The World Alliance of YMCAs, based in Geneva, has issued a 3,000-word report concluding that "the one-sided nature of the conflict demands that the YMCA take the side of the oppressed Palestinian people."
The YMCA report declares that Israel is "killing people without provocation," and using "massive force against unarmed protestors and completely innocent people, mainly women, the elderly, and children." The report refers to "many youth who are silenced by death only because they chose to protest against their occupation and the violation of their human dignity day in and day out."
The YMCA report further cites "biased and one-sided media reporting on the crisis, which left the Palestinian side generally outraged."
Palestinian violence against Jews was mentioned nowhere in the text of the YMCA report.
The YMCA report is based on a 5-day fact-finding trip in November 2000 "coordinated and sponsored by the World Alliance of YMCAs to express its solidarity with the Palestinians and to develop a new global YMCA strategy in addressing the question of Palestine."
The report says:
"We heard many heart-wrenching stories, and feel compelled to highlight a few of these, simply because they were so shocking. Further, they serve to highlight the all-pervasive tactics of intimidation and intent to bring the Palestinian people into submission.
"We heard about a vicious and savage attack by settlers on three elderly women, 75, 72, and 65 years of age, while they were picking olives in fields close to an Israeli settlement in Nablus... The settlers arrived in a group and the women were beaten with iron rods until one was killed and the other two severely injured."
During the trip, YMCA international representatives visited YMCA facilities in east Jerusalem and Gaza, and met with Palestinian officials, Palestinian Legislative Council members, the Red Crescent Society, and Moslem and Christian religious leaders.
When asked why they did not visit any Jewish communities or meet with Jewish leaders, YMCA responded by saying, "The recent report was based on the visit of an international team who for reasons of time and circumstances did not also visit Israel."
The report invokes Christian ideals as the force behind its campaign:
"The international YMCA community has to take firm and coordinated action along with churches and other concerned people as a matter of urgency. The one-sided nature of the conflict demands that the YMCA take the side of the oppressed Palestinian people. Our Christian obligations require that we work to seek justice so that genuine peace is served."
The YMCA report calls for intensive worldwide promotion of Palestinian positions, including "acknowledging the right of return of all refugees." These goals are to be achieved through YMCA-sponsored speaking tours, information packets, e-mail campaigns, a film documentary, lobbying efforts, and an "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People."
YMCA representatives in the U.S. and Canada sought to distance themselves from the provocative report.
The YMCA's astonishingly biased report represents a grave error in judgment from an organization which has built its reputation and fairness and brotherhood. It behooves every peace-loving individual to demand that the YMCA retract it's condemnation, and rectify the damage with a fact-finding visit to Jewish individuals communities in Israel who have been beleaguered by Palestinian violence and terror.
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