Division President: End U.S.-Backed Israeli Occupation of Palestine
Women's Division President Kyung Za Yim, second from right on front row, participates in a June 10 rally to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands on the Washington, D.C. mall. Photo by Sung-ok Lee.
by YVETTE MOORE*
Women's Division P:resident Kyung Za Yim joined more than 3,000 people in calling for an end to U.S. support for Israel's 40-year occupation of Palestinian territories at a rally on the mall in Washington, D.C. June 10.
Participation in the rally was part of the push for comprehensive and just U.S. policies in the Middle East adopted by Women's Division directors at their annual meetings in October 2006 and this past April. The division is a founding member of the U.S. Campaign to the End Israeli Occupation, a coalition of more than 250 organizations that sponsored the rally.
Women's Division President Kyung Za Yim participates in a June 10 rally to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands on the Washington, D.C. mall. Photo by Sung-ok Lee.
"We are here today to join you in demanding the United States end its military, economic, diplomatic and corporate support for Israel's illegal occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem," Ms. Yim said, detailing land designated for Palestinians in 1948 when Israel was established by the United Nations. "We also join you in calling for a change in U.S. policy to policy that supports a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and is based on equality, human rights and international law, and full implementation of U.N. resolutions."
Ms. Yim told protesters United Methodist Social Principles say "war is incompatible with Christian teaching" and call on people to settle disputes through peaceful means. She also shared Women's Division's call for:
- Withdrawal of U.S. troops and U.S.-funded mercenaries from Iraq and an end to funding for the Iraq war;
- Opposition to U.S. military action against Iran;
- U.S.- and Israeli-supported clean up of unexploded cluster bombs in southern Lebanon; and
- Support for U.S. observance of the Geneva Convention, including its ban on torture.
United Methodist Women members and others within the denomination are studying the root causes of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict at schools of Christian mission this summer toward understanding faith demands and the demands of human rights and international law.
"Many of us will join with you in an ongoing commitment, rooted in faith, grounded in education and committed to action," she said.
Women's Division President Kyung Za Yim speaks at a June 10 rally to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands on the Washington, D.C. mall. Photo by Sung-ok Lee.
Rally organizers said the crowd's racial, ethnic and religious diversity signal a turn in the tide of public support for unquestioned U.S. support for Israeli occupation and policies toward Palestinians. Buses of protesters came from California, Oregon, Georgia, Alabama, Vermont and New York and included Blacks, Whites, Asians, Native Americans, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Orthodox and Jewish groups.
The rally's emcee noted this diversity.
"This is not an ethnic conflict," Noura Erakat said. "There's room on the side of justice for all people."
The rally was followed by a day of visits to Capitol Hill lawmakers urging them to adopt policies that lead to a just and lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis.