The resolution passed by the 41st General Council 2012 “identified the importance of trust-building programs between Palestinians and Israelis by:
- encouraging stronger connections between United Church programs and organizations that build understanding between Palestinians and Israelis;
- exploring and supporting initiatives for increasing connections in Canada between Palestinian Canadians and Jewish Canadians.”
Palestinians and Israelis, and Jews, Christians, and Muslims—in the region and in Canada—have long been engaged in dialogue and collaboration in a variety of ways. United Church people have supported these initiatives for many years, some of which are carried out by Mission and Service partners. In addition to the goals of building trust and relationship, these offer opportunities for learning about and confronting challenging issues of complicity in antisemitism, Islamophobia, Christian Zionism, and empire. See Interfaith Relations for the United Church’s major statements and study guides on ecumenism and relations with Jewish and Muslim religions.
As one of the actions encouraged in the Unsettling Goods campaign, CHOOSE to learn about some of these initiatives, and consider how your community of faith might support this work:
- Peace, Justice and Coexistence Program
As part of the International Christian Committee of Israel (ICCI) in the Galilee, this program is an initiative of the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees, a Mission & Service partner. Through community-based consultations and workshops of civil society, and legal and official bodies, this program works to bring about understanding to cultivate a culture of openness and trust between Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land, and as a means for the achievement of equal rights for the Arab Palestinian minority in Israel.
- Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)
The programme brings internationals to the West Bank to experience life under occupation. Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) provide protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitor and report human rights abuses, and support Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace. When they return home, EAs campaign for a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through an end to the occupation, respect for international law, and implementation of UN resolutions. The Local Reference Group of EAPPI is a joint Palestinian–Israeli advisory body that provides guidance, advice, information, and support to the local staff and the programme. The LRG works on strengthening relations with local churches and partner organizations, promoting the EAPPI locally and nationally, suggesting new partnerships, and advising on security and political concerns.
- Parents’ Circle - Families Forum (PCFF)
PCFF is a joint Palestinian–Israeli organization of over 600 families, all of whom have lost a close family member as a result of the prolonged conflict. Joint activities have shown that the reconciliation between individuals and nations is possible, and it is this insight that they are trying to pass on to both sides of the conflict. Moreover, the PCFF has concluded that the process of reconciliation between nations is a prerequisite to achieving a sustainable peace. The organization thus uses all resources available in education, public meetings, and the media to spread these ideas.
- Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salaam (Oasis of Peace)
A cooperative village of Jews and Palestinian Arabs of Israeli citizenship where, 35 years ago, Jewish and Palestinian Israelis chose voluntarily to live side by side; a unique place where Jewish and Palestinian children are raised together. A Canadian Association of Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salaam is based in Calgary, Alberta.
- Rabbis for Human Rights
This blog is the only rabbinic voice of conscience in Israel, defending human rights of marginalized communities in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
- Other Voice
A grassroots volunteer initiative comprised of citizens from the communities bordering the Gaza border. Leaders say, “Other Voice knows that our violent reality can and must be altered. In our work, we keep in contact with Gazans and call for an end to the siege and for an end to the attacks, from both sides, that target primarily innocent citizens. We work toward the co-creation of a sustainable reality for all.”
- Combatants for Peace
A movement started jointly by Palestinians and Israelis who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence, Israelis as soldiers in the Israeli army (IDF) and Palestinians as part of the violent struggle for Palestinian freedom. “After brandishing weapons for so many years, and having seen one another only through weapon sights, we have decided to put down our guns, and to fight for peace.”
- Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims
This association brings members of the Jewish and Muslim communities in Canada closer together to promote positive interaction and to work together to counter problems faced by both communities. Their objectives are to learn, understand, and jointly work together in order to promote harmony between Canadian Muslims and Jews.
- Peace it Together
This program unites Palestinian, Israeli, and Canadian youth for a program of dialogue and filmmaking. The films they co-create are used to advance reconciliatory approaches to ending the conflict. Staff support youth as they foster dialogue and share their films in their own communities, and become empowered to work in equitable partnerships as peace builders.