Written by Bennett Guess
Lamenting the 40th anniversary of the 1967 War involving Israel and its occupied territories, leaders of the United Church of Christ and its partner church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), released a statement describing June 1967 as “a watershed moment in the history of the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
“For the last 40 years, the Palestinian people have lived under occupation,” the statement reads. “For the past 40 years, the Israeli people have lived with an ongoing debate about what to do with the occupied territories.”
Titled “1967-2007: The ‘Seventh’ Day Has Meant No Respite,” the 1,000-word statement is signed by the Rev. John H. Thomas, UCC general minister and president; the Rev. Sharon Watkins, Disciples’ general minister and president; the Rev. Cally Rogers-Witte and the Rev. David Vargas, co-executives of the UCC/Disciples’ Common Global Ministries Board.
The statement outlines how generations of Palestinians and Israelis have been adversely affected by the occupation, and says church leaders will continue to advocate for a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure and sovereign Israel.
“As the occupation enters its fifth decade, settlements continue to be expanded, the separation barrier continues to be built, and Israeli forces continue to exert control over the Palestinian people within the occupied territories,” the statement reads.
“The United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have consistently called for an end to Israeli occupation of Arab lands, consistent with U.N. resolutions and international law. We continue to advocate, with increasing urgency, for an end to all violence.”
Read the full statement at UCC/Disciples’ Global Ministries website.