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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    A Palestinian Cry for Hope

    November 22, 2021 / By Linda Bergh

    Hope is one of the candles in this season's Advent wreath. What does Hope look like for Palestinians living in the land where Jesus was born, in the year 2021-2022?

    In 2006, when my husband Gary and I, along with 50 other United Methodists, stayed in Bethlehem, I noticed some messages on the Israeli-constructed 27' (frequently designated “apartheid” wall) which surrounded the town. One message which has stayed with me said, “Is there anybody out there?” And, after our 10-day stay in Bethlehem, the United Methodist symbol of the cross and flame appeared on the wall. Are we a sign of hope?

    Recent U.S. government actions supporting Israel's ongoing project of Palestinian land-taking would seem to deny such hope. A 2019 action no longer maintaining a U.S. long-held policy of condemning illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank, and a 2020 U.S. action supporting the Israeli “Peace to Prosperity” plan, which basically helps clear the way for Israel's annexation of nearly one third of the occupied Palestinian West Bank, have led to increased home demolitions, control of water resources, and destruction of olive groves and crop and grazing fields.

    In the 2020 Palestinian document “Cry for Hope: A Call to Decisive Action,” Palestinians make an urgent appeal to all Christians to study and take action on behalf of Palestinians' human rights. They indicate that this is for our own integrity as Christians, saying, “We declare that support for the oppression of the Palestinian people, whether passive or active, through silence, word or deed, is a sin.”

    It is time for us, as Christians, to act. Read the Palestinians' “Cry for Hope” and suggestions. Click here to read the document.

    With more than 134,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 85 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."