Friday Plenary on Middle East Issues

Presbyterians for Middle East Peace recommends that the plenary support the recommendations of the Middle East Committee. We do this despite disagreeing with the position the Committee took on several of the overtures. The Committee worked hard, debated the issues thoroughly, and perfected the overtures to their liking. We see little that will be gained by the plenary attempting to re-open the debate.

Three overtures of particular importance are:

12-2 passed overwhelming in the committee and should have been on the Consent Agenda. One of the members of the committee has pulled it to amended it to ask that PCUSA petition President Trump to remain a part of the UN Commission on Human Rights. On the same day as the committee vote came up President Trump decided to withdraw the US from the Commission. That amendment is fine with us. We just hope that since the Overture now will be open to amendments that some don’t try and wreck the language that the committee worked hard to create and overwhelmingly supported.

12-5 passed with a healthy margin. The committee created and passed an alternate overture that calls for balanced interfaith dialogue between Presbyterians and the Jewish community as it relates to the Occupation. The goal is to remain committed to a dialogue with as broad a range of voices as is possible. Again, we hope the original language is supported.

12-11 passed with a smaller margin and calls for local congregations to join in reconciliation programs in Israel-Palestine. The committee had a healthy conversation about this topic and in the end sought to approve the work of reconciliation as building bridges on the ground. We believe that on-the-ground efforts to build understanding between Palestinians and Israelis is absolutely essential to any possible future solution to the conflict.