Thursday, 9 July 2009

Palestine and the Methodist Conference

It's been too's too hard sometimes to keep up with the myriad news reports coming out of Israel-Palestine.

The Methodist Church in Britain has long supported the Palestinian community, regularly passing resolutions at its annual Conference. This year was no different, yesterday saw two Notices of Motion adopted on the subject.

Notice of Motion 210: Supporting the work of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

"The Methodist Conference, recognising the need for peace and justice for all groups in Palestine and Israel and noting President Obama’s statement in Cairo about the “intolerable” suffering of Palestinians,
(i) restates its opposition to violence by all groups and its opposition to the continuing military occupation by Israel of the Palestinian Territories (condemned in UN Resolution 242), and noting the many Israelis who work for peace and justice at considerable personal cost especially Jeff Halper, a Jewish American, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006;
(ii) commends the work of ICAHD who work to prevent the illegal demolition of Palestinian homes by Israel and help in rebuilding homes destroyed by Israeli forces; and
(iii) encourages Methodists to find out about the practical and prophetic work of ICAHD working for a just and sustainable peace for both Israelis and Palestinians."

Secondly, a proposal to establish a Working Group in order to "bring to Conference 2010, a statement of the Methodist Church’s position on Israel/Palestine, taking into account past resolutions of Conference and international law".

On a personal level, such actions by the Conference were reassuring following the revelation a few weeks ago that the Israeli Ministry of Tourism had been given an exhibition slot at the Conference. Once this matter had been brought to the attention of those organising Conference (and the fact that it contradicted the spirit the church has had towards Palestinians in recent years), the slot was rescinded. A further Notice of Motion was passed to ensure that in future "only those organisations with strong Methodist links, and those whose policies are not inconsistent with Methodist policies or Statements, be invited to exhibit".

(Courtesy of the Daily Record for July 8th)