Bishops pass 3 resolutions on peace in Gaza and Palestinian state, reject 4 more resolutions on Middle East – Episcopal News Service

Pennsylvania Bishop Daniel Gutiérrez, chairman of the Committee on Social Justice and International Politics, presents his committee’s resolutions to the full House of Bishops on June 23, the first official day of the 81st General Convention. Photo: Randall A. Gornowich

(Episcopal News Service – Louisville, Kentucky) After a lively debate and three amendments, the House of Bishops adopted Resolution D013, condemning both Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7 and Israel’s retaliation against Hamas in Gaza. The resolution also affirms that peace can only come from a solution to the conflict based on the coexistence of two states.

Los Angeles Bishop John Taylor, its author, explained that the resolution was carefully crafted in consultation with the Office of Government Relations and progressive Jewish groups. The aim was to refocus the Church’s advocacy on the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, while expressing “a certain degree of Anglican moderation and pragmatism” in such a highly controversial conflict.

In addition to the creation of a Palestinian state, the resolution calls for an immediate ceasefire, the release of hostages and other captives and an increase in humanitarian aid to Gaza. It also calls on the Washington, D.C.-based Office of Government Relations to advocate for making Israel’s military aid contingent on “its participation in the peace process” and for sanctions to be imposed on any nation that supports groups anti-Israelis, notably Hamas and Hezbollah.

Southeast Florida Bishop Peter Eaton offered the first amendment to the resolution, accusing the current government of Israel of pursuing a policy of apartheid against the Palestinians. “I will not pass any resolution containing the word ‘apartheid,'” he said.

Another amendment proposed by former South Carolina Bishop Andrew Waldo added that in addition to Israel’s disregard for civilian life, Hamas has been equally reckless. The final amendment changed the phrase “an act of anti-Jewish terror” to “an indefensible act of terrorism” in reference to the October 7 Hamas attack.

This resolution was the last in a series of seven concerning Israel-Palestine. The House of Bishops adopted two others: Resolution D009, which calls on the United States government to provide assistance for the “long-term reconstruction of Gaza,” and Resolution D007, summarized by the title “Peace through equal rights in Israel/Palestine. »

The resolutions rejected at the meeting were as follows:

  • Resolution A010, which would have recognized the legal system of the State of Israel as a system of apartheid.
  • Resolution D004, which sought to affirm Palestinian Arabs as indigenous peoples of the lands between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
  • Resolution D005, which expressed solidarity with the demands of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
  • Resolution D006, which condemned the theology and politics of Christian Zionism.

Eaton spoke out against each of the failed resolutions, saying they overextended the Church’s reach in criticizing the State of Israel’s choices in its war on Gaza.

No bishop spoke in favor of the rejected resolutions, even those that received favorable votes.

Washington Bishop Mariann Budde spoke in favor of Resolution D007, which was passed with its calls for a ceasefire, humanitarian aid, the release of all hostages and the condemnation of Israeli violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. She added that even though previous resolutions have been rescinded, that does not mean there are not bishops who care about the situation in Gaza and the West Bank. With so many factors packed into one resolution, a binary vote oversimplifies a complex topic, but D007, she said, is different.

“If we can’t say that, what could we say? » As Budde walked away from the microphone, applause erupted from the visitors’ seats. Curry asked the room to refrain from applauding either side out of courtesy.

The bishops also considered postponing the debate on D007. While some bishops said they needed more time to think, Arizona Bishop Jennifer Reddall said delaying until later in the week would not change the outcome.

“Everyone in this room has been talking about it and thinking about it since October 7,” Reddall said. “They can speak as clearly today as they can the next day.”

The three adopted resolutions are now transferred to the Chamber of Deputies.

–Logan Crews, former member of the Ecojustice of the Episcopal Church, is a seminarian at Yale’s Berkeley Divinity School and serves on the student leadership team of the World Christian Student Federation of the United States.