United Church of Christ resolution condemns Israel for treatment of Palestinian children

(JTA) — The United Church of Christ overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning Israel for its treatment of Palestinian children living in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and Gaza.

The vote Sunday night by delegates at the 31st General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Baltimore, Maryland, was 79 percent in favor, 13 percent against and 9 percent abstaining, according to a statement issued by the church.

The resolution calls on Israel to “exercise an absolute prohibition against torture and ill-treatment of detained children.”

It also calls on the United States to withhold military assistance from Israel over what the church says are violations of human rights in its treatment of Palestinian children. The resolution says the churches and members must learn about the plight of children in Palestine and the State of Israel.

It comes two years after the church voted to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s control of the West Bank.

Among the abuses the resolution cited: Palestinian children being held in Israeli prisons and tried in Israeli military courts; strip searches; hands tied; blindfolds; physical violence; verbal abuse; intimidation; solitary confinement, and being interrogated without a lawyer or parent present.

The UCC Palestine/Israel Network, which drafted the resolution, worked with many allies and interfaith partners, the church said in a statement.

“The United Church of Christ stands with many ecumenical, interfaith and international partners in adopting this resolution,” the statement said. “The UCC joins other religious and secular organizations already seeking the remedies listed and/or currently deliberating actions toward justice for Palestinian children subjected to the abuses named” in the resolution, the statement said.

The church says on its website that it has over 5,000 congregations and nearly 1 million members across the United States.

The American Jewish Committee denounced the resolution, calling it “deeply disappointing.”

“The latest UCC resolution does nothing to advance the possibility of peace. Rather, by continuing to demonize Israel, UCC supports those who oppose peace,” Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s director of interreligious and intergroup relations, said in a statement Monday.

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