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WASHINGTON (RNS) Israeli officials praised Episcopal bishops on Monday (July 20) for rejecting a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that they deemed too pro-Palestinian.
The rejected resolution called for a Palestinian state and an end to the “ongoing confiscation of Palestinian land, demolition of housing and the displacement of people.”
The Episcopal House of Bishops voted 53 to 43 against the “Peace Between Israel and Palestine” resolution on Friday, the final day of the denomination’s General Convention in Anaheim, Calif.
The Israeli embassy, while supporting a two-state solution, called the proposal “biased and unbalanced,” and thanked the bishops for rejecting it.
“While ostensibly aimed at strengthening the Church’s `mission to promote peace,’ the resolution’s actual goal, as Bishop James Jelinek of Minnesota said, was to `get Israel’s attention,”‘ the embassy’s statement said.
Jelinek supported the resolution’s passage and was a member of the committee that helped craft the statement, which was sponsored by Bishop Thomas Shaw of Massachusetts.
Bishop Edward Little of the Diocese of Northern Indiana said he voted against the measure because it showed “breathtaking hostility to the state of Israel.”
Little and other critics called for more balance in the text. “If our call is to be that of peacemaker in the Middle East, you can’t be a peacemaker when you take one side or another,” Little said.
Little also said that while the text criticized Israeli actions, it did not equally criticize the Palestinian violence that has led to those actions.
“The security wall was criticized, but there was no note that the wall was constructed because of terrorist acts,” said Little.
The bishops did, however, adopt a resolution that would urge all Episcopalians “to pray, especially in Advent and during the Christmas season, for the Wall around Bethlehem and all other barriers to come down.”
By Tiffany Stanley
Religion News Service
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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