United Church of Christ
Palestine - Israel Network

                                                 Online Articles

Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church, USA http://www.theipmn.org/

Palestinian Christians Against the Occupation  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philip-farah/palestinian-christians-against-the-occupation_b_1466027.html

 “Arab Jaffa seized before Israel's creation in 1948” (April/May, 1995) By Donald Neff, in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.  

“Boycotts and divestment” By Mazin Qumsiyeh, from his web site. Includes links to resources and campaigns.

“How US tax breaks fund Israeli settlers”
(9/17/09) By Jonathan Cook, in Countercurrents. 

“The Israel lobby” (3/23/06)
By John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, in London Review of Books, Vol. 28, Issue 6. 

“Palestine: Democracy not Zionism” (9/14/07) By John V. Whitbeck, in The Christian Science Monitor.  http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0914/p09s01-coop.html?page=2

 “Protesters rally in Jaffa against move to evict local Arab families” (4/28/07) By Yigal Hai, in Haaretz.  http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/853180.html

“The war for the house” (9/30/07) By Gideon Levy, in Haaretz. 

                   Reports and Responses to Reports

Some responses to the Goldstone Report
Bisharat, George. “Goldstone Report: Israel's failings,” LA Times (9/18/09)

Slater, Jerome. “The Goldstone Report and Israeli ‘Right of Self-Defense,’” The Huffington Post (3/1/10)

Media Distortion on Palestine
​                 Daoud Nassar                   Tent of Nations 

   Daoud is a Palestinian Christian 
in the West Bank surrounded by three settlements. He is the leader of Tent of Nations, his peace making organization. Internationals come to plant olive trees as a sign of hope and resistance. Youth come to the site to learn about peacemaking. He welcomes soldiers and settlers alike to show peaceful resistance and fellowship.

   Daoud says, "It might be easy 
to talk about peace, but it is very difficult to make it. Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers." Jesus was not talking about the peace talkers. Making the real peace for me is a long process. 
It is like planting an olive tree. We have first to cultivate and prepare the ground, then plant the tree, water it regularly during the hot summers and then wait for the 
first fruits to come after some 
years. And because making peace is a long journey, the first step is to start with building a bridge of understanding, then to go through the process of reconciliation before achieving the real peace that is based on justice."

"Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is crucial and urgent for four reasons: First, the scale of injustice visited upon the Palestinian people is intolerable in and of itself. Second, the conflict is a global one, not just a localized quarrel. The US will never be able to end its many wars in the Middle East, stabilize its relations with the Muslim world, secure its energy resources and geopolitical situation or address its security concerns as long as it festers. Third, the conflict represents a challenge to human rights and international law. If the Occupation wins, as it well could, with American support, power and militarism reassert themselves as the way the world is run, rather than peace and inclusion. Finally, this conflict, happening in the Holy Land no less, tests the relevance of religious values. If Israel and the US prevail and the Palestinian people are locked permanently into impoverished cells, if justice, peace, love, compassion, responsibility and all the values held by religious communities are tramped under occupation, power, militarism, money and exclusivity, then the message to the oppressed worldwide is truly a chilling one. The stakes are high. Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is as important for us as it is for Palestinians and Israelis.
                                    Jeff Halper 
Director of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Settlements surround Daoud's property, yet he plants olive 
trees for future generations.

As of Saturday, September 14, 2013

#The Dalles — Rev. Loren McGrail, a United Church of Christ minister in Chicago, spoke in The Dalles recently about her missionary work in a country that she, unusually, calls Palestine-Israel.

#Most Americans know it as simply Israel, but McGrail is part of a broad movement working to gain recognition of, and reparations for, the estimated 750,000 Palestinians who have been displaced from their homes in Israel since 1947.

#McGrail is home for awhile, but plans to return to Israel in September to continue her work with the YMCA of Palestine, a group that has worked for women’s rights there for 120 years.

#The latest fundraising and awareness-raising effort of the YMCA is selling dolls made out of olive wood, representing real Palestinian women from various parts of what was historically called Palestine, until Israel was created as a Jewish homeland in 1948, following the end of World War II.

#McGrail has spoken to one of the Palestinian woman, Mariam, who is the basis for the “Mariam” doll. The figure has a special embroidered design in its dress that is the design particular to her home village of Bayt Nabala.

#Money from the sale of the dolls provides economic, emotional, health and educational support to Palestinian women and girls living in two refugee camps. For more information, email council@ywca-palestine.org or priced@ucc.org.

#Part of McGrail’s mission, she said, is to be “the big listener. They hope by telling me that I will tell others, which is what I’m trying to do.”

#Mariam was 16 when she left her village. They left because a “rain of bullets was falling on them. They were being shot at by the Israelis and the British,” McGrail said.

#The woman in front of Mariam was shot and killed while she was nursing a baby. “Mariam did not take that baby and she wonders to this day what happened to it,” McGrail said.

#The Mariam doll features the real Mariam in her special occasion dress. It is a dress she hasn’t worn much, she said.

#“If your life has been full of loss and death, you don’t wear your party dress,” McGrail said.

#Palestine was a British protectorate for nearly three decades before it was made a Jewish state. Palestinians are mostly Arab Muslims, and both the Arabs and Jews claim the area as their historical homeland.

#The land was part of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 400 years. In World War I, the British convinced Arabs to help them fight the Ottomans. They did and won, and most of the land came under British control, according to Wikipedia.

#Arabs and Jews — each of whom had begun nationhood movements at the end of the last century — began skirmishing against one another by 1920, and each economically discriminated against the other, leading to displacement of both Arabs and Jews.

#The area had a majority Arab population, but a trickle of Jewish immigration became a surge in the years leading up to World War II.

#Following establishment of Israel as a Jewish nation in 1948, wars between Israel and surrounding Arab nations followed in 1948, 1967 and 1973.

#In each instance, Israel gained more land. In some instances, it eventually gave it back.

#McGrail said the UCC has long been an advocate of the JustPeace movement, which seeks a peace in Palestine-Israel that is fair to both sides.

#“[JustPeace means] it’s not enough to stop killing each other. There has to be work on creating and supporting the conditions for justice,” she said.

#And justice includes “ending the occupation. It means equal rights for Arabs with Israel and it means a right of return for Palestinians who were expelled or displaced like in ’48 or ’67.”

#The occupants of some 450 villages were forcibly resettled, either within Israel or to neighboring Arab nations.

#Under international law, exiled Palestinians have the right to return to their homes, she said.

#“People thought they were leaving for a few days. It’s 65 years later.”

#In some instances, Palestinian Arab villagers were massacred, McGrail said. She said the site of one famous massacre, where some 150 to 200 Palestinian Arabs were killed, is visible from the exit of Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to victims of the Holocaust. The museum and research center tells the story of the murder of six million Jews by Nazi Germany in World War II.

#There, at the museum’s exit, “you are looking out to the massacred village of Deir Yassin,” McGrail said. “The irony is awful.”

#In speaking about her work in Israel, she said she’s trying to provide a context for the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and for the occupation by Israelis of traditionally Palestinian lands.

#During the Six-Day war in 1967, Israel seized lands from Egypt, Syria and Jordan, and the United Nations has designated those lands as Israeli-occupied territories. Israel calls them “disputed territories.”

#While some of the lands Israel gained in wars have since been returned, Israeli settlements have been established in other areas.

#“These settlements are huge tracts of land taken from Palestinians where Israelis live and have huge factories,” she said.

#“These are not agricultural settlements,” said Karl Vercouteren, with United Church of Christ. “These are huge cities.”

#McGrail said, “We’re not delegitimizing Israel and its right to exist and to have security. We’re not saying the U.S. isn’t doing anything [about the occupation] because of the Jews here [in the U.S.] It’s truly more complicated than that.”

#Her father helped liberate concentration camps at the end of World War II, and it gives her an insight and connection to Jews, she feels. But there is also the reality of what is happening in Israel to Palestinians.

#An example is that, like black men in the U.S., Palestinians are overrepresented in Israeli jails, she said.

#The United Church of Christ signed the 2009 Kairos Document, which is a document from Palestinian Christians asking Christians throughout the world to do three things. First is “to hear the suffering [of Arab Christians and Muslims] that is happening under the occupation,” McGrail said; second is to see or witness what is happening; and third is to engage in active, non-violent resistance to the occupation, specifically, to support the boycott, disinvestment and sanctions movement.

#The call for a boycott movement came from Palestinian civil society in 2007, which was seeking to follow in the footsteps of South Africa, which used economic sanctions to end apartheid.

#The Palestinian sanctions effort targets specific products made in occupied Palestinian territories. The list is provided at www.whoprofits.org.

#The United Church of Christ joined 14 other churches in December 2012 in asking Congress to withhold military aid to Israel until international law is followed in the occupied territories.

#“This is the first time the churches in the US have put their mouths, their bodies, together to say ‘no’ to illegal occupation of Palestine,” she said.

#There are rules for how to occupy another country, she said, and Israel isn’t following those rules.

#Last November, the United Nations gave Palestine observer status as a state. “That means the rest of the world — except the U.S. — recognizes Palestine as a state,” she said.

Chicago Minister Works For Palestinian      Justice LOREN MCGRAIL, a United Church of Christ minister who visited The Dalles from Chicago, holds a “Mariam” doll based on an actual Palestinian woman. McGrail is working for justice in the country she calls Palestine-Israel. Neita Cecil photo

                     By Neita Cecil