Resolution on "Christmas Gift Aid for Bethlehem, Palestine, Israel and Lebanon"
Whereas: Bethlehem's tourism-based economy has been devastated over the past six years and now its remaining agricultural lands and employment connections to Jerusalem are being severed by the "security barrier" or wall, built on Palestinian land, that effectively divides the occupied West Bank, contributing to mounting levels of unemployment and malnutrition. The NCCCUSA and CWS have opposed the occupation and the barrier wall, while also condemning terrorism and opposing violence in all forms among Israeli army and settlers, and Palestinian Christians and Muslims; and,
Whereas: Palestine includes, besides East Jerusalem and the West Bank, also Gaza, over which Israel retains effective control through control of all access by land, sea and air of all persons and goods, and which is subjected to frequent military incursions, bombings, targeted killings. Malnutrition is high and civil society set back by violence and the imprisonment of elected officials; and,
Whereas: Lebanon generally, and not simply its ruined South, has suffered massive population displacement, hundreds of civilian casualties, systematically destroyed infrastructure, continued cross-border incursions by Israeli forces and constant danger from anti-personnel bomblets dropped throughout many villages and farm areas, causing Christians and Muslims continue to leave Lebanon; and,
Whereas: The people of Israel have been subjected to violence in northern Israel, causing the loss of civilian life, the destruction of property, and the displacement of over one million persons, and have been subjected co violence near Gaza, creating increased fear, sense of vulnerability and anger, and widening the divisions between Israeli Jews and Arabs, as well as undermining any hope for peace and security; and,
Whereas: Significant aid is first and foremost a Christian and humanitarian act of love and solidarity, it is particularly important to support Christian connections and communities in the Middle East in a time of increased anti-Americanism; and,
'Whereas: Christmas is the primary Christian holiday for giving gifts, and is always an occasion for significant evangelical witness to the birth of Jesus in the Holy Land;
Therefore, be it resolved,
That the General Assembly of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA and Church World Service requests that Church World Service and the relief agencies of the member and cooperating communions consider the development of an emergency aid program, entitled "Christmas Gift for Bethlehem, Palestine, Israel, and Lebanon" using existing aid channels and lifting up the particularly dire circumstances of the current period.
1. The resolution has been inspired by the experiences and learnings of the NCCClJSA delegation to Lebanon and the CWS/African-American church leaders delegations to Lebanon and Israel and Palestine.
2. The resolution is addressed to Church World Service and the relief agencies of the member communions and cooperative agencies.
3. The resolution is based upon the NCCCUSA Policy Statement on the Middle East, 6 November 1980, and subsequent actions.
4. The resolution consists of four paragraphs detailing the current situation in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel, followed by one paragraph requesting action.
5. The resolution requests that an emergency relief program coincident with the Christmas season by undertaken by the above mentioned relief agencies.