The situation in Israel-Palestine has a long history and an at times unfamiliar vocabulary - Here we have some background information to help you understand the issues.
One major myth about the current situation in Israel-Palestine is that it is just a small piece of a larger conflict that has been going on forever between Jews, Christians and Muslims.
This myth leaves us with a sense of helplessness and incapacitates us for action. Peace Not Walls does not adhere to this myth and believes that it is important to point out its fallacy. Instead, it is important to point out that there have been long periods of peaceful coexistence during the past 1,300 years.
Understanding the historical construct of the conflict is essential to framing its current context.
A common understanding of complicated issues starts with clarifying how we use basic terms.
As complicated as this conflict can be, there are a few key issues that any solution must address.
History of Peace Not Walls Campaign
The Peace Not Walls campaign came into being at the ELCA's 9th Churchwide Assembly (CWA) in 2005 through the Churchwide Strategy for Engagement in Israel and Palestine. Yet even before then, the ELCA was actively engaged in the situation in Holy Land. To learn more about what the ELCA's stance has been as well as its specific calls for the Peace Not Walls campaign, check out the following documents from the 2005-2009 Churchwide Assemblies, a timeline of ELCA actions regarding the Holy Land and various documents regarding Israel and Palestine.
2011 Churchwide Assembly
At the 2011 CWA, the ELCA recommitted itself to the call of the 2005 Strategy for Engagement in Israel and Palestine. The action and background information are found below:
2009 Churchwide Assembly
At the 2009 CWA, the ELCA recommitted itself to the call of the 2005 Strategy for Engagement in Israel and Palestine through eight tasks. The action containing these eight tasks (and a brief explaination) can be found below as well as the background information included with the Memorials on Israel-Palestine brought to the assembly.
2007 Churchwide Assembly
At the 2007 CWA, the ELCA reaffirmed the work of the Peace Not Walls campaign and added some more specifics relating to the economic component of this work. To learn more see the action passed by the assembly and the background information included with the Memorials on Israel-Palestine brought to the assembly.
2005 Churchwide Assembly
At the 2005 CWA, the ELCA accepted the Strategy for Engagement in Israel and Palestine passed by the Church Council in April of that year. A part of this process was the creation of the Peace Not Walls campaign. To learn more see the Action passed by the assembly as well as the background describing the Strategy and the Memorials on Israel-Palestine for the assembly.
Other Related Documents
Leaders of 15 Christian churches, including the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, Bishop of the ELCA, wrote a letter in October, 2012, urging Congress “to undertake careful scrutiny to ensure that our aid is not supporting actions by the government of Israel that undermine prospects for peace. We urge Congress to hold hearings to examine Israel’s compliance, and we request regular reporting on compliance and the withholding of military aid for non-compliance.” Read letter | Read ELCA press release
Check out the ELCA's Selective Purchasing Policy Guide and determine a purchasing policy regarding the Middle East.
Read about what the ELCA has to say about BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions).
See our FAQs to learn more about the biblical and theological foundations and features of the ELCA's commitment to Middle East peace-making.