Our first news release has now been issued. In it we announced our group's existence and talked about our goals for the upcoming General Conference. Some of the text is below:
A group of United Methodists is advocating for its General Conference to adopt a constructive stance on peacemaking in the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. United Methodists for Constructive Peacemaking in Israel and Palestine (UMCPIP) was created recently to support positive investment in Palestine while opposing divestment in the region.
"The issues are obviously complex, but the answers can't be found by assigning blame only to one side as the divestment attempts of some might suggest," says C. Chappell Temple, clergy delegate from the Texas Conference
"We recognize, as do many Israelis, the negative effects of Israel's ongoing occupation of the West Bank," adds Virginia pastor Alex Joyner, "but in an atmosphere in which both sides are genuinely fearful, our gospel call is to work towards laying the groundwork for peace, security, and strong economies for all involved."
In 2011 both the North Carolina and Virginia Annual Conferences passed resolutions discouraging divestment by United Methodists and advocating positive investments in the Palestinian economy. The new group will be proposing alternative language for delegates to consider in adopting any action regarding peacemaking efforts in Israel and Palestine.
"We believe this would help move the United Methodist Church squarely into the role of peacemaker and reconciler and away from a punitive approach," says Joyner.