April 26, 2002
The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien
Prime Minister of Canada
Government of Canada
The Honourable Bill Graham
Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Government of Canada
Dear Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Graham:
The General Board of Mennonite Church Canada met today with a deep concern
for the peace of the world. Our hearts are particularly heavy as we observe the
Israeli/Palestinian violence about which we receive daily reports from workers
serving there under Mennonite Central Committee and Christian Peacemaker Teams.
Our church is a member of both bodies.
We deplore both the suicide bombings by some Palestinians against Israelis
and the military action of Israel against the Palestinian people. These actions
have claimed hundreds of lives, all of which we grieve. The recent aggressive
actions by Israeli forces in Jenin and other Palestinian cities are especially
troublesome in their extent, destructiveness, and severity.
We thank you, as leaders of the Canadian people, for your bold statements calling
for an end to violence by all parties in this conflict. We urge you, at the same
time, to press for a resolution of the basic issues. In our view this means that
Israel must withdraw from all the territories that it took in the 1967 war, that
Israels security and Palestines security, within those borders, must
be respected by all parties, and that there must be a just resolution of the refugee
This framework, as you will know, is the essence of United Nations Security
Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the General Assembly resolution 194. It is
also reflected in the recent proposal of the League of Arab States. We urge you,
as a way of moving toward this end, to insist on compliance with the Fourth Geneva
Convention, to seek an increase in unarmed monitors there, to press for a larger
role for the United Nations, and to urge the United States government to commit
itself to this approach.
We are calling the members of Mennonite Church Canada and our sister church,
Mennonite Church USA, to prayer and action for peace-building. We recently sent
an extra Christian Peacemaker Team delegation to the region in response to a request
from Palestinian residents in Hebron. Our people have also sent material aid and
are ready to provide more whenever and wherever possible.
We will continue to pray for you, our government leaders, and for all who have
power to influence events. May God enable you to act with courage for the well-being
Ron Sawatsky, Moderator