This year marks a decade since the Office of Public Witness joined the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy.
The Forum was first formed to serve as an informal coordination body for churches and church-based organizations working to support peace and justice in Israel-Palestine and the broader Middle East.
Soon after forming, Faith Forum members began a coordinated effort, sending out messages to supporters to encourage action for change. Our alerts have focused on many different issues – settlement construction, home demolitions, restrictions on Palestinian movement, the killing of Palestinians without accountability, denial of religious freedoms, and more.
Take action with us again: call on Congress to pass HR 2590, which calls for accountability for Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.
Because of the commitment of supporters like you, tens of thousands of messages have been sent to members of Congress lifting these concerns and asking for changes in US policy. And we have seen positive impacts.
The introduction of legislation calling attention to Palestinian human rights concerns, like HR 2590, demonstrates a growing coalition within Congress that recognizes that violations of Palestinian rights cannot be ignored. Your actions are making a difference.
At the same time, the situation on the ground in Israel and Palestine has not improved. Home demolitions, settlement construction, settler violence, forced displacement, the Gaza blockade, and other violations of Palestinian rights continue unabated. As we have also noted previously, the different rights violations that we have highlighted cannot be viewed in isolation from one another. Taken together, they are each part of an Israeli structure of control and occupation that systematically discriminates against Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories. And it is this systematic inequality and discrimination that must end if peace is to be achieved. As Speaker Pelosi and members of Congress travel to Israel this week to express “ironclad” US support for Israel, we hope they will meet with Palestinians and visit the occupied territories, including Gaza.
Last month, Amnesty International became the latest organization in a growing list of Palestinian, Israeli, and international human rights organizations to issue a report detailing how discriminatory Israeli actions and policies qualify as a form of Apartheid against Palestinians.
As faith communities, we have not all taken a position on using the word "Apartheid." Still, we recognize the systematic and structural inequalities that shape Palestinians’ lives and understand that we must study and prayerfully consider these reports and their conclusions. Here are links to the Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, and B’tselem reports.
And as you read these reports, we also ask that you take action by calling on Congress to pass HR 2590.
Join us and together we can bring change.