Economic Pressure as a Tool for
Establishing a Just Peace in the
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: email@example.com
Ecumenical Advocacy Group
PO Box 14076
Jerusalem 91 140
EAG* PO Box 14076* Jerusalem * via Israel* 91140