[Sayma-Discuss] Britain Yearly Meeting urges recognition of Palestine

Larry Ingle lingle at bellsouth.net
Mon Aug 18 15:27:34 EDT 2014


Susan Jeffers will have to ask those who supported the BYM minute about what
they intended.  I know of no one on this list who would presume to do so;
certainly I wouldn¹t.

But she is correct that the centerpiece of the minute is the demand for
recognition of a Palestinian state, which would take the same form as a
country¹s recognition of any other nation.  There is no doubt that an
American or UK decision to do this would be an earthquake in Israel‹and much
of the Arab world.  I would fundamentally lead to reordering of
international attitudes toward the entire conflict.

In my own opinion, for what little that is worth, the problem has seemed
insoluble since 1947-48 because the state of Israel was created on territory
occupied by another group of people, and this state of Israel has enjoyed
the support of the most powerful countries in the world ever since.  Since
even God himself can not change history, we mere humans can not go back to
1947-48, so we have to make do with what we¹ve got now and respond to it.
BYM has proposed one way forward‹from where we are now.  It may not be the
only way, it may not even be the best way, but it is a way that certainly
calls for a good bit of discussion and ultimately trial.  Unfortunately, I
don¹t see too much political will anywhere to explore this course.

For what it¹s worth.

Larry Ingle
Chattanooga


On 8/18/14 10:26 AM, "susan at read-the-bible.org" <susan at read-the-bible.org>
wrote:

> Greetings, Friends -
>  
> Thanks for sharing the Britain Yearly Meeting minute on Palestine/Israel.  I
> am pretty confused about what it means, exactly, both in principle (supporting
> unilateralism rather than continuing to work for a negotiated settlement?) and
> in practical detail, particularly what would likely result were BYM to be
> successful in its goals.  For example, I wonder what BYM might envision for
> the 5 million UNRWA-registered Palestinian refugees, those in Gaza and the
> West Bank and elsewhere.  Granted one minute can't cover everything, but every
> proposed action has broader consequences...
>  
> The 3-part BYM centerpiece:
>  
> "They urge the UK Government to recognise Palestine as a nation state; they
> call for a comprehensive arms embargo on all sides in the conflict and for an
> end to Israel¹s blockade of Gaza and occupation of Palestine."
>  
> The first part (recognition of Palestine), I suppose, would be analogous to
> FCNL lobbying Congress to recognize Palestine as a nation state.  What would
> that look like, exactly?  Would it be just a "minute" of recognition, or would
> such recognition entail setting up an embassy, appointing an ambassador,
> making treaties, all that sort of thing?  Were Britain or the US to take such
> a step, what might one imagine would happen next, on the world stage?  I found
> the Wikipedia article on "International recognition of the State of Palestine"
> helpful, particularly the world map at the top and the reasons countries give
> for not recognizing Palestine as a state:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_recognition_of_the_State_of_Palesti
> ne 
>  
> The second part (arms embargo) would of course include lobbying the US to stop
> military assistance to Israel, and presumably the aid (governmental or
> otherwise) to Palestine that is diverted to arms.  It's not so easy for me to
> imagine what method anyone would use, to persuade whoever is currently funding
> Hamas to participate in an embargo. Furthermore, would the signees to an
> embargo also be signing up to defend Israel from its other neighbors?
> Palestinians have never been more than a tiny fraction of the "existential
> threat" to Israel, but rather a longstanding pawn in a broader struggle.
>  
> The third part (Israeli blockade/occupation)...  well, gee, what can I say.  I
> wonder why there's nothing in the 3-part summary concerning Palestinians
> returning to principles of non-violence, or at least stopping with the rockets
> and tunnels from Gaza.  Would BYM envision Egypt opening its border with Gaza,
> or only Israel?
>  
> The first part (recognition) is something BYM wants the UK government to do.
> The second part (embargo) is something BYM apparently wants the US to do,
> although taken at face value it would also include the funders of Hamas,
> whoever they might be these days; buried down in the body of the email there
> is a mention of including "Hamas and armed Palestinian groups" in the embargo.
> The third part (blockade/occupation) is something BYM wants Israel (and
> perhaps Egypt) to do unilaterally.
>  
> The assumption seems to be that, if only the nations of the West would
> recognize Palestine as a state and stop arming Israel, and if Israel would
> unilaterally return to 1967 boundaries, then peace would prevail.
>  
> Perhaps Friends should try to urge Israel to renounce its own statehood in
> favor of Arab governance of the region.  I've thought more than once that
> abandoning Israeli statehood altogether is the logical conclusion of this line
> of discourse. It's interesting to compare the list of countries that have
> never recognized the state of Israel to those that do recognize the state of
> Palestine:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_recognition_of_Israel
>  
> ---
>  
> Granted that the governments of the UK and US will inevitably play a role in
> all this, and hence there is a role for Peace Church lobbyists as well,
> nevertheless this "On Being" podcast is much more representative of what I
> think of, as a more Quakerly approach to working for peace:
>  
> http://www.onbeing.org/program/no-more-taking-sides/134
>  
> Note the discussion includes a short bit about the BDS movement and the
> Presbyterian decision to divest its Caterpillar stock, which decision was then
> in the news.
>  
> ---
>  
> I was very pleased to see the BYM mention of Friends' continuing commitment to
> "challenge" anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.  Clearly much of the world is
> afraid of Islamic violence, and also much of the world is against the Jews,
> whether Israeli or otherwise.
>  
> ---
>  
> I found this part of the detail of the BYM quite intriguing, and would be
> interested to know what exactly British Friends envision:
>> The UK Government should also play its part in creating a real opportunity
>> for peace by drawing groups such as Hamas into the political process and thus
>> away from violent resistance to the occupation. We have seen around the world
>> how those once labelled as terrorists can come to be recognised for their
>> statesmanship.
> Britain obviously has a lot more experience than the US in "drawing groups
> into the political process" particularly in the Middle East.
>  
> ---
>  
> Grace and peace and love to you all -- thanks again for sharing the minute,
> Free.  I attend to Quaker discussion of these matters only intermittently, and
> participate even less often.
>  
> Susan Jeffers
> sojourning with Charleston WV Friends
> member of Ann Arbor Monthly Meeting, Lake Erie Yearly Meeting, FGC
>  
>  
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: [Sayma-Discuss] Britain Yearly Meeting urges recognition of
> Palestine
> From: "Free Polazzo" <freepolazzo at att.net>
> Date: Sun, August 17, 2014 1:42 pm
> To: "'afmdiscussion groups'" <afmdiscussion at yahoogroups.com>, "SAYMA
> Discussion List" <sayma-discuss at kitenet.net>
> 
> 
> Quakers urge recognition of Palestine
> 
> Home » Resources » News and events » News » News releases
> News Release
> 08 August 2014
> Quakers urge recognition of Palestine
> Amid faltering ceasefires and talks, Quakers in Britain are calling for urgent
> action on Gaza. They urge the UK Government to recognise Palestine as a nation
> state; they call for a comprehensive arms embargo on all sides in the conflict
> and for an end to Israel¹s blockade of Gaza and occupation of Palestine.
> The calls for action come in a statement made by the decision making body of
> Quakers in Britain, the Yearly Meeting, attended by 2,000 Quakers in Bath. As
> part of their commitment to peacemaking, Quakers continue to challenge
> anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
> The Yearly Meeting heard essential steps towards full and fair negotiations:
> 
> Palestine to be recognised as a nation state
> An end to indiscriminate fire by all sides
> A comprehensive arms embargo
> An end to Israel¹s occupation of Palestinian territory and blockade of Gaza
> Freeing elected Palestinian leaders now held as political prisoners
> The use of international law to hold all parties to account for their actions.
> The Yearly Meeting heard that this week that Quakers were invited to meet
> Foreign Office ministers on the crisis. Teresa Parker, programme manager for
> Israel and Palestine for Quakers in Britain, was among representatives from
> faith and secular agencies who went to share views and experience of the
> region.
> A key motivation for Yearly Meeting is valuing all life. The Yearly Meeting
> statement says:
> ³As we among other Nobel Peace Laureates have said, ŒThe conflict between the
> Palestinians and the Israelis will only be resolved when Israel¹s occupation
> of the Palestinian territory is ended and the inherent equality, worth, and
> dignity of all is realised.¹ Peacebuilding is a long and demanding path to
> takeŠ We long for ­ and will work for ­ a time when the deep fear experienced
> on all sides is replaced by security and a just peace."
> The Yearly Meeting statement in full reads:
> A statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict made by Quakers in Britain at
> their Yearly Meeting in Bath, 8 August 2014
> ³ At this time of sombre anniversaries, as we observe the centenary of the
> outbreak of World War I and the anniversaries of nuclear bombs dropped on the
> people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki we find our Quaker testimonies to peace and
> equality again compel us to speak out.
> ³The hostilities in Gaza are the latest eruption of the deep and long-running
> conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Root causes of this conflict,
> including the structural violence of occupation, must be addressed. Such
> violence damages all the people of the region. The present time, with its
> faltering ceasefires and talks, is a time of both crisis and opportunity.
> ³From our long-standing Quaker experience of working on this issue in
> Palestine, Israel and Britain, and from listening to the testimony of Quakers
> in Ramallah, we are convinced that the UK Government has a real role to play.
> A starting place would be for the UK to recognise Palestine as a nation state
> on the same basis as it recognises Israel. We note that 134 states have
> already recognised the State of Palestine. The UK Government should also play
> its part in creating a real opportunity for peace by drawing groups such as
> Hamas into the political process and thus away from violent resistance to the
> occupation. We have seen around the world how those once labelled as
> terrorists can come to be recognised for their statesmanship. It is our view
> that freeing elected Palestinian leaders now held as political prisoners would
> help Palestine to develop as a flourishing economic, political and civil
> society.
> ³The international community remains complicit in the conflict for as long as
> it fails to make full use of the mechanisms provided by international law, to
> hold all parties to account for their actions. Under international law, at all
> times, all parties should distinguish between civilians and combatants, though
> as Quakers we place equal value on every human life. The Israeli Government's
> ongoing blockade of Gaza and its apparent collective punishment of the people
> must end, as must indiscriminate fire by all sides.
> ³Amid the present crisis, we are reminded that the people of the West Bank,
> living under Israeli occupation face restrictions on movement; loss of land
> and water; demolitions; the continuing building of settlements; detention
> without trial and violence by settlers and the Israeli military. Such
> suffering often sows seeds of future violence.
> ³The anniversary of World War I reminds us how easily militarised societies
> can slide into armed conflict and become blind to the alternatives to war. At
> such times, the international community has a responsibility to avoid fuelling
> the conflict. We join others in asking for a comprehensive arms embargo on
> Israel, Hamas and armed Palestinian groups. Quakers in Britain ask the UK
> Government to take a lead on this by halting arms exports to Israel.
> ³As we, among other Nobel Peace Laureates, have said, 'The conflict between
> the Palestinians and the Israelis will only be resolved when Israel¹s
> occupation of the Palestinian territory is ended and the inherent equality,
> worth, and dignity of all is realised¹. Peacebuilding is a long and demanding
> path to take, but an essential one.
> ³Quakers in Britain feel called to act alongside others to address the roots
> of violence. We continue to uphold Quakers in the region and those working
> nonviolently for peace and human rights within Israel and Palestine. Quakers
> will continue to challenge anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, as we oppose all
> forms of prejudice. We long for ­ and will work for ­ a time when the deep
> fear experienced on all sides is replaced by security and a just peace.
> Signed
> Chris Skidmore
> Clerk of the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in
> Britain
> Quakers in Britain send human rights monitors to the West Bank, East
> Jerusalem, but not Gaza. On behalf of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
> and other Christian agencies Quakers in Britain runs the Ecumenical
> Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). Ecumenical
> accompaniers focus global attention on Israeli and Palestinian peace and human
> rights groups. EAPPI uses the standards of human rights and international law
> to work for an end to the occupation and for a just peace with security and
> dignity for all.
> Ends
> 
> 
> Notes to editors
> 134 nations have already recognised the State of Palestine (source:
> Palestinian Mission UK).
> The Nobel Peace Laureates¹ statement is here
> http://www.quaker.org.uk/news/nobel-peace-laureates-call-real-peace-between-is
> raelis-and-palestinians
> The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is a
> World Council of Churches (WCC) initiative which was established in 2002 in
> response to a call made by the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, and Palestinian
> and Israeli NGOs. Since August 2002, about 1,000 ecumenical accompaniers from
> more than 20 countries have served in Israel and Palestinian territories. More
> than 160 of these EAs were from Britain and Ireland. See
> www.quaker.org.uk/eappi <http://www.quaker.org.uk/eappi>
> Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends.
> Around 23,000 people attend 478 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment
> to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek
> positive social and legislative change.
> At the Yearly Meeting Gathering, 2,000 Quakers, including 300 young people,
> have been at the University of Bath campus for a mixture of worship, business,
> interest groups, and significant lectures, exploring ŒWhat it means to be a
> Quaker today¹. Junior Yearly Meeting, for 14 to 18 year olds, has run
> alongside YMG.
> Media Information
> Anne van Staveren
> 0207 663 1048
> 07958 009703
> annev at quaker.org.uk
> 
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