Israel Boycott: United Church Of Canada Will Not Buy Products From Settlements

FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2002 file photo, an Israeli flag flutters near the front yard of one of 14 new homes at t
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2002 file photo, an Israeli flag flutters near the front yard of one of 14 new homes at the edge of the new settlement of Rehalim, near the West Bank town of Nablus. Israel legalized three unsanctioned West Bank settler outposts and was trying to save another on Tuesday April 24 2012. The Israeli government's announcement of its decision relied heavily on verbal gymnastics. It said it was "formalizing the status" of Sansana, Bruchin and Rehalim, three longstanding enclaves that are home to hundreds of Jewish settlers. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

OTTAWA, Ontario (RNS/ENInews) The United Church of Canada has approved a recommendation to boycott products produced in Israeli settlements located within occupied Palestinian territory.

The intent is to bring pressure to bear on the Israeli government to stop expansion of the settlements and end the occupation.

The church's General Council approved the recommendation on Aug. 15 (Wednesday) and approved a policy paper on Friday at its meeting in Ottawa. More than 350 elected delegates met for the eight-day event that concluded Saturday.

The boycott proposal is part of a package of measures presented by a task group charged to advise the church on how to contribute to peace initiatives between Israel and the Palestinians.

The report prepared by the Working Group on Israel-Palestine Policy says that the occupation is "the primary contributor to the injustice that underlies the violence of the region" and calls Israeli settlements "a serious obstacle" to peace.

During the debate, Victor Goldbloom of the Canadian Christian Jewish Consultation commended the UCC on its commitment to seeking a peaceful solution to conflict in the Middle East, but cautioned: "I agree with the objectives but not the means."

Similar moves to divest, or pull church investments, from companies involved in the Israeli occupation have failed in the U.S. in the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

The United Church of Canada, with 3 million members, is Canada's largest Protestant denomination. It was formed in 1925 as a union of Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregationalists.