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Religious Leaders Urge New Attention To Middle East Peace

 
March 1, 2012
Arab-Israeli-Palestinian crisis is more urgent than ever
Need to support Palestinian state-building
Israel must halt all settlement expansion

WASHINGTON—The National Interreligious Leadership Initiative has voiced concern for efforts for Arab-Israeli-Palestinian Peace in a statement issued March 1and noted the plea “is more urgent than ever.”

The leaders of major Jewish, Christian and Muslim national religious organizations issued their statement March 1. Their full statement can be found at

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/upload/NILI-Statement-with-Endorsers-2012-03-01.pdf

Signers included Bishop Richard E. Pates, Chairman, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace; Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington; and Bishop Denis J. Madden, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore.

The Leadership Initiative specifically called on the Administration, Congress and candidates for office to do the following:

•Address warnings to both sides to prevent violence, and undertake diplomatic efforts, in coordination with the Quartet, to help maintain a durable, effective ceasefire; all attacks on civilians must immediately end;

•Continue to support Palestinian state-building and economic development capacity, including immediately lifting the Congressional hold on humanitarian aid;

•Support Palestinian efforts to form a government capable of representing the West Bank and Gaza on the essential conditions that it agree to halt violence, respect all existing agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and negotiate a two-state peace agreement with Israel;

•Urge Israel to halt all settlement expansion, including in East Jerusalem; and

•Urge a resumption of negotiations for a two-state peace agreement, based on U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397, and drawing on elements from the Arab Peace Initiative (2002), the unofficial Israeli Peace Initiative (2011), and the Geneva Accord (2003) which might lead to an agreement acceptable to both sides.

The leaders also listed factors that make the peace in the Middle East of critical concern. They include

•Hopes and challenges related to the Arab Spring, including concerns for the rights of minorities;

•Aftermath of the war in Iraq, including challenges to Iraqi democracy and stability;

•Future of Afghanistan as the U.S./NATO role winds down;

•Tensions in U.S.-Pakistan relations;

•Deepening crisis in Syria; and

•Dangers of confrontation over Iran’s nuclear development activities.

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Keywords: Middle East, Bishop Richard Pates, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Bishop Denis Madden, Palestine, Israel, Arab, National Interreligious Leadership Initiative, United States. Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, NATO, democracy, Christian

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Sr. Mary Ann Walsh
O: 202-541-3200
M: 301-325-7935
 



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