Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) delegation to Palestine and Israel

A group of more than 30 people, mostly Presbyterians, is currently in Israel/Palestine. The trip, sponsored by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network, seeks to show solidarity with the suffering through their physical presence.

A group photo in front of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East headquarters in Jerusalem. Photo provided.

As of today, a delegation of over 30 Christians, mostly Presbyterian, along with a few ecumenical brothers and sisters, have journeyed to Palestine and Israel in solidarity with the suffering. Sponsored by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network, this is a delegation of Presbyterians responding to an invitation from the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center and Kairos Palestine to show solidarity with their physical presence and in hopes of leveraging our Presbyterian networks to mobilize Christians all over the U.S.A. to continue to push for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and a just peace for all in the Holy Land. 

The text below is their official statement shared on February 17, 2023. 

Our delegation was planned in response to a call from our Christian partners in Palestine-Israel. It is a PC(USA) delegation, with a few ecumenical partners in attendance. The 35-member delegation includes a former moderator of the General Assembly, five mid council executives, and several Presbyterian ministers and elders from 19 different presbyteries.

The purposes of the trip are to express solidarity with all who are suffering in Palestine and Israel during this time of immense violence, to demand an end to Israel’s genocidal bombardment of Gaza and an end to Israel’s systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and the release of all Palestinian prisoners held unlawfully by Israel, and to call for an end to Hamas’ acts of horrendous violence against civilians and the return of all Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

We call attention to Israel’s increased violence and dispossession of Palestinians in the West Bank – assassinating hundreds of Palestinians in recent weeks, placing entire communities under military closure, forcibly displacing Palestinian civilians and destroying their homes, and conducting arbitrary detentions of adults and children.

We call on Israel to stop impeding urgently needed relief supplies from reaching the residents of Gaza who have suffered intolerable cruelty, collective punishment, and blatant violations of their human rights under Israeli military occupation for decades, and especially during the past four months.

We join human rights organizations in Palestine and Israel and throughout the world who assert that the current crisis occurs in the context of seventy-six years of Israel’s violent dispossession of Palestinians, Israel’s ongoing deliberate ethnic cleansing of Palestine, apartheid policies, and the denial of Palestinian refugees’ right to return.

We condemn in the strongest terms the U.S. government’s unconditional support of the government of Israel which enables it to maintain its brutal military occupation of Palestine by providing weapons and financial support, as well as diplomatic shielding. Since October 7, the United States has supported Israel’s displacement of two million Palestinians in Gaza and killing more than 27,000, including at least 10,000 children. We decry the Biden administration’s decision to suspend aid to UNRWA, thus denying the entire 2.3 million inhabitants of Gaza desperately needed food and relief supplies while under Israeli military assault.

We lift up those Palestinians and Israelis who engage in nonviolent actions to achieve a future of justice, equality, and peace for all Palestinians and Israelis, and pledge to continue to pray for and pursue such a future.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Presbyterian Outlook.