Economic Pressure as a Tool for
Establishing a Just Peace in the
Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

Since 1948, much of the world has been active in calling for a solution to the conflict in the Middle East that would respect the welfare, needs and rights of both the Arab and Jewish peoples.  All major Christian denominations have repeatedly affirmed Israel's right to exist within permanent, recognized and secure borders, while at the same time recognizing Palestinian rights to self-determination.  In 1967, following the Israeli occupation of the remaining Palestinian territory in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza strip, those churches have continuously called for the end of the occupation and supported the international calls for a two-state solution.  This would include a state of Israel with safe and secure borders based upon the Armistice Line of 1948 (its borders as recently as 1967). It would also include a state of Palestine with safe and secure borders based upon the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem in a manner that permits geographical integrity and economic viability.
During 2000 – 2004, with the violence between the parties escalating, most major Christian communities have persistently held that the root of the violence on both sides is the continuing Israeli occupation and colonization of the Palestinian territories.  Through decades of dialogue and advocacy, nothing has stopped the Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land and their environmental resources or the increasing settlement of an Israeli Jewish population in those territories.  In fact, the population in the colonies doubled during the years of the Oslo process (September 1993-December 2000).  Even now with a possibility of the colonies in the Gaza Strip being evacuated, colonies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem continue to expand and new outposts are being established.
Throughout the years of the conflict, church communities and other organizations have promoted a variety of non-violent direct actions that would help bring about positive change in this on-going conflict.  Today, some of those churches, numerous non-governmental organizations, educational facilities and governments are either developing or implementing policies that place economic pressure on the State of Israel.  The purpose is to signal that the road to a just peace is dependent on the immediate end of the occupation. This would make possible a negotiated peace agreement that promotes the security and prosperity of Israel as well as that of a Palestinian state.  These positions have been informed by and are sensitive to the perspectives of Christians in the region as well as Christian-Jewish and Christian-Muslim relations. They are in concert with the voices of Israeli, Palestinian, and international peacemakers. They are in harmony with the stipulations of international law and standing UN resolutions.
Incorporating economic pressure into the churches' response to this conflict is a critical decision, not made without deliberation and concern for the variety of consequences.  Boycotts and economic divestment raise questions for people as they seek to make wise, consistent and compassionate choices in their efforts to assist in an end to Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a just and durable peace.  An ecumenical group of North American Christian workers in the Holy Land developed this document to help provide answers to some of the most common questions asked when churches, organizations and people weigh whether to begin economic direct action.  Throughout the paper are numerous websites and articles listed which will assist those who want more detailed information.  It is a working document and certainly not exhaustive, but we hope it will be a useful tool in your consideration.  
You can direct questions or responses to:
English-speaking Congregation
Ecumenical Advocacy Group
PO Box 14076
Jerusalem 91 140
Via Israel
EAG* PO Box 14076* Jerusalem * via Israel* 91140