Petition 81196

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Way Forward for Israel and Palestinians (81196-GM-R9999)

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A Way Forward for Israel and the Palestinians  
WHEREAS: The state of Israel and the Palestinian people have been in a state of conflict with varying levels of violence for at least 40 years, and
WHEREAS: Perpetual conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is contrary to the will of God as understood by the people of the United Methodist Church, and
WHEREAS: Justice for all peoples involved in this ongoing conflict cannot be achieved without a lasting peace among them, and  
WHEREAS: The Palestinian people are presently a people without a country to call their own, and  
WHEREAS: The future of the people of Israel and of the Palestinian people are interwoven so closely that any positive change will have to be generated primarily by the Israelis and the Palestinians working together, and furthermore, the role of other nations in resolving the issues will be important but only of a  supporting nature to the work of the Israelis and the Palestinians to resolve their issues, and  
WHEREAS: United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 242, adopted after the Six-Day War of 1967, forms the bedrock of the international community’s understanding of what a just solution to the issue must entail, and recognizing that UNSC 242 explicitly calls for the right of all nations of the Middle East “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force,” and furthermore, that UNSC 242 also calls for “achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem” and for guarantees of “the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area,” and
WHEREAS: The Israeli government has since 2000 tendered its acceptance in principal of a nation for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and recognizing that since then, successive governments of the Palestinian Authority have refused to agree, and furthermore recognizing that any sovereignty by the Palestinians over the West Bank will necessarily require a resolution to the issue of Israeli settlements there in a manner acceptable to the Palestinians, and
WHEREAS: There is not now a single governing authority of the Palestinian people because of the absence of Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas, and recognizing that Hamas has been named a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union even though Hamas was elected in Gaza, consolidating its power through lethal violence, and recognizing with concern that Hamas continues to advocate the destruction of the state of Israel and continues to launch attacks against Israeli civilians from within Gaza,  
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the United Methodist Church:
    1.    Affirms without reservation the right of the people of Israel to live in peace within secure and internationally-recognized borders, within which the state of Israel exercises sovereign national authority in accordance with democratic principles.
2.    Condemns violence by Hamas against Israeli civilians and Palestinian political opponents.
3.    Calls upon the government of the United States to work to achieve a resolution of the Israel-Palestinian issue in accordance with the principles below:
        a.    There should be a single governing authority over the Palestinian people, chosen by ballot and not by violence.
b.    The governments of Israel and the Palestinian people to agree to the creation of a Palestinian nation in the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip under terms agreeable to them both.  
c.    Permanent acceptance by the people and governments of Israel and the Palestinians of the existence of each others’ respective states within borders agreed by both sides.
d.    Status of the city of Jerusalem to be agreed to by both sides, with proviso that unencumbered access persons of various faiths to all sites of their respective faiths be guaranteed by all parties.
e.    The withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from Palestinian areas to be accomplished according to benchmarks established by agreement of both sides.
f.    The governments of Israel and the Palestinians effectively to exercise control over persons or groups among their societies who conduct aggressive violence against the other, to prevent such acts of violence and to prosecute those who carry them out.