No point in trying to build the new Jerusalem when half of the old one is still under the jackboot of an illegal occupation.
It is with considerable pleasure, and indeed surprise, that I am able to report that the Church of Scotland has published its report on Israel and Palestine. You remember: the one that caused Israel's representative
My surprise and delight aren't that the report was published at all: not even the mighty Israel lobby would ever persuade the Kirk to keep a report under wraps forever. But it is wonderful to see that the "revisions" forced on the Kirk amount to no more than was in the report already, had the Israelis bothered to read it before making coded accusations of Nazism against its authors.
In particular, the Kirk remains (as it has been for many years) committed to the following principles:
That the current situation is characterised by an inequality in power, therefore reconciliation can only be possible if the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, are ended.
The Church of Scotland condemns violence, terrorism and intimidation no matter the perpetrator.
The Church of Scotland affirms the right of Israelis and Palestinians to live within secure and fixed boundaries in states of their own.
The Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are illegal under international law.
The Church of Scotland should do nothing to promote the viability of the illegal settlements on Palestinian land.
That human rights of all peoples should be respected, and this should include the right of return and/or compensation for Palestinian refugees.
That negotiations between the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority about peace with justice must resume at the earliest opportunity and the Church of Scotland should continue to put political pressure on all parties to commence such negotiations, and asking all parties to recognize the inequality in power which characterizes this situation.
That there are safe rights of access to the sacred sites for the main religions in the area.