One of the main issues I’ve been tracking at General Convention is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I testified at the hearing on Israel-Palestine issues and have attended both informal talks and the formal debates on the floor. However, I didn’t expect to find myself as emotional as I was during the debate on the floor at the House of Deputies yesterday afternoon.
I studied abroad in Israel for a year, and experienced up close the conflict that so many people view as the most intractable conflict in the world. I also saw the oppression that the Palestinians live under on a daily basis, and it pained me constantly to not be able to do anything about it. Perhaps the starkest moment was May 15, the day after one of the days the IDF soldiers opened fire on protesters in Gaza, killing 59 or 60 Palestinians near the border. While there were Palestinians dying for daring to protest against Israel, everyone in Tel Aviv was at the beach. The contrast in these moments was almost enough to overwhelm me.
So when the House of Deputies started debating whether or not the Episcopal Church should continue to be complicit in the occupation of Palestinian territories by investing in companies that profit off of the occupation, despite my lack of direct connection to either the Israelis or the Palestinians, I felt it hard to listen to some of the discussion. I had not known how affected I was by my time in Israel until that moment. While I’m still working through my thoughts and feelings about my year abroad, I am grateful to the convention for allowing me to confront these feelings in a way where I am able to testify to them in an effort to support these resolutions.
– Katrina Dubee