the existence in our country of any Jewish state, no matter how small it is…If such a state is to be established, it can only be established over our dead bodies.” Jamal al-Husseini, Vice President of the Arab Higher Committee, the effective government of the Palestinian Arabs. November 1947

“Powerful interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the resolution of the General Assembly and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged therein.” UN Palestine Commission Report, Feb. 16, 1948 ( Security Council Official Records, S/Agenda/58 April 16, 1948)

[5] “who became refugees”

Arabs were not the only refugees created by the war they launched against the newly established state of Israel in 1948. No Jews were allowed to remain in the Mandate areas that fell to the Arabs even though 160,000 Arabs remained in what became Israel. Middle Eastern states also disgorged their Jews, though many had lived in these areas for millennia, even before the Moslem invasions of the 7th century. Within a few years, 800,000 Jews from Middle Eastern countries became refugees, stripped of their wealth and citizenship. Israel, still recovering from the devastation caused by the Arab war against them in 1948, resettled 650,000 of these refugees. The international community offered no assistance even though it had mobilized to create UNRWA to give funds and assistance to the Arab refugees of the 1948 War.

[6] “Since 1967, Israel has occupied the Palestinian territories – the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.”

Israel does not want to govern Palestinian Arabs and for 38 years has repeatedly sought a peaceful solution that would not compromise its security or the safety of its citizens.

Israel tried to end its ‘occupation’ in 1993. In high hopes about the Oslo Accords, Israel began withdrawing from major population centers in 1994 (Gaza and Jericho) and by 1997, 98% of Palestinian Arabs and all its cities were governed by the Palestinian Authority. Israel reoccupied several centers only in 2002, when the terrorist war launched in September 2000 peaked, with one and sometimes two suicide bombings occurring daily. As terrorism subsided, Israel withdrew from these centers.

Background about the’ Occupation:’ Israel never intended to take over the Territories which were considered Jordanian and Egyptian land between 1949 and 1967, not Palestinian land. It captured them in its defensive 1967 War when Arab states mobilized yet again to destroy the Jewish State and massacre Jews:

At the time of the outbreak of the 1967 War 250,000 Arab troops, more than 2,000 tanks and 700 aircraft ringed Israel. The Egyptian President proclaimed: “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight.” The Syrian defense minister ordered his troops to, “strike the enemy’s [civilian] settlements, turn them into dust, pave Arab roads with the skulls of Jews.” And the Prime Minister of Iraq predicted, “There would be practically no Jewish survivors.”

Israel hoped, just days after the war, to trade the captured lands for peace but Arab states adamantly rejected the offer. In their Khartoum Resolution and refused to end their goal of destroying Israel and killing Jews:

Eight Arab states gathered for a summit at Khartoum and issued their position statement: “[T]he main principles by which the Arab States abide, namely, no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it….” September 1 1967 (“The Khartoum Resolutions” September 1 1967, archived at http://www.hsje.org/histo_documents/khartoum%20resolution.htm)

When the aggressor states finally committed to ending hostilities and accepting Israel’s right to exist, Israel willingly traded land for peace.

· In 1979 Egypt made peace and Israel relinquished the Sinai which comprised 91% of the lands captured in 1967.

· In 1994, Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty.

· In 1993, Israel signed the Oslo Accords, trusting that Yasser Arafat and the PLO had reformed and were now willing to accept Israel’s existence and renounce terrorism. Unfortunately, neither Arafat nor the PLO lived up to these expectations.

"The agreements will not liberate the land. Every centimeter requires a struggle, and the land requires blood... We must continue the struggle for which the martyrs fell..." - Saher Habash, Fatah Central Committee member, speaking on behalf of Chairman Arafat. January 24, 1999. (Official PA newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, January 25, 1999)

"You understand that we plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian State. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion; the Jews will not want to live among us Arabs! I have no use for Jews. They are and remain Jews." - Yassir Arafat, speech to Arab diplomats in the Spiegel Salon at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden, Jan 30, 1996.

"The Oslo Accords were a Trojan horse; the strategic goal is the liberation of Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea." - Faisal Husseini, PA Administrator for Jerusalem Affairs, July 13, 2001.

[7] This area constitutes approximately 22% of historic Palestine…”

There was no “historic Palestine.” Palestine was created by the Allies and the League of Nations in 1920 when they also carved other Middle Eastern nations out of the defeated Ottoman Empire. The Mandate roughly followed the borders of ancient Israel and was designated as the Jewish homeland.

“There is no such country [as Palestine]. Palestine is a term the Zionists invented!….Our country for centuries was part of Syria.” Local Arab leader Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, to the Peel Commission in 1937. [7]

“Palestine had belonged before the war to the Ottoman Empire. The country had been conquered, not by Arabs of Palestine, but by the Allies, and had finally been ceded to the Allies and not to the Arabs. Since 1517, Palestine had been under the rule of the Turks. There could be no reference, therefore, to an Arab nation in Palestine, nor could it be claimed that the territory formed part of the patrimony of that nation.” Minutes of the Permanent Mandates Commission, 16th (Extraordinary) Session June 30 1930

Arabs currently govern 78% of the Mandate in the area that became Jordan; Israel has tried to give another 4.5% to Arabs through the Oslo Accords.

[8] The Palestinian Arab area “has a population of almost four million people”

There are not 4 million Arabs living in the PA. Recent research has found that the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) releases population statistics based on annual growth projections it made in 1997, not on actual birth and immigration records. The actual population is 1.5 million less than the PCBS has claimed, and is estimated to be 2.4 million. www.pademographics.com

[9] ”During this period, Israel has consistently refused to implement United Nations Resolutions and international laws… Israel stands in violation of over 60 UN resolutions and has been protected by a United States veto over 30 times.””

Israel has complied with UN Security Resolutions, which are binding.

However, it has not and cannot be expected to comply with the avalanche of anti-Israel resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly which, in any case, are not binding. Unfortunately, though the UN has admirable ideals, as the UN grew from 58 member states in 1948 to 191 members today, the block of Arab-Third World countries came to wield political power that permitted it to churn out resolution after resolution that promoted the Arab propaganda campaign against Israel and tried to delegitimize and destroy Israel by hijacking and perverting the language of human rights.

“I was very deeply shocked by the simple anti-Semitism that pervaded the place [the UN]….I felt for the first time in my life that I could understand how the Holocaust happened.” Jeanne Kirkpatrick, former US Ambassador to the UN under President Reagan. Speech October 2002.

“Indeed, the anti-Jewish campaign of the United Nations reached extraordinary heights at the United Nations Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance that convened in Durban, South Africa, just prior to September 11, 2001. In the words of one observer, "A coalition led by regimes that persecute their own people--and in some cases harbor international terrorists--sought by formal declaration to delegitimize the Jewish state, demonize its people, and mobilize a global movement against its existence as a country." Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse History News Network at http://hnn.us/articles/684.html

We [Muslims] are now 1.3 billion strong. We have the biggest oil reserve in the world. We have great wealth…We control 50 out of the 180 countries in the world. Our votes can make or break international organizations.” Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, Malaysian Prime Minister, Speech at Organization of the Islamic Conference, October 16 2003

The UN’s PLO observer “…can almost always get the majority to support ….his accusations, justified or not.” Jane Rosen, Manchester Guardian correspondent, New York Times Magazine, September 16, 1984

The UN’s anti-Semitic, anti-Israel bias is so rampant that a conference was finally called to address it, "Confronting Anti-Semitism” on June 24 2004. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, “Let us acknowledge that the United Nations' record on anti-Semitism has at times fallen short of our ideals….let us actively and uncompromisingly refute those…who continue to spread lies and vile stereotypes about Jews and Judaism….. And Jews everywhere must feel that the United Nations is their home.” Kofi Annan Remarks at UN Conference on “Confronting Anti-Semitism,” June 21 2004 at http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2004/webArticles/062104_sg_remarks.asp#

[10] The state of Israel…was founded on the denial and violation of Palestinians’ rights.”

To the contrary: The UN Partition Plan of 1947, which set the foundation for the Jewish state, offered to also create an Arab state in the region of Palestine though no such state had ever existed. It recognized and tried to fulfill the aspirations of Arabs and Jews in the Palestine Mandate. The Arabs rejected the opportunity because they did not want to share the land with Jews who had been an oppressed minority in the region.

“Palestine within its present borders, following a transitional period of two years from I September 1947, shall be constituted into an independent Arab State, an independent Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem….” UNSCOP Report 1947 Part A # 1

“The Governments of the Arab States emphasize, on this occasion, what they have already declared before the London Conference and the United Nations, that the only solution of the Palestine problem is the establishment of a unitary Palestinian State…” Statement by the Arab League States, May 15, 1948 (http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/History/alpart.html)

“We are solidly and permanently determined to fight to the last man against the existence in our country of any Jewish state, no matter how small it is…If such a state is to be established, it can only be established over our dead bodies.” Jamal al-Husseini, Vice President of the Arab Higher Committee, the effective government of the Palestinian Arabs. November 1947

[11] In 1988, and for the sake of peace, the Palestinian National Council accepted UN Resolution 242, thus clearly expressing its willingness to recognize the state of Israel provided it withdraw from all the occupied territories.”

In its November 1988 declarations, the Palestinian National Council did not fully accept Resolution 242 or fully recognize Israel’s right to exist. Finally, under pressure from the US and American peace groups, on December 7 1988, Yasser Arafat issued a statement accepting the Resolution, renounced terrorism and recognized Israel’s right to exist. No mention was made about Israel withdrawing from all the Territories. In accord with UN Resolution 242, borders were to be determined through bilateral negotiations. (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Terrorism/plotstate.html)

The sincerity of Arafat’s statement remained questionable, however.

The PLO had adopted the “Plan of Phases” in 1974 to destroy Israel in stages. It called for “ The acquisition of as much territory as possible using "all means," to establish an "independent combatant national authority" in that territory (Article 2) and “The continuation of the struggle against Israel using this territory as a base of operations” (Article 4). ( http://www.peacewithrealism.org/wmbdfp2.htm )

It is unclear whether the PLO ever renounced this plan. During the Oslo Accords, Yasser Arafat told Arab audiences that the Oslo Process “is the phased program which we all adopted in 1974 – why do you oppose it?” (Arafat interview with A-Dastur, September 19, 1995)

The PLO never amended its Charter to remove sections that called for Israel’s destruction and denied Israel’s right to exist despite its commitment to do so.

In his April 22 2004 interview with the Jordanian newspaper Al-Arab, the PLO minister still living in Tunisia Farouk Kaddoumi said that the PLO charter was never changed so as to recognize Israel's right to exist. "The Palestinian national charter has not been amended until now. It was said that some articles are no longer effective, but they were not changed. I'm one of those who didn't agree to any changes." He said also: "...the national struggle must continue. I mean the armed struggle...” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_Liberation_Organization )

[12] “…in 2002 the Beirut Arab League Summit officially extended full recognition to Israel on condition that it withdraw from all occupied Arab Land. Israel rejected the offer without even considering it officially.”

The Beirut Summit Declaration was not a serious or sincere peace initiative.

· The plan was never presented to Israel. When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon offered to attend the Summit to discuss the plan, Arab states refused. When Sharon invited Arab leaders to Jerusalem to discuss it, they also refused. (“PM to Saudis: Meet Us or No Deal,” Jerusalem Post, March 1 2002)

· The plan simply reiterated the same, extreme demands that Arabs had been making since 1949 and 1967, including Arab misinterpretations of Resolutions 194 and 242, demands for total Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights (though Syria refuses to negotiate with Israel) and even from Lebanon (although the UN had declared that Israel had already complied with UN resolutions and withdrawn fully from Lebanon), and called for recognition of the right of return, a principle that has never been applied to any other refugees. The proposal also violated the core principle of UN resolutions for peace: bilateral negotiations between Israel and the aggressor nations.

· The plan made no demands on Palestinians and did not denounce terrorism even though the Palestinians’ terrorist war had escalated during the very time the Saudis floated their proposal, with 119 successful terrorist attacks in the first 3 months of 2002. In March 2002 alone, 17 suicide bombers detonated themselves among innocent civilians. More Israelis were killed and severely wounded in these three months than in the whole of 2003: 177 were killed; 956 were wounded.

· The official Saudi media continued to spew virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel messages. For example, Saudi Shaykh Abd-al-Bari al-Thubayti calls on God to torture and destroy all the Jews in sermon broadcast on Saudi Gov't TV "O God, the Jews have transgressed all limits in their tyranny. O God, shake the ground under their feet, pour torture on them, and destroy all of them." (June 10 2002 at http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=12417

[13] . “The peace we are talking about…”

Israel already offered precisely these terms to Yasser Arafat at Camp David and Taba in 2000 and January 2001. Arafat rejected them.

In addition to 100% of the Gaza Strip, “There would be a net 97 percent of the [West Bank] territory that would go to the Palestinians… the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem would become the capitol of the Palestinian state… There would be a right of return for the refugees to their own state, not to Israel, but there would also be a fund of $30 billion internationally that would be put together for either compensation or to cover repatriation, resettlement, rehabilitation costs.” – Dennis Ross, Former US Envoy to the Middle East. ( www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,50830,00.html)

[14] “Sabeel is a Christian organization.”

Sabeel may be a Christian organization, but it is acting in a political capacity. It does not represent most Palestinian Christians, ignores the PA’s persecution of Palestinian Christians and is a conduit for exporting anti-Israel invective to Europe and North America.

Malcolm Lowe, an Anglican New Testament scholar living in Jerusalem wrote:

“Christians are fleeing from areas under Palestinian Muslim control. That is, if they have a chance. Money, secrecy and contacts abroad are needed, all available mainly to a small number of well-to-do people. Of these most have left. One exception is a small number of Christians in positions with highly developed intimate contacts to the PA and to Western Church leadership. These Christians defend the PA regime and proclaim friendship between Christians and Muslims. Their addressee is the Western mind, which responds to notions of liberation, sympathy for underdogs and anti-colonialism.”

[15] it emphasizes the importance of faithfulness to… – the God of love, justice, mercy, and peace.”

The Sabeel document is not a balanced examination of spiritual and moral issues or a call for conciliation, mercy and forgiveness: It is a transparently political document that tries to justify and win support for one side in a complex and tragic struggle and to demonize and dehumanize the other side .

[16] All people are created in God’s image and loved equally.”

This is a noble principle, but the Sabeel Center violates it. The Center’s founder, Anglican Canon Naim Ateek, regularly uses centuries-old Christian anti-Semitic imagery that portrays Jews as satanic God killers. The Sabeel Center’s views also add to the virulent Muslim anti-Semitism which grips the region.

“The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.” (Naim Ateek)

“They [the Jews] killed hundreds of prophets in one day, these bloodletters. Today, they are reviving the past of their forefathers, whom Allah transformed into apes and pigs.” Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris, sermon on PA television, March 2004.

[17] “For people to enjoy life in its fullness, they must live in peace and justice, in dignity and harmony with each other.”

This is a worthy ideal, but the demonization and dehumanization of Israel and Jews issued daily by official PA organs violates all these principles and has been a major obstacle to peace as it inflames and incites its population to violence and hatred.

“Israel's birth was unnatural, a Satanic offspring, and cannot exist among human beings. . . . It is not capable of existing naturally as other nations in the world." interview broadcast Feb. 6 on PATV, Ahmad Nasser, Secretary of the Palestinian Legislative Council, interview broadcast Feb. 6 2004 on PA TV (www.pmw.org.il)

"With the establishment of the state of Israel, the entire Islamic nation was lost, because Israel is a cancer spreading through the body of the Islamic nation, and because the Jews are a virus resembling AIDS, from which the entire world suffers….You will find that the Jews were behind all the civil strife in this world. The Jews are behind the suffering of the nations.” Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris, a paid employee of the PA. Sermon on PA television, May 17 2005 ( http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD90805 )

“The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world – except for the Jews. The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquility under our rule, because they are treacherous by nature, as they have been throughout history. The day will come when everything will be relived of the Jews - even the stones and trees which were harmed by them. Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew." Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris, a paid employee of the PA. Sermon on PA television, May 17 2005 ( http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD90805 )

“ Who will set the Muslim to rule over the Jew? Allah… Until the Jew hides behind the rock and the tree. But the rock and tree will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, a Jew hides behind me, come and kill him.' … Oh Allah, show the Jews a black day… Oh Allah, annihilate the Jews and their supporters… Oh Allah, raise the flag of Jihad across the land…” Shiekh Ibrahim Madhi, of 'Ijlin Mosque in Gaza, Sermon on PA Television. April 12 2002 at http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sr&ID=SR2403#_edn19

"O brother believers, the criminals, the terrorists - are the Jews… They are the ones who must be butchered and killed, as Allah the Almighty said: 'Fight them: Allah will torture them at your hands, and will humiliate them and will help you to overcome them… The Jews are like a [gas] pedal - as long as you step on it with your foot, it doesn't move, but if you lift your foot from it, it hurts you and punishes you. This is the case of the Jews." Dr. Ahmad Abu Halabiya, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan Mosque in Gaza, PA Television, October 13 2000. http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sr&ID=SR2403#_edn19

[18] “There are multiple examples of violations of human rights in the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

This document never identifies or denounces the human rights violations committed by the Palestinians.

Furthermore, this claim suffers from moral equivalence. Palestinians launched a terrorist war against Israel in September 2000. Terrorism, which targets innocent civilians for mass murder, violates the most fundamental human rights and moral codes. Israel has been forced to defend its citizens in this war. Its counterterrorism measures, which scrupulously try to protect the lives and well-being of innocent Palestinians, cannot be equated with the terrorists’ goal of murdering and maiming innocent Israelis.

· Between Sept 2000 and July 2005:

1058 ISRAELIS MURDERED—69% WERE CIVILIANS

7307 WOUNDED/CRIPPLED —69% WERE CIVILIANS

25,375 TERRORIST ATTACKS

(IDF Website, http://www1.idf.il/SIP_STORAGE/DOVER/files/7/21827.doc Haaretz, July 20 05 at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/602147.html

· The Palestinian policy of suicide bombing and attacking innocent civilians is a “crime against humanity,” according to Amnesty International: “[N]o violations by the Israeli government, no matter their scale or gravity, justify the [Palestinian] killing of…civilians. The obligation to protect civilians is absolute and cannot be set aside…The attacks against civilians by Palestinian armed groups are widespread, systematic and in pursuit of an explicit policy to attack civilians. They therefore constitute crimes against humanity under international law. They may also constitute war crimes….” Amnesty International. November 7, 2002

· Palestinian terrorist groups commit the worst human rights abuse—against their own children. They encourage—and even pay—children to blow themselves up or to participate in violent actions against Israelis. The Jerusalem Post reported that the Palestinian Authority is encouraging children to participate in clashes by offering their families $300 per injury and $2,000 for anyone killed. (Oct. 6, 2000 ) Palestinian Prime Minister, Abu Mazen, admitted to a Kuwaiti newspaper in June 2002 that Palestinian children have been paid 5 shekels (about $1) for every pipe bomb they throw. (Alzamin , June 20, 2002) The New York Times reported that 25,000 children were trained one summer in Palestinian Authority summer camps in the use of firearms, the making of Molotov cocktails, the methods of kidnapping Israeli leaders, and conducting ambushes. (August 2, 2000) The PA encourages children to be suicide bombers: "Palestinian children grow up in a culture in which suicide bombers are rock stars, sports heroes, and religious idols rolled into one...suicide bombing has become phenomenally popular. According to polls, 70 to 80% of Palestinians now support it." - Atlantic Monthly, June 2002.

[19] “people living under occupation (like the Palestinians on the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem)”

The Arabs living in the Territories do not live under ‘occupation.’ Israel captured the Territories during its defensive 1967 War and has consistently sought to end its military administration in exchange for peace..

During the hopeful days of the Oslo Accords, Israel had already withdrawn from all Palestinian population centers and turned all administrative and government duties over to the Palestinian Authority, which governed 98% of the population by 1996, effectively ending its occupation of the population:

“In May 1994, Israel turned over most of Gaza and the West Bank town of Jericho to the PA. Over the next two years, Israel redeployed its forces in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel concluded its redeployment from six major Palestinian cities in December 1995 and agreed to withdraw troops from 80 percent of Hebron in January 1997. As a result of the provisions of the Oslo agreement implemented, the PA has had full or partial control of up to 40 percent of the territory of the West Bank, and 98 percent of the Palestinian population.” (Freedom House Report 2004 at http://www.freedomhouse.org/research/freeworld/2004/countryratings/israel-palestinian.htm

“The 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention (Article 6) states that the Occupying Power would only be bound to its terms "to the extent that such Power exercises the functions of government in such territory." Under the earlier 1907 Hague Regulations, as well, a territory can only be considered occupied when it is under the effective and actual control of the occupier. Thus, according to the main international agreements dealing with military occupation, Israel's transfer of powers to the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Agreements has made it difficult to continue to characterize the West Bank and Gaza as occupied territories.” Dr. Dore Gold at http://www.jcpa.org/brief/brief005-3.htm

At the Camp David and Taba negotiations in 2000 and 2001, Israel offered the Palestinians a state on 97% of the West Bank and 100% of Gaza and dismantling of Israeli communities--a total end to the remaining Occupation. Yasser Arafat rejected this offer.

Israel temporarily reoccupied some of these centers to defend itself against the terrorist war launched by the Palestinians in September 2000. It has deployed from these centers when violence subsides.

“The IDF has reentered some PA-controlled territory several times since the eruption of the second intifada in September 2000.” (Freedom House Report 2004 at http://www.freedomhouse.org/research/freeworld/2004/countryratings/israel-palestinian.htm

Gaza is no longer ‘occupied’ at all. The PA had governed 80% of the land and all Palestinians in Gaza since 1994 (per Phase 1 of the Oslo Accords, the Gaza-Jericho Agreement, 1994). In August 2005, Jews residing in 10% of Gaza were relocated, leaving 100% of the Gaza Strip free of Jews and of Israeli control.

[20] International Humanitarian Law specifies that people living under occupation (like the Palestinians on the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem) must be protected until the occupation comes to an end.”

The Palestinian people have not “lived under occupation” since 1994. Between 1994 and 1996, in fulfillment of the Oslo Accords, Palestinian Arabs gradually gained self-rule and since 1996, 98% of them have been governed by the Palestine Authority (PA), not by Israel. They could not be considered an ‘occupied people’ by any legal definition of the term. (Freedom House Report 2004 at http://www.freedomhouse.org/research/freeworld/2004/countryratings/israel-palestinian.htm

“Article 6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly states that "the Occupying Power shall be bound for the duration of the occupation to the extent that such Power exercises the functions of government in such territory...."5 In other words, what creates an "occupation" is the existence of a military government which "exercises the functions of government." This is a confirmation of the older 1907 Hague Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, which state, "Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army." The Hague Regulations also stipulate: "The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised."6 What follows is that if no Israeli military government is exercising its authority or any of "the functions of government" in the Gaza Strip, then there is no occupation.” Dr Dore Gold at http://www.jcpa.org/brief/brief005-3.htm

When Israel administered the Territories, it lived up to the highest standards of humanitarian law, giving Palestinians freedom of the press, of assembly and of expression which had been denied to them under Jordanian rule between 1949 and 1967. It provided universal health coverage, built 7 universities, instituted public health programs, invested in infrastructure, making the Territories the 4th fastest growing economy in the world in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and brought the rule of law.

It has been Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Authority who have abused the human rights of Palestinians ever since they took over administration of the Territories in 1994.

“The first three years of Palestinian self-rule have been characterized by widespread arbitrary and abusive conduct by the PA and its mushrooming security agencies. Hundreds of arbitrary detentions were carried out that violated defendants' most elemental due-process rights. Those who were interrogated were commonly tortured. Physical abuse caused or contributed to many of the fourteen deaths that occurred in custody.” (Human Rights Watch Report, 1997 http://hrw.org/doc?t=mideast&c=isrlpa&document_limit=180,20 )

“The situation in Palestine is bad and getting worse. It is too easy to blame it one more time on Israel and the usual suspects -- the West, the Arabs, the others. But if you listened to Palestinians, they are saying their president for life -- Yasser Arafat -- is the problem along with his cronies who rule them, rob them and impoverish them.” Youssef M. Ibrahim, Gulf News, July 20 2004

Arafat should quit his position because he is the head of a corrupt authority. There is no point for him to remain in politics, especially as the Al-Fatah group has accused him of being responsible for all the tragedies in Palestine. Arafat has destroyed Palestine. He has led it to terrorism, death and a hopeless situation. Arafat has also divided the country, as Saddam Hussein divided Iraq, heaping humiliation on the nation.” Ahmed Al-Jarallah, Editor-in-Chief, Arab Times, July 18 2004

“Few Palestinians are more keenly aware of the corruption and repression of Yasir Arafat’s administration than is Raji Sourani. As Gaza’s premiere human rights lawyer, Sourani has seen his countrymen arrested arbitrarily, beaten in captivity, held for months without trial and denied the right to a basic defense in court.” New Republic June 6, 2002

[21] “It is illegal to employ collective punishment.”

Israel does not use collective punishment. As it has fought the terrorist war launched by Palestinians, it has scrupulously avoided counterterrorism actions that might harm innocent civilians, even when such measures place its own citizen’s army in danger. The policy has raised a heated debate in Israel where many have argued against sacrificing soldiers’ lives in order to save Palestinian Arabs whose leaders launched this terrorist war .

Consider Israel’s Jenin operation in 2002: “That hand-to-hand, door-to-door combat, in an intensely built-up shantytown, among dozens of houses booby-trapped by Palestinian fighters, should have yielded somewhere between seven and 21 scattered civilian casualties is nothing less than astonishing. It testifies to the extraordinary scrupulousness of the Israeli army, which lost 23 soldiers in the battle, precisely because it did not want to cause the civilian casualties that come with aerial bombardment, as has happened everywhere from Grozny to Kabul.” Washington Post, May 3 2002, p. A27

“In battle, the Israeli army regularly accepted risks to its own men in order to reduce the risks that it posed on the civilian population. The contrast with the way the Russians fought in Grozny, to take the most recent example of large-scale urban warfare, is striking, and the crucial mark of that contrast is the very small number of civilian casualties in the Palestinian cities despite the fierceness of the fighting.” – Professor Michael Walzer, Princeton University. Author of Just and Unjust Wars and strident critic of Israel. Dissent, Fall 2002

. “While suicide bombers did elevate terror from a tactical to a strategic problem, Israel did not even begin to use the military means available to it, like heavy artillery, and held back when using its air force. Instead of conducting a campaign from the air which would have meant virtually no Israeli casualties and thousands of Palestinian fatalities, a method employed by the NATO allies in the former Yugoslavia and by the U.S. and its partners in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, Israel used its infantry and occasionally armored forces preemptively and preventively to stymie its main enemy, the terrorists.” Jerusalem Report, June 2004

The PA and Palestinian terrorists, not Israel, use the most morally reprehensible form of collective punishment. They don’t target military installations. Instead, they detonate themselves in civilian centers, killing and crippling men, women, children and babies simply because they don’t like Israel’s policies in the Territories. The victims may not even agree with those policies. They are targeted simply because they are Israelis. This is the most extreme form of collective punishment.

[22] It is illegal to transfer parts of an occupying powers’ civilian population into occupied territories.”

Israel did not transfer any population to the Territories. Israelis voluntarily chose to move to communities in the West Bank and Gaza. Nor did these communities encroach on a significant portion of the land in the West Bank. Jewish towns and neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria sit on only 1.7% of the territory, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem and 80% of Jewish neighborhoods that are considered settlements are in effect suburbs of major population centers and border the “green line” demarcating the boundaries of the West Bank. Jerusalem Post, 5/13/02.

Furthermore, while the Jewish communities are politically contentious, they are not illegal. Israel has legitimate historical and legal claims to this land, and has as much right to build communities in it as the Palestinians do. It is unassigned the land of the Palestine Mandate and Mandate rules still govern it.

Because the Territories have never been allocated to another sovereign entity, the Mandate rules calling for Jewish settlement in the area are still in force, making "The Jewish right of settlement in the area [is] equivalent in every way to the right of the local population to live there," according to Professor Eugene Rostow, former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the American Journal of International Law.

[23] “International law also forbids the acquisition of territory through war.”

Israel has never tried to acquire territory through war. Arab states have. They violated this international law by attempting to acquire all the territory of the Jewish state through aggressive wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973. In its war of self-defense in 1967, Israel captured the Territories and according to UN Resolution 242 (1967) was to enter bilateral negotiations with the aggressors and carve out more secure borders for itself when it exchanged land for peace.

Furthermore, Israel has legitimate historical and legal claims to the Territories. The Territories are a section of the Palestine Mandate that was never legally assigned to a sovereign nation. Jordan and Egypt acquired them illegally in their aggressive war in 1948. When they fell to Israel in 1967, the Mandate Authority was the last legal administrator, and the Mandate rules had called for Jews to “closely settle the land.” Palestinians also have claims to the land, which makes them disputed territory, not the land of a former sovereign nation. Israel has equal if not stronger legal and historical claims to this land.

The Territories still operate under the Palestine Mandate rules because they have never been assigned to a sovereign nation. Therefore, “The right of the Jewish people to settle in Palestine has never been terminated for the West Bank….” “The Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing Palestinian population to live there.” Eugene S. Rostow, American Journal of International Law, Vol. 84, July 1990, p. 718

Paradoxically, it appears to be the Palestinians who want to acquire territory and concessions through war. Israel had offered them all that Sabeel is demanding—97% of the West Bank, 100% of Gaza, shared capital of Jerusalem, dismantling of Jewish communities—in 2000 and 2001. Yasser Arafat rejected the offer and launched the terrorist Intifada instead.

In a letter to a suicide bomber’s family after he killed 20 teenagers outside a Tel Aviv disco on June 1 2001, Arafat wrote that the act was a “heroic martyrdom operation…the model of manhood and sacrifice for the sake of Allah and the homeland.” Translated at MEMRI http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP23701

Let those far and near understand: None, among the Palestinian people or the Arab nation will be willing to bow and surrender. But we ask Allah to grant us martyrdom, to grant us martyrdom. To Jerusalem we march—martyrs by the millions! To Jerusalem we march—martyrs by the millions! To Jerusalem we march—martyrs by the millions!” Yasser Arafat speech on Al-Jazira, March 29 2002 http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP36102

“Whoever thinks that the issues of the final-status agreement…can be resolved by negotiations alone is deluding himself. The negotiations over these issues must be accompanied by a campaign on the ground, that is, a confrontation….You don’t fight the settlements by pleading, but through the force of arms.” Marwan Bargouthi, Head of Fatah in the West Bank, Akhbar-al-Khalil (Hebron), March 4 2000.

[24] From the standpoint of faith, we believe that we must recognize and name the evils that are facing the peoples of Israel-Palestine on both sides of the conflict.”

While this position is admirable, it is ignored throughout this document. There is no mention of the Palestinian Authority’s responsibilities for furthering the peace process, no condemnation of the PA’s terrorism and anti-Semitic incitement, no demand that the PA compromise and relinquish its most extreme demands.

The Rev. Tony Higton of the Anglican Church in Jerusalem criticized the Anglican condemnations of Israel for just these reasons: “The APJN Statement loses credibility because it contains very inadequate references to terrorism and its effects, and no reference to the need of the Israelis to defend themselves. …If the APJN feels it right to make strong criticisms of Israel’s perceived failings why does it feel no obligation to make similar criticisms of the failings of the Palestinian leadership? The APJN Statement…is biased and unjust. If it really wants peace, the church should pray about and act upon the needs and failings of both sides in the conflict, without bias. It should be an agent of reconciliation, but that role is undermined by negative or biased criticism, which only fuels the fire.” 2004 http://www.cmj.org.uk/rep2APJN.html

[25] As Christians we object to all those who carry out violent, unethical, immoral, and illegal actions.”

If this is the case, why did Naim Ateek write a condemnation of suicide bombing that in fact appears to be an apology for the act and makes them appear Christ-like?

“One can look at [suicide bombing] from another angle. According to the Gospels, Jesus Christ knew that he was going to die in Jerusalem. “… The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected…and killed….” Yet he did not try to escape from danger but set his face to go to Jerusalem where he was killed. We believe that he voluntarily offered himself for the sin of the world. We see his death as vicarious and redemptive. He said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This means to give oneself on behalf of others is the greatest sacrifice of all. Christians believe that this is precisely what Christ has done. He died for us. Although one offers oneself to die, he does not pull the trigger and kill himself. He is open to sacrificing himself for the cause but he is not the one who does it. Under Ateek’s analysis, the primary difference between Christ and the suicide bombers, is that suicide bombers pull the trigger, while Christ took no active role in his own death. Apparently, the fact that suicide bombers take an active role in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Israeli civilians – while Christ did not – is not a difference worth mentioning. If Ateek’s theology is correct, there are only a few short steps between suicide bombers and Christ himself.

[26] “…can be seen as condoning the harm of innocent civilians under occupation….that lead to human rights violations.”

The Palestinians are not under ‘occupation.’ Israel has given the remaining percentage of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and removed Jewish communities in Gaza as of August 28 2005. 98% of Palestinians and 40%of the West Bank have been self-governing under the PA since 1996. In 2000 and 2001, Israel offered the Palestinians 97% of the West Bank and 100% of Gaza and the removal of most Jewish communities in exchange for peace and an end to violence. The PA rejected the offer and chose instead to launch a terrorist war.

This resolution doesn’t address the real source of human rights violations in the Territories--the PA and terrorist groups who are committed to destroying Israel and murdering Israelis, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa Martys Brigade and others. The PA, which in 1993 and again in 1995 had committed to disarming extremist terrorist groups and renouncing violence, reached an agreement with these terrorist groups on August 22 2005 that confirmed they would not be disarmed and that accepted their commitment to terrorism.

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced on Monday that they have reached an agreement with the Palestinian Authority according to which the two groups would not be disarmed. The agreement was reportedly achieved during talks in Damascus between PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. ..Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas leader based in Syria, said…"We stressed during the meeting that the Palestinians have the right to continue the resistance [against Israel] and that there would be no attempt to collect weapons from the resistance groups," he said.” Jerusalem Post, August 22 2005

[27] Investment enables the government of Israel to sustain the ongoing violations of human rights of innocent civilians.”

This document has not provided evidence of violations of human rights committed by Israel. A fence—a passive form of self-defense against terrorism—and Jewish communities in the West Bank and Gaza hardly constitute human rights abuses, even if Palestinians object to having Jewish communities as neighbors.

All Israeli counter-terrorism measures must be put in context: The PA and the terrorist groups it harbors went to war against Israel in September 2000, violating the core principle of the Oslo Accords—that all disagreements would be settled through negotiations, not violence .

“The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security….The PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators.” Yasser Arafat Letter of Recognition to Israel, the basis of the Oslo Accords. September 9 1993

The Palestinian side will issue a decree prohibiting all forms of incitement to violence and terror, and establishing mechanisms for acting systematically against all expressions or threats of violence or terror.” Wye River Memorandum 1998

The PA not only refused to condemn terrorism. It glorified the suicide bombers who targeted and mass murdered innocent Israelis, calling them martyrs and encouraging Palestinian youngsters to do the same. These are crimes against humanity as well as human rights abuses and they are the bedrock reason Israel has had to use counter-terrorism measures.

Palestinians turn suicide bombers into heroic martyrs, naming streets, playgrounds and children's summer camps after them, plastering posters of them throughout the Territories, replaying their martyrdom videos on TV, and even selling 2002 Suicide Bomber calendars displaying the faces of all the dead bombers and Hamas' spiritual leader, Sheikh Yessin. Even the Nazis did not single out or honor those who slaughtered Jews. - London Observer Dec. 16, 2001

In PA authorized textbooks, "The struggle for the liberation of Palestine is presented mainly as a military one. ...the Feda'I and Shahid are praised as the spearhead of this struggle....Jihad continues to be glorified and martyrs praised, with special attention given to the martyrs of Palestine," according to the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace in 2001.

“We are teaching the children that suicide bombs make Israeli people frightened and we are allowed to do it… We teach them that after a person becomes a suivide bomber he reaches the highest level of paradise.” – Palestinian “Paradise Camp” counselor speaking to BBC interviewer. http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/myths/mf22.html

[28] The de-development, impoverishment, and hardships inflicted on the Palestinians as an occupied people cannot be ignored.”

The increasing impoverishment of the Palestinians was not caused by the ‘occupation.’ In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Israeli investment in the Territories’ health, education, welfare and infrastructure had made them the 4th fastest growing economy in the world with life expectancy soaring from 48 years in 1967 to 72 years in 2000 and literacy soaring from 50% in 1967 to 84% in 1990.

The increasing impoverishment of the Palestinians has been caused by the PA’s policies: its choice of terrorism over investment, its corruption and its failure to stem anarchy. Billions of foreign aid dollars disappeared.

“The situation in Palestine is bad and getting worse. It is too easy to blame it one more time on Israel and the usual suspects -- the West, the Arabs, the others. But if you listened to Palestinians, they are saying their president for life -- Yasser Arafat -- is the problem along with his cronies who rule them, rob them and impoverish them.” Youssef M. Ibrahim, Gulf News, July 20 2004

“The problems facing the Palestinian people and the PA economy are not due to a lack of resources. Instead of feeding, housing, and employing Palestinians, significant amounts of financial aid have been siphoned off by Yasser Arafat and other PA officials for their personal benefit… By the end of 2001, the Palestinians had received $4 billion (the figure is now closer to $5.5 billion)… These PA revenues do not include the $8-14 billion in assets the Palestine Liberation Organization is believed to have accumulated…Forbes ranked Arafat number 6 on a list of the richest "kings, queens, and despots" with a fortune of $300 million.” http://www.ujc.org/content_display.html?ArticleID=86702

“Jawad Ghussein, who was the secretary general of the Palestinian National Fund until 1996, remarked, "The billions Arafat has stolen over the years from the Palestinian people facilitated the corruption of the Palestinian leadership, and is the source of his power over them." He went on to say that Mr. Arafat "took aid money and contributions that were earmarked for the Palestinian people, to his own account." Mr. Ghussein was in a position to know: for 12 years, he had deposited $7.5 million to $8 million each month into Mr. Arafat's personal bank account.” New York Sun, July 23, 2004 http://public-integrity.org/publications/publications57.htm

“The International Monetary Fund report "Economic Performance and Reforms under Conflict Conditions," released in September 2003 in Abu Dhabi, concluded that $900 million in P.A. revenues from 69 commercial enterprises belonging to the P.A. in the West Bank, Gaza and abroad, "disappeared" between 1995 and 2000. The report also found that the 2003 budget for Arafat's office, which totaled $74 million, was missing $34 million that Mr.Arafat had transferred to pay unidentified "organizations" and "individuals." Furthermore, the report revealed that at least 8% - $135 million - of the P.A.'s annual budget of $1.08 billion is being spent by Mr. Arafat at his sole discretion.” New York Sun, July 23, 2004 http://public-integrity.org/publications/publications57.htm

[29] Our goal is to insist on Israel’s compliance with international and humanitarian law .”

This document has not demonstrated that Israel has violated these laws.

The goal of this divestment campaign is not to change Israeli policy, promote peace or help Palestinians, but rather to demonize Israel and isolate it politically and economically. It is similar to the divestment campaigns launched on university campuses. As one University of Michigan student explained, “Everyone knows that the US will never pull investments out of Israel…Instead we are looking to shift the dialogue to whether or not to divest from Israel without extraneous discussion of the basics. We hope that in 10, 20 years, the public will just take for granted the premise that Israel is an apartheid state and then we can move from there.”

[30] It is clearly demonstrated that Israel, in its continued occupation and the practices associated with the occupation, is in open violation of International Law and specifically the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

The Sabeel document has not demonstrated that Israel is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention precisely because it is not.

Israel has struggled to meet its own high ethical standards as well as those of the Geneva Convention while at the same time fighting a brutal terrorist war that intentionally targets innocent civilians.

· Between Sept 2000 and July 2005:

1058 ISRAELIS MURDERED—69% WERE CIVILIANS

7307 WOUNDED/CRIPPLED —69% WERE CIVILIANS

25,375 TERRORIST ATTACKS

(IDF Website, http://www1.idf.il/SIP_STORAGE/DOVER/files/7/21827.doc Haaretz, July 20 05 at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/602147.html

[31] “ Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights… and against insults and public curiosity.”

Israel fulfills all these obligations which is why thousands of Palestinians have tried to stay under Israeli jurisdiction rather than coming under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction.

As Israel was building the fence in Jerusalem, “thousands of Arab families” began moving to Arab and Jewish neighborhoods on the Israeli side of the fence. One Arab Jerusalemite said , "When I hear many Israeli leaders talking about the need to divide Jerusalem, I panic. This would mean bringing the Palestinian Authority into the city, and I don't know anyone here who wants that. I moved to a Jewish neighborhood in the hope that it will never be handed over to Yasser Arafat." Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 11 2004

When Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s peace plan in 2000 recommended putting East Jerusalem under PA control, “Zuhair Hamda, a prominent leader of a large family in the Arab neighborhood of Su Baher, gathered a petition with more than 10,000 signatures of Arabs from Jerusalem who preferred not to be transferred to Arafat’s governance….” According to media reports, Hamdan was shot and critically wounded in September 2001, apparently by members of Arafat’s Fatah faction, for his efforts. http://www.jcpa.org/jlmbldg.htm

[32] , “nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory.”

Israel reunited its historic capital, Jerusalem, but never annexed any land in the West Bank and Gaza. Instead, it administered the Territories, waiting for the time when it would have a peace partner with whom it could negotiate new borders. Israel has even demonstrated, time and again, that it would remove Jewish communities in the Territories in exchange for peace. In 2000 and 2001, Israel offered to dismantle Jewish communities in exchange for peace. In August 2005, it uprooted the thriving Jewish communities in Gaza.

[33] “..taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”

The key phrase here is “not justified by military necessity.” Palestinians once again declared war on Israel when they launched their terrorist campaign in September 2000. Israel faced an acute security/military challenge. It has met that challenge while scrupulously living up to the highest humanitarian standards. The Israeli High Court constantly monitors and weighs security needs and military actions against the standards of human rights and ethics.

“This is the fate of democracy, as not all means are acceptable to it, and not all methods employed by its enemies are open to it. Sometimes, a democracy must fight with one hand tied behind its back…. Terrorism creates much tension between the essential components of democracy. One pillar of democracy…may encourage taking all steps effective in fighting terrorism, even if they are harmful to human rights. The other pillar of democracy—human rights—may encourage protecting the rights of every individual, including the terrorists, even at the cost of undermining the fight against terrorism… We, the judges in modern democracies, are responsible for protecting democracy both from terrorism and from the means the state wants to use to fight terrorism .” Aharon Barak, President of the Israeli Supreme Court, 2002 http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Politics/sctterror.html

[34] child labor, pornography, apartheid practices, or settlement building …”

The implication is that companies that do business in Israel directly engage in the first three of these practices. This has not been demonstrated, and building communities is not a ‘violation of international law.’

[35] building of the wall.”

Israel is not building a wall. 97% of the security barrier is a chain link fence that resembles those around school yards, only 3% is a “wall” and it resembles the sound barriers along American highways. However, this section of the barrier is not designed to muffle highway noise. It is designed to prevent sniper attacks along Israeli highways.

The security fence was built solely as a passive form of self-defense against Palestinian terrorism.

[36] “In 2004, the International Court of Justice…stated again that the building of the Wall violates international law, and has called on the international community to refrain from assisting these violations in any way.”

Terrorism, with its intentional targeting of innocent civilians, built the wall and it is the most egregious violation of international law.

The Palestinian policy of suicide bombing and attacking innocent civilians is a “crime against humanity,” according to Amnesty International: “[N]o violations by the Israeli government, no matter their scale or gravity, justify the [Palestinian] killing of…civilians. The obligation to protect civilians is absolute and cannot be set aside…The attacks against civilians by Palestinian armed groups are widespread, systematic and in pursuit of an explicit policy to attack civilians. They therefore constitute crimes against humanity under international law. They may also constitute war crimes….” Amnesty International. November 7, 2002

The leading democratic nations denounced the IJC decision to consider the issue, arguing it was not in the ICJ’s jurisdiction because the barrier is a political, not a legal issue and because the UN General Assembly, with its powerful anti-Israel bloc of Arab and Muslim nations, had pre-determined the outcome.

The countries objecting to the ICJ ruling on the security barrier were: “United States, Australia, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Federated States of Micronesia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland (for itself and in addition on behalf of the Member States and Acceding States of the European Union), Italy, Japan, the Marshall Islands, the Netherlands, Norway, Palau, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom submitted objections on various grounds against the ICJ hearing the case;” U.S. House of Representatives Resolution H Res 713, July 13 2004

“The UN General Assembly resolution asking the ICJ for an advisory opinion is actually a request for an endorsement of an already-stated political opinion of the GA [UN General Assembly]. The ICJ lacks jurisdiction over the case because the GA has dictated the desired result. The court is not authorized to make endorsements of the GA's political opinions dressed in legal garb.” Laurence E. Rothenberg and Abraham Bell, legal experts, at http://jcpa.org/jl/vp513.htm

Several ICJ judges condemned the judgment as unfair and biased precisely because it ignored the reasons the fence was built--the ongoing terrorist war Palestinians launched against Israel in September 2000.

"The Court states that it 'is indeed aware that the question of the wall is part of a greater whole' and it would take this circumstance carefully into account in any opinion it might give. In fact, it never does so…the court's history of the Arab-Israeli conflict is "neither balanced nor satisfactory." ICJ Judge Rosalyn Higgins, Britain

“Palestinian terrorist attacks "are never really seriously examined by the Court, and the dossier provided the Court by the United Nations on which the Court to a large extent bases its findings barely touches on that subject.” ICJ Judge Thomas Buergenthal, USA (cited in Jerusalem Post,July 25, 2004)

[37] We are concerned about the delegitimization of International Law that Israel models when it ignores the International Court of Justice, the Geneva Conventions and United Nations Resolutions.”

None of these institutions makes “international laws.” The International Court of Justice renders advisory opinions to resolve disputes. They are not legally binding. The Geneva Conventions are not laws: they are standards that signatories agree to live up to. Israel lives up to them. UN General Assembly Resolutions are not law nor are they binding. “ Apart from approval of budgetary matters, including adoption of a scale of assessment, Assembly resolutions are not binding on the members .” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly

The main threat to the legitimacy of international law is when politicized groups coopt and distort them to push their own political agenda which the Palestinians have explicitly tried to do.

[38] “Bring an end to Israel’s Illegal and Immoral Behavior”

This Sabeel statement has not demonstrated that Israel engages in either illegal or immoral behavior. It ignores the terrorist war that Palestinians launched against Israel and judges Israeli actions as though this war did not exist despite the fact it has killed over 1000 Israelis, 70% of whom were civilians. Nor has the Sabeel statement documented any instances of ‘immoral behavior.’

This is a transparent effort to demonize Israel, and to put the Palestinian agenda into a theological context when in fact it should be nothing more than a territorial dispute between two national movements.

[39] “at the height of the system of apartheid.”

This is a misleading insinuation. While Sabeel does not directly accuse Israel of apartheid—precisely because there is no similarity between South Africa’s former racist system and Israel’s democratic, pluralistic, free society—this is a transparent effort to create an association between them. Anti-Israel groups have consistently tried to demonize Israel by accusing it of all the evils of the modern world—Nazism, genocide, colonialism, apartheid, etc—none of which have any relationship to the history or current state of Israel.

[40] Currently a system of international economic support for the occupation exists as multinational corporations build franchises in the occupied territories, supply military goods...”

The implication is that all international investments are used for Israel’s expenses in the Territories. In fact, they form a small part of Israel’s overall economy. Israel has a vibrant, innovative culture. Its companies and research institutions are on the cutting edge in technology, biotechnology and medicine and have made enormous contributions to the world.

Israeli companies make up 20% of the 338 NASDQ stocks that are non-American companies. Over 50 international giants like Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Motorola, Lucent, Sisco and others establish research and development centers in Israel. Israel became the 4th largest high tech economy in the world in the 90’s; its biomedical innovations have given new life and hope to people around the world.

[41] “and provide materials for the separation wall.”

Apart from the fact that it is a fence, not a wall, that is a passive form of self-defense and has saved thousands of lives, this charge incorrectly identifies some of the main economic beneficiaries of the fence’s construction. Palestinians are supplying most of the cement and labor for building the fence. Are they to be boycotted as well?

In what became known as the ‘cement scandal,’ the Palestinian National Council called for investigations into companies that were importing cement from Egypt and selling it to Israel who used it to build the security fence and to build homes in the West Bank. The companies included the “Tarifi Ready Mix Cement Company, owned by Civil Affairs Minister Jamil Tarifi and his brother Jamal and two other Palestinian cement companies, Intisar Barakeh Company for General Trade and the Yusef Barakeh Company for General Trade.” It also included the Al-Quds Cement company which is co-owned by the family of Prime Minister Ahmad Qureia. Issam Abu Issa, 2004 at http://netwmd.com/articles/article764.html

[42] the “facts on the ground” of occupation grow worse year by year. The goal to end the occupation has never seemed farther away.”

This is a patently counter-factual claim. By 1996, the PA governed 98% of the Palestinian population, controlled 40% of the West Bank and over 80% of Gaza. Israel redeployed in many of these areas only in response to the terrorist war launched in 2000. When terrorism subsided, Israel withdrew.

As of August 2005, Israel had uprooted all the Jews living in Gaza, and the PA controlled 100% of the Gaza Strip. Israel also uprooted four Jewish communities in the northern West Bank.

This can hardly be characterized as the ‘occupation growing worse year by year.’

[43] Around the world people are beginning to speak of selective divestment from Israel as a method of creating the change that is needed.”

There is nothing new or recent about the effort to isolate Israel economically. Arab states instituted a total economic boycott on Israel and on companies that do business with Israel in 1949. While some countries have relaxed these restrictions, others have not. The goal then, as it is now, was to cripple and destroy Israel. Palestinian Christians like those at the Sabeel Center are simply hoping to extend this policy to the rest of the world.

[44] Shamai Leibowitz”

Leibowitz does not represent an Israeli point of view. Like all free, democratic societies, Israel has its small share of those who want to see the country overthrown. Leibowitz is one of them. He is an “extremist” (http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/18435/edition_id/369/format/html/displaystory.html) who “has devoted great efforts to advancing the cause of economic and diplomatic war against the existence of the Jewish state,” participated in conferences calling for an end to the Jewish state, and defended anti-Israel activists and terrorists such as the International Solidarity Movement and terrorist Marwan Bargouti. NGO Monitor at http://www.ngo-monitor.org/editions/v3n08/NIFSupportForDivestmentAndSingleStateSolutions.htm

[45] the immorality of occupation.”

The military administration of a defeated aggressor’s territory—‘occupation’—until belligerency ends is not only legal: It is a requirement in international law. Hence it is absurd to characterize ‘occupation’ as immoral.

Furthermore, Israel has been trying to end the ‘occupation’ for 35 years. Today, 98% of the Palestinian population is self-governing under the PA and Israel has uprooted Jewish communities in the northern West Bank and in Gaza which now has no Jews.

[46] “The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions”

Jeff Halper and his organization ICAHD do not represent an Israeli point of view. Like all free, democratic societies, Israel has its small share of those who want to see the country overthrown. Like Liebowitz, Halper is one of them. ICHAD is “a well-funded blatantly political and ideological one-man NGO, which couches its radical anti-Israel agenda and demonization in the rhetoric of human rights.Halper himself uses “inflammatory and even racist characterizations,” is an “apologist for terrorism” and works with Palestinian-funded propaganda groups like the International Solidarity Movement. (http://www.ngo-monitor.org/editions/v3n07/EUFundingforICAHDPromotingAntiIsraelAgenda.htm )

[47] the model that has been advocated by the World Council of Churches, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church (USA), as well as other organizations working for a just peace in the region.”

The decision by some churches to adopt these anti-Israel positions has created a firestorm of protest and criticism in their denominations and energized church and lay leaders to overturn them.

Sabeel-affiliated individuals spearheaded the propaganda effort. While some mainline Protestant groups condemned the separation barrier that has saved so many lives out of Christian pacifist ideals, other congregants and clergy denounced the decision because:

· It was made based on one-sided, biased information presented largely by Sabeel members. Those who opposed the resolution were not allowed to speak.

· A small cadre of the church leadership made the decision without consulting their wider membership.

· The anti-fence resolutions were not even-handed. They blamed only Israel for the conflict and never denounced terrorism. They implied that the barrier was built for no reason, ignoring the orgy of violence unleashed on Israel in the 2nd Intifada which killed more than 1000 Israelis and maimed or crippled 7,000—70% of them civilians—in 4 years. For a small country like Israel, this is the equivalent of 40,000 US citizens murdered by terrorists.

· The divestment resolutions were counter-productive. They would not promote peace, forgiveness or conciliation, and they would create further economic woes for Palestinians.

· The resolutions unfairly singled out only Israel and consequently bore the stamp of anti-Semitism.

[48] “Jewish Voice for Peace”

Jewish Voice for Peace is not a reliable source nor does it represent mainstream Jewish or Israeli opinion. It is made up of left-wing American activists and artists with limited understanding of the conflict who have consistently opposed all Israeli government policies.

Other, more mainstream Israeli and Jewish human rights groups are deeply opposed to the call for divestment.

“Jewish Voice for Peace agrees with divestment—the denominational literature cites this one groups frequently to assert that we have a Jewish partner.” But this is questionable. “Rabbis for Human Rights are one of our longstanding Jewish partners in peacemaking. Many live and work in Israel, and are at the frontlines of seeking justice for Palestinians…yet, this left of center group is critical of our actions [divestment]. I think we need to listen to them, and to our Jewish partners in the Reformed movement, and many of our partners and heed their concern.” Presbyterian Rev. Rebecca Kuiken, “Why I Oppose Divestment,” June 1 2005 at http://www.jewishportland.org/content_display.html?ArticleID=154252

[49] provide products, services or technology that sustain, support or maintain the occupation…”

Israel does not want to govern Palestinians and has tried to find a peaceful settlement to the conflict. However, there is nothing illegal or immoral about Israel’s military administration of the Territories. Israel has historic, legal and practical claims to the land in the Territories. Nonetheless, it has also tried to respect the Palestinians’ claims and offered them autonomy and self-government in 1967-1969, 1979, 1993 and 2000. By 1996, Israel had deployed from the Territories, leaving 40% of the West Bank and over 80% of Gaza and 98% of Palestinians self-governing under the PA. In August 2005, Israel uprooted Jewish communities in Gaza, leaving the PA in total control of the area. In short, the ‘occupation’ has been ending.

The only obstacle to a final settlement is Palestinian terrorism and irredentism. When Palestinians renounce terrorism and accept Israel’s right to exist, Israel’s military presence will not be necessary. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that the Palestinians welcomed these moves or plan to make similar sacrifices of their own in the interests of peace

“We do not and will not recognize a state called Israel. Israel has no right to any inch of Palestinian land. This is an important issue. Our position stems from our religious convictions. This is a holy land.” Interview with Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas leader in Gaza, August 18 2005 http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1124590922663

“Hamas confirms it is committed to armed resistance, it is our strategic choice until the end of the occupation of our land,” said Ismail Haniya, one of the Palestinian militant organisation’s top leaders in the Gaza Strip. Gulf Times, August 14 2005 at http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=48491&version=1&template_id=37&parent_id=17

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced on Monday that they have reached an agreement with the Palestinian Authority according to which the two groups would not be disarmed .” Jerusalem Post, Aug 22 2005 www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1124677191782

PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas also condoned and praised violence. "There is no other way but to acknowledge that all of our achievements, including the pullout, are first and foremost due to those who lost their lives and made sacrifices. They paved the way for us, and the pullout shows that our vision was correct.” Haaretz, Aug 21 2005

[50] “Not in My Name

Not in My Name is another fringe organization that does not represent mainstream Jewish opinion. NOIN membership overlaps with those in other fringe anti-Israel groups, including Jewish Voice for Peace, http://www.nimn.org/About/menu/000011.php?section=What%20We%20DoThe members in NOIN overlap with those in Jewish Voice for Peace,

[51] Apologists will argue that…[t]he evil of anti- Semitism, which has marred Christian-Jewish relations, still looms strong and the tragedy of the Holocaust remains a source of guilt for many Christians.”

The suggestion that only ‘apologists’ argue that anti-Semitism remains a serious problem is patently false. This ‘evil’ is so persistent and pervasive that

· The UN held a conference on anti-Semitism in 2004 and Kofi Annan remarked on the “resurgence” of anti-Semitism and the new forms it has taken, and he admitted that , “the United Nations' record on anti-Semitism has at times fallen short of our ideals….let us actively and uncompromisingly refute those…who continue to spread lies and vile stereotypes about Jews and Judaism.” June 21 2004 www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2004/webArticles/062104_sg_remarks.asp#

· The US Congress enacted the Global Anti-Semitism Act of 2004 in recognition of the “alarming increase in global anti-Semitism” particularly in Europe and Arab countries. Several countries hosted conferences on this resurgence, including Vienna, Berlin, Cordoba and Rome (Dec 2004). http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/rm/43367.htm

·

· The US Global Anti-Semitism Report indicated that Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority have been issuing anti-Semitic libel. Organizations have sprung up to track Arab anti-Semitism which recycles Nazi-style anti-Semitic propaganda and includes television series depicting the anti-Semitic forgery, “The Protocols of Zion” as true, blood libels such as Jews use Arab children’s blood for their Purim cakes, dehumanization and calls to murder Jews everywhere: “Jews are Jews… [One] must slaughter them and kill them, as per the word of Allah… Do not have mercy in your hearts for Jews anywhere, in any country. Fight them wherever you are. Anywhere you meet them - kill them. Kill the Jews… Do not have mercy on the Jews. Kill them everywhere.” Dr. Ahmad Yussouf Abu-Halabiyeh, PATV Oct. 13, 2000 http://www.middleeast.org/forum/fb-public/1/4481.shtml

[52] We are promoting the same values as those who struggle against anti-Semitism.”

The opposite is true. The Sabeel Center is promoting the views of anti-Semites, people who hate and demonize the Jewish people.

The Sabeel proposal singles out only the Jewish State for condemnation and makes false accusations against it. This anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism which is characterized by 1) Demonization of the Jewish State, 2) Delegitimization of the Jewish State and 3) Double standards—judging the Jewish State by standards which are not applied to any other nation .

“Anti-Semitism also manifests itself as strong anti-Israel sentiment that crosses the line between objective criticism of Israel and its policies and the demonization of Israel and Jews.” US State Department Report on Global Anti-Semitism 2004 www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/rm/43367.htm

“Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction — out of proportion to any other party in the Middle East Middle— is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest.” Thomas Friedman, NY Times, Oct 16 2002

The founder of the Sabeel Center, Anglican Canon Naim Ateek, has frequently violated the Barmen Declaration by using Christian imagery to demonize the Jewish State and whip up hatred for it. For example, Ateek wrote that “The Israeli crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.”

[53] No group of people, simply due to their ethnicity or nationality, should be excluded from the protections of International Law.”

The implications in this statement are distorted and false.

Israel ’s actions are not caused by the Palestinians’ ‘ethnicity or nationality.’ 20% of Israel’s population—1.3 million people—are Arabs who chose to remain in Israel in 1948 or who moved there under Israel’s Family Reunification programs. They have full civil and human rights and have more rights and freedoms than average Arabs living anywhere else in the Middle East. Israel’s actions are solely in response to the murderous terrorist war that Arabs in the Territories launched against them in September 2000.

The only group in this conflict who is excluded from the protections of international law are the Jews. Palestinians call the terrorists who mass murder Jews ‘shaeeds’ and ‘glorious martyrs.’ The PA refuses to allow any Jewish communities to exist in its future state. Israel has just uprooted the thriving agricultural Jewish communities in Gaza so that the area would be Judenrein—empty of all Jews. This is racism.

[54] “ending the illegal occupation”

Israel ’s military administration of the Territories is not “illegal occupation.” Israel captured the Territories in a defensive war and was legally obliged to govern and administer them until the belligerent nations made peace and resolved boundary issues in an overall settlement, according to international law.

The Law of Belligerent Occupation, spelled out in the Hague Conventions of 1907, made Israel, in effect, the new legitimate power of the conquered territories. “ The authority of the legitimate power having actually passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all steps in his power to re-establish and insure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.” Hague Convention, Section III, Article 43, 1907

“It is not illegal for victorious powers to occupy hostile territory seized in the course of war until they are able to negotiate a successful peace treaty with their former enemies. The Palestinians have failed to recognize this fact.“ George P Fletcher, Professor of International Law at Columbia University. (New York Times Op Ed, March 21, 2002)

According to both the Geneva Convention and customary international law: “The belligerent occupying powers have the ultimate responsibility and obligation to administer the country whose government they have just displaced, at least until a new national government vested with all attributes of sovereignty has been created. Although they can enlist the support of other countries, international organizations, and NGOs, the ultimate responsibility must remain with the belligerent occupying powers.” David B. Rivkin and Darin R. Bartram, Experts on international law at http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:V3pRr-onrH4J:www.twq.com/03summer/docs/03summer_rivkin.pdf+"legal+military+occupation"&hl=en

[55] “precisely because we care about the legacy of the Holocaust.”

This is a misleading statement. Nowhere does this document address the Holocaust or the legacy of dehumanizing, demonizing and slaughtering Jews just because they are Jews. If the Sabeel Center were sincere, it would denounce the rampant anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement of the Palestinian Authority and of Palestinian terrorists groups like Hamas.

[56] “Sabeel takes this stand…in an effort to create real dialogue about peace and justice.”

This is a transparently false claim. This document condemns only Israel, erases the context for Israel’s action and denies any Palestinian culpability. In short, Sabeel is urging that dialogue be opened only after one side has already been judged, condemned and sentenced. This is not a recipe for dialogue, conciliation, mutual respect or greater understanding.

Furthermore, it is shocking that a Christian group would dismiss and condemn dialogue because it might ‘drag on.’ This is anti-democratic. This dismisses a vital virtue—patience. This forestalls education and serious wrestling with difficult issues. It is a transparent effort to justify shutting off debate about a complex issue to ensure that Sabeel’s claims are not subject to scrutiny and discussion.

[57] to stop supporting proven violations of International Law that have been well-documented by both Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations in the last 38 years. ( www.btselem.org ; www.hamoked.org.il ; www.alhaq.org ; www.pchrgaza.org )”

These organizations have not documented violations of International law. They simply report complaints and charges that Palestinians have brought against Israel. The charges are not investigated or brought to any court to determine their accuracy or validity. For example, these groups spread wild rumors after Israel’s actions in Jenin in April 2002 as even the pro-Palestinian website Znet admitted : “ the Palestinian leadership, [who] instantly, and without proof, declared that a massacre had occurred in which as many as 500 died. Palestinian human-rights groups made matters worse by churning out wild, and clearly untrue, stories.” April 25 2002 http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=1758

[58] “Learning the facts is important….Sabeel provides opportunities to visit and learn….”

This claim is disingenuous. Sabeel is not recommending that people learn the facts from both the Israeli and Palestinian perspectives. Instead, it recommends only its own website and visits to the Territories for “first-hand” experience. But these visits also just present one side of the conflict. As the Anglican Reverend Tony Higton observed when condemning the Anglican Church for its divestment vote, "How can the visitors on the APJN commission... hope to be taken seriously when they spend a mere eight days in the country, without proper consultation on the Israeli side, then produce a statement, implying they understand the complexities of the conflict, and making pronouncements about it?" July 2005 http://aacblog.classicalanglican.net/archives/000868.html

[59] “Apologists will bring up the question of Palestinian violence.”

This claim is disingenuous. Palestinian violence is central to the ongoing conflict. The entire foundation and logic for the Oslo Peace Process was ‘land for peace.’

Yasser Araft committed to end violence to start the Oslo Peace process.“ the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators.” 1993 http://www.mideastweb.org/osloletters.htm

Yet, i n just the first five years after Oslo (1993 to 1998), terrorists killed 305 Israelis, almost twice the number killed in the whole 13 years between 1980 and 1993. (Peace Watch Report http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~jkatz/oslo.html ) In the five years since the 2nd Intifada began, over 1000 Israelis have been murdered and 7000 wounded or crippled, 69% of them civilians.

Israel has repeatedly declared that it does not have a partner for peace or for further negotiations if terrorism is not denounced and controlled. The question of Palestinian violence cannot be dismissed as an issue ‘apologists’ raise.

[60] “Sabeel’s response”

This is deceptive. It is not a response. Sabeel does not address the question of Palestinian violence, terrorism or the terrorist infrastructure in the PA—or even call them by name. Instead, it makes vague references to violence on both sides, and concludes with a condemnation only of Israel.

[61] “Sabeel decries all violence acts against civilians and has made that clear in previous statements that are available on line.”

These documents do not unequivocally condemn suicide bombing. One of them is Naim Ateek’s essay on suicide bombing which draws analogies between Christ’s death and the deaths of suicide bombers and is apology for terrorism wrapped in the language of Christian theology.

[62] “Our call ….includes divesting from any organization or corporation that supports or promotes in any way violence against civilians.”

This is not true. This document only calls for divestment from companies that do business with Israel. Nowhere does it call for divestment from companies or countries that do business with the sources of Palestinian violence against civilians: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PLO, Fatah or any other groups. Nor does it call for selective divestment to pressure the Palestinian Authority to crack down on terrorism and dismantle terrorist groups.

[63] “The government of Israel has shown no intention or effort to date of complying with international law.”

This document has not demonstrated that Israel is not complying with international law. Again, Sabeel equates ‘international law’ with the Palestinians’ radical agenda and methods even though international agreements and law do not condone them and in many instances, human rights groups like Amnesty International have called them “crimes against humanity” and “war crimes.”

Furthermore, this statement once again misleads by pretending that Israel has not made major moves to resolve the conflict. Israel turned administration of the Territories over to the PA. By 1996, 98% of Palestinians were governed by the PA and the PA controlled 40% of the West Bank and over 80% of Gaza. In August 2005, Israel removed all Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip and turned the remaining percentage of Gaza territory over to the PA. In contrast, the PA has done nothing to live up to its core commitment—ending terrorism and dismantling terrorist groups. “Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced on Monday [Aug 22 2005] that they have reached an agreement with the Palestinian Authority according to which the two groups would not be disarmed….Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas leader..said…"We stressed during the meeting that the Palestinians have the right to continue the resistance [against Israel] and that there would be no attempt to collect weapons from the resistance groups.” Jerusalem Post, August 22 2005

[64] “The international community and the leading powers, for their own political reasons, have been unwilling to enforce International Humanitarian Law.”

This is a misleading, unsubstantiated statement.

This document has not identified or defined what “International Humanitarian Law” is. The Sabeel Center seems to equate it with the Palestinian demands. No UN Security Resolutions or agreements between Israel and the Palestinians call for Israel to take unilateral steps. They call for bilateral negotiations for trading land for peace and for determining final borders. The Sabeel Center demands violate these international understandings.

The statement charges, without documentation, that “political reasons’ have kept the international community from enforcing ‘international humanitarian law.’ It ignores the fact that there has been no ‘enforcement’ precisely because Israel has not violated international laws.

[65] If the rules of International Law were adopted by Israel, there would be an automatic resolution to the conflict and a just settlement would emerge.”

This is a false statement. Israel complies with international law. Sabeel argues that Israel does not simply because it equates ‘international law” with radical Palestinian demands.

There is no evidence that Israeli concessions would resolve Palestinian violence or hostility.

· Israel ’s efforts to meet core Palestinian demands have inflamed instead of resolved the conflict. In 2000 and 2001, Israel offered the Palestinians a state on 97% of the West Bank and 100% of Gaza and a capital in east Jerusalem, and offered to remove most Jewish communities in the Territories. This offer was met with the terrorist war launched in September 2000. When Israel prepared for the Gaza disengagement to turn all of Gaza, free of Jews, over to the PA, barrages of Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks escalated and terrorism hit an 18-month high with 436 incidents in July alone. Haaretz, August 2 2005

· Furthermore, many Palestinians have repeatedly made it clear that their goal is not a two-state solution, but rather the destruction of Israel. In a random sample of 1199 Palestinians conducted by JMCC Public Opinion Polls in September of 2002.. 43% of Palestinians believed the goal of the current Intifada should be the elimination of Israel . ” www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=13885 After the Gaza disengagement, a Hamas leader declared: "I pray to God to assist us in liberating Jerusalem, the West Bank, Acre, Haifa, Jaffa, Safed, Nazareth, Ashkelon and the rest of Palestine." http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1125022806787&p=1101615860782

[66] “To some degree, these other countries are being acknowledged and pressured for their human rights violations by the US and the international community already.”

This is patently untrue particularly in regard to China and Saudi Arabia. There are no other efforts today to marshal international opinion for divestment from one selected nation like the one Sabeel is trying to engineer against Israel. This is true despite the fact that Israel is a free, democratic state while Freedom House has declared the other Middle Eastern nations the least free in the world. Nations like Saudi Arabia allow no religious freedom, persecute minorities, oppress women and do not grant minimal civil and human rights. ( www.freedomhouse.org ) The Sudanese government has been massacring Christians and animists, and Muslims in Darfur.

Nothing reveals Sabeel’s narrow political agenda more than this factual distortion and its transparent effort to justify singling out Israel for international opprobrium. Sabeel is not advocating economic pressure to end severe human rights abuses around the world; it is trying to demonize Israel and cripple it economically.

[67] “obliges us to struggle against and separate ourselves from anti-Semitism.”

Sabeel has provided no evidence that it has separated itself from anti-Semitism. To the contrary, its one-sided litany of accusations against Israel indicate it is part of what is called the ‘new anti-semitism’ which includes the demonization and delegitimization of Israel and applying a double standard that requires Israel to live up higher standards than all other nations.

Criticism of Israel becomes anti-Semitism when it “leaves the bounds of civilized debate and indulges in demonization, flagrant double standards, and the implicit denial of Israel’s right to defend itself--in short, in the appropriation of the traditional modes of anti-Semitism.” Historian Robert Wistrich www.azure.org.il/magazine/magazine.asp?id=260

"Criticism of Israel has become very similar to anti-Semitism. There exists in it a rejection of the Jewish people's right to express its identity in its state; and Israel isn't judged according to the same criteria that are applied to other countries. If anti-Semites once aspired to live in a world rid of Jews, today anti-Semitism's goal is apparently a world cleansed of the Jewish state." Former Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Per Ahlmark www.academics-for-israel.org/

Furthermore, the Sabeel Center it uses deicide imagery to whip up hostility toward the Jewish state, portraying it as a modern-day Christ-killing nation. For example, its founder Anglican Canon Naim Ateek wrote that “The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.” Such language has fomented violence against Jews for centuries.

[68] “The mainline churches in the West have ..maintained a very balanced position vis-à-vis the Palestine/Israel conflict. On the one hand, they have always affirmed Israel’s right to exist.”

This is deceptive. Sabeel implies that it shares these balanced views, but it does not.

Sabeel’s explicit position paper, “The Jerusalem Sabeel Document” does not affirm Israel’s right to exist. It continues to make claims to Israel, demanding the ‘right of return’ for all Palestinians, a demand Arabs states have made since 1949 because, as Egyptian President Nasser said, "If refugees return to Israel, Israel will cease to exist." September 1, 1961 (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths/mf14.html#q). President Clinton had observed that the right of return “ would threaten the very foundations of the state of Israel, and would undermine the whole logic of peace…and for creating a Palestinian state.” www.us-israel.org/jsource/Peace/clintplan.html

Furthermore, while demanding the right of Palestinians to move to Israel, the Jerusalem Document prohibits any Jews from living in the West Bank or Gaza. (p. 7) This is racist.

Finally, the Jerusalem Sabeel Document simply repeats Arab propaganda. It perverts history, blaming Israel for all the wars and violence and keeping silent about the Arabs and Palestinians aggressive efforts since 1948 to destroy the Jewish state. http://www.sabeel.org/documents/Jerusalem%20Sabeel%20Document.pdf

[69] The churches repeatedly and categorically have stood on the side of a just peace for the Palestinians….”

Mainline church leadership’s endorsement of condemning Israel has raised a storm of protest among congregants and clergy.

· Anglican Bishop John Rodgers wrote that "while it is good to hear recommendations from idealistic "peace" societies… it is never wise to endorse them or to expect from them a wise, practical, balanced solution to international violence. And the latest recommendations about disinvestiture…lives up to our worst expectations….Rather as we try to think things through, let justice and mercy be even handed as applied to all parties as best as we are able. However the use of terrorism can never be condoned. It is an entirely unacceptable method of redressing injustice. It is time we say so with no ambiguity." Aug 9 2005 http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2865

· Presbyterian Minister Rebecca Kuiken wrote that “I am opposed to the divestment policy of the PCUSA….[because it ] “contradicts and undermines 50 years of PCUSA commitment to a two-state solution. It attributes the ‘root of evil’ regarding the Occupation to Israel alone and thereby distorts the locus of injustice—and therefore cures. Anti-Semitism, particularly in the form of demonization, remains alive and well. Divestment as a strategy does not achieve the purpose for which it is intended.”

[70] Indeed, the international community has been helpless to prevail upon Israel to halt its oppression of the Palestinians.”

Israel is not oppressing the Palestinians. It is fighting a war that Palestinians launched against it in September 2000.

The international community has been helpless only in prevailing upon the PA to end terrorism and the campaign of violence against innocent Israelis.

[71] “The Palestinian Christian community is small in number….”

The Sabeel document excludes critical information. It does not explain that the Palestinian Christian community is small because the PA, which declared that Islam is its official religion, and radical Islamic groups have persecuted them and forced them to emigrate. “Christians are fleeing from areas under Palestinian Muslim control. That is, if they have a chance,” wrote Malcolm Lowe, an Anglican New Testament scholar living in Jerusalem. Palestinian Christians are being “driven out by the steady persecution of the PA and the realization that they will face worse treatment under a possible future Palestinian state.” US Congressman J.C. Watts, 1997.

[72] In fact some of the main advocates of peace have been Palestinian Christians .”

The Sabeel document is not referring to Christians who advocate peace, but rather to those who have advocated victory for the most radical Palestinian agenda. Furthermore, the document fails to point out that only a small coterie of Palestinian Christians has been active and that others are afraid to speak out against the threats they face from Islamist extremism.

Palestinian Christians are unwilling to point out the negative impact that growing Islamist extremism has on their ability to profess their faith in the West Bank and Gaza. “They can’t afford to point that out because then life will become more difficult for them. Their value is in the degree to which they can enlist their Christian brothers and sisters abroad to the Palestinian cause. Theirs is not a simple situation. They are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.” Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee.

[73] References for Further Study”

These are not references for further study of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. They are simply reiterate Sabeel’s point of view. Not one of them presents an official Israeli point of view, critiques the divestment resolution or discusses terrorism.

[74] New Profile aims to transform Israel from a highly militaristic society to a civilian society dedicated to equality of gender and ethnicity and firmly based on universal human rights.”

This is an accusation that has no grounding in fact. Israel already is a society with as much gender and ethnic equality and human rights as any other western-stye democracy. In many cases, it has more. Israeli society is not militaristic. Ongoing Arab hostility, terrorism and wars have forced it to maintain a strong military infrastructure and a citizens’ army very much like the one maintained by Switzerland which does not even face hostile neighbors as Israel does.

This claim fails to identify the society that does need help transforming itself: the Palestinian Authority where violence against innocent Israelis is celebrated and suicide bombers are acclaimed as martyrs, where competing Mafia-style gangs have created anarchy, where human rights are trampled and women are oppressed.

“The PA's overall human rights record remained poor, and it continued to commit numerous, serious abuses. There were credible reports that PA officers engaged in torture, prisoner abuse, and arbitrary and prolonged detention. Conditions for prisoners were poor. PA security forces infringed privacy and freedom of speech and press. The PA did not take available measures to prevent attacks by terrorist groups either within the occupied territories or within Israel. Impunity was a serious problem. Domestic abuse of women persisted. Societal discrimination against women and persons with disabilities and child labor remained problems .” US Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2004 http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41723.htm#occterr

On September 4 and 5, 2005, “more than 500 Muslim men, chanting Allahu akbar [God is great], attacked” the West Bank Christian village of Taiba, torching and looting homes, because a Muslim woman from a nearby village had been dating a Christian man from Taiba. The woman’s family had already allegedly poisoned and buried her for the transgression. Jerusalem Post, Sept. 5 2005 www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1125831262546



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