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Don't miss UMKR's news, below this action alert!

Using food, medical care, and children's education as political weapons is immoral and will not force the Palestinian people to accept the so-called "deal of the century."

With blow after blow, the Trump administration is punishing millions of Palestinians. Slashing U.S. assistance for humanitarian aid is a cynical and cruel negotiating tactic.

► In late August, the State Department announced cuts of over $200 million for projects in the West Bank and Gaza.
► Days later came the announcement that the U.S. would end its contributions to UNRWA, the United Nations agency that provides vital, often life-saving aid for millions of Palestinian refugees.
► On Sept. 7, we had the news that $25 million designated for East Jerusalem hospitals in 2017 U.S. government funding would not be released!
► On Sept. 14, the New York Times reported that the U.S. “is blocking millions of dollars to programs that build relationships between Israelis and Palestinians.” Now the $10 million designated for such programs can be used for joint projects between Jews and Palestinians only within Israel.

As the NY Times reports, “The move to prevent Palestinians – in many cases, children – from benefiting from the funds squeezes shut the last remaining channel of American aid to Palestinian civilians.” (Emphasis added)

These funding cuts will severely harm Palestinians – women, men, youth, and children – while doing nothing to further the prospects for peace.

CLICK TO CONTACT YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS and urge them to call for full restoration of humanitarian assistance for Palestinians.

Twenty-three U.S. humanitarian and development organizations – including the United Methodist Board of Church and Society – issued a statement to the Trump administration. They warn that these cuts create “a gaping hole in humanitarian and development assistance that threatens provision of education and medical services to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children and families and their communities.” 

An UNRWA spokesperson responded to the Trump administration decision to cut funding: “Let there be no mistake; this decision is likely to have a devastating impact on the lives of 526,000 children who receive a daily education from UNRWA; 3.5 million sick people who come to our clinics for medical care; 1.7 million food insecure people who receive assistance from us, and tens of thousands of vulnerable women, children and disabled refugees who come to us. (Emphasis added)

Instead of taking money away from vulnerable Palestinians, the U.S. should be addressing the underlying issues that contribute to suffering and a lack of peace, including the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and the blockade of Gaza.

Did you know? Some members of Congress have spoken out this month!
Thirty-four Senators sent a letter to the President, asking for the restoration of U.S. aid to these vital programs. Six Representatives in the House issued a strong statement denouncing these cuts in U.S. assistance.

If we want them to keep doing more, it is crucial to thank those 40 members of Congress for taking these positive steps. AND urge others in Congress to do the same! CLICK THE BUTTON to take action now in 2 easy steps.

“The rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale,” PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement. “There is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation. The U.S. administration...is exercising economic meanness by punishing the Palestinian victims of this [Israeli] occupation.”

Did you know? Under international law, the children and grandchildren of people who are currently refugees are also considered refugees. This applies to others beside the Palestinians:

The U.S. cuts to UNRWA funding go hand-in-hand with a broader U.S. effort to redefine Palestinian refugees out of existence and thereby remove the issue of the refugees from a future peace deal.

• The announcement from the State Department about ending US funding for UNRWA referred to an “endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries.”

• Senator James Lankford (R-OK) introduced a bill in the Senate that would redirect funds away from UNRWA, criticizing its inclusion of descendants of the original generation of Palestinian refugees in the population it serves.  

• Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO-5th) introduced HR 6451 in the House which would exclude those descendants from UNRWA services.

The U.S. cannot unilaterally define who is a refugee and who is not.  
As the UNRWA Commissioner-General said in an open letter, “No matter how often attempts are made to minimize or delegitimize the individual and collective experiences of Palestine refugees, the undeniable fact remains that they have rights under international law and represent a community of 5.4 million men, women and children who cannot simply be wished away.” (Emphasis added)


In case you missed it, some of UMKR's Summer 2018 news

30 July 2018 – Mass Arabic lesson in Tel Aviv, Israel in protest of the Nation State Law (Photo: Meged Gozani, via Haaretz)

UMKR Condemns Israel's Apartheid Law

26 July 2018 – United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR) joins with Palestinian civil society, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP), and all people of conscience who decry and condemn the recent adoption by the Israeli legislature of the Nation State Law. This bill now enshrines in Israel's Basic Law, the Israeli equivalent to a national constitution, the denial of equal rights for Palestinian Israeli citizens who comprise 20% or more of Israel's population. Read the press release

Is the Church Committed to Middle East Peace?
An Open Letter to UMC Leaders
Rev. Alex Awad, Palestinian Clergy and UMKR Steering Committee member, challenges church bishops and leaders to do more for justice in Palestine and do it better. And he has some suggestions for how that can happen. Read the letter

UMKR Condemns Israel's Response to the Great March of Return 2018​
June 2018 – United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR), an international movement in the United Methodist Church, condemns without reservation Israel’s deliberate killing of over 100 protesting Gazans and the maiming of thousands since protests began on 30 March 2018, Palestinian Land Day, and through the following weeks. We stand in solidarity with Palestinians and all people of conscience who call for lifting the crushing siege on Gaza that has left the people without adequate drinking water, electricity, medical supplies and other necessities, all while denying them the right to travel by land, air, or water to relieve their suffering. We cry out for justice for the people of Palestine and an end to their brutal treatment at the hands of an Israeli government that is aided and abetted, to our great shame, by some of our own governments, including the most egregious complicity of the U.S. government.

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UMKR is an international grassroots peace movement of laity and clergy in the United Methodist Church. We are responding to the Palestinian Christians’ urgent call, in Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth, for effective action to end the Israeli occupation and achieve a just peace in the Holy Land. OUR GOAL: UMKR seeks – through nonviolent action and in partnership with our Palestinian sisters and brothers in Christ – freedom, equality, and justice for all Palestinians and Israelis.  Learn more about UMKR

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