Middle East Committee
Statement of Purpose
The Westmoreland Middle East Committee strives with God’s guidance to engage all ages of the congregation in seeking peace with justice in the Middle East through education, advocacy, and action. Using a human rights-based non-partisan approach, together with global and local partners, we focus on understanding and challenging the root causes of injustice, inequality, poverty, and war in the region. Approved July 24, 2016
The Middle East Committee was established by Westmoreland's Executive Committee in 1978 "to organize the study of issues involved in realizing peace in the Middle East." Since its establishment the committee has planned, implemented, and participated in activities for the congregation, other UCC entities, and ecumenical groups that focus on Middle East issues.
Current activities include:
coordinating the Olive Oil Ministry, a coalition of 23 local partner congregations selling Palestinian olive oil products.
supporting Tent of Nations, an Environmental and Educational Farm in the Palestinian West Bank.
a partnership relationship with Christ Episcopal Church in Nazareth, Israel
The committee usually meets after worship on the third Sunday of the month. The monthly program includes guest speakers, Westmorelanders with specific expertise or experience in the area, screening of topical movies, and occasional field trips.
Westmorelanders travel frequently to the Middle East. In 2009 seven members participated in a pilgrimage organized by the committee. Several members journey there each year, including seven in 2016 – three as members of Interfaith Peace-Builders (now Eyewitness Palestine) delegations, one with the Tree of Life Educational Fund , one for an event at the Ramallah Friends Meeting , and two who included a visit to Global Ministries partners when in Israel visiting friends. In early 2014, two Westmorelanders traveled to Israel and Palestine with Tree of Life. In the summer of 2014, our senior minister traveled to Turkey with a group of Christian and Muslim clergy members. Several Westmorelanders live and work in the Middle East. These firsthand connections are vital in helping us understand a fascinating, complicated corner of our world.
Olive Oil Ministry
Palestinian products are available for purchase in the social hall on Sunday, and through the church office on weekdays when the office is open (no large orders during the week, please). The cost is:
$20 per1/2 liter bottle
$30 per one liter can
$120 for case of 6 bottles
$7 for Olive Tapenade
$6 for Zaatar
Checks are preferred when buying in the office. Through this program, Westmoreland provides support to the Tent of Nations and to the farmer cooperatives affiliated with the Palestinian Fair Trade Association.
A Call for the United Church of Christ to Advocate for the Rights of Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation
Thirty-First General Synod, June, 2017
This Resolution calls attention to the plight of children suffering under Israel’s prolonged military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. In particular, this resolution names the traumatic situation of children living with constant fear of arrest, detention, and violence at the hands of Israeli forces. It calls the United Church of Christ to advocate for the human rights of the children of Palestine. It requests the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ to petition the Prime Minister of Israel and the Israeli Ambassador, asking them to guarantee basic due process rights and exercise an absolute prohibition against torture and ill-treatment of children detained by Israeli authorities. This resolution insists that, from the moment of arrest, all operations and procedures imposed on Palestinian children be carried out in accordance with international juvenile justice standards, specifically the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Israel ratified in 1991. Further, this resolution calls on the United States government to adhere to U.S. laws concerning human rights violations and the disbursement of military aid and assistance to Israeli armed forces. Recognizing that establishing a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis is essential for creating and sustaining the conditions under which life can flourish for both Palestinian and Israeli children, this Resolution also urges all settings of the United Church of Christ to persist in efforts to end the Israeli military occupation of Palestinians living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza as called for in particular by the Thirtieth General Synod.