Two Letters, Two Leaders:
Responses to Middle East Conflict
A response to Canada’s support of the UN resolution
~ from a post published on December 15, 2023 on The United Church of Canada’s website
This week, Moderator Carmen Lansdowne and Leeann Shimoda, Chair of the National Indigenous Council, wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau to express their gratitude for Canada’s change in position regarding a ceasefire in the Middle East.
“We appreciate the recent Canadian Government action, and we encourage further steps pressing for an end to the occupation, in line with Canada’s own foreign policy regarding Israel-Palestine, and within international law,” they wrote.
Across the country, United Church people have engaged in this difficult and complex conflict by writing their MPs, joining in larger organized protests and supporting their community members who have family members caught in the conflict. These efforts are seen, and heard, and have played an important part in pressuring the Canadian government to urge a ceasefire.
Not only did Canada support the UN’s resolution for an unconditional and immediate ceasefire, but Prime Minister Trudeau also issued a joint statement with Australia and New Zealand; together, the three leaders called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire,” with certain conditions.
It’s a far cry from the stance the United States has taken, and so the Moderator also signed a joint letter to President Biden with Rev. Dr. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the US and Canada, and Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, both based in the United States. Read the full letter here.
“We call on you to unequivocally hold Israel to account for its legal obligations under international law as an occupying military power. We further call on you to fully and unequivocally support an immediate and independent investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by both Israel and Hamas since October 7, 2023,” the leaders urged in their letter.
Read other joint statements by the United Church and partners. A letter to Prime Minister Trudeau welcoming Canada’s vote supporting the UN resolution for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire can be read here.