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WASHINGTON—In a letter to President Obama the day after his speech affirming peace is possible and declaring U.S. support for a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed land swaps, leaders of more than 25 Jewish, Christian and Muslim national religious organizations urged strong U.S. leadership for Israeli-Palestinian peace before it is too late.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, and Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, New York, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), were among the signers.
The leaders urged the President “to visit Jerusalem and the region soon to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to restart negotiations focused on the principles and ideas in the recent Israeli Peace Initiative, the earlier Arab Peace Initiative and the Geneva Accord.”
They stated “the United States, in coordination with the Quartet, should continue to respond carefully to the new Palestinian unity agreement and not act precipitously to cut off aid to the Palestinians,” but said the Palestinian “unity government must commit itself to rejecting violence and negotiating a peace agreement with Israel.”
The leaders pledged their “prayers and public support for active, fair and firm U.S. leadership for peace” and they urged “Congress to support this effort.” The religious leaders also plan to place an advertisement with Politico, a Washington-based media outlet.
Texts of the letter and advertisement follow.
May 20, 2011
Dear Mr. President,
We are leaders of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim national religious organizations who supported your commitment to make Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace a high priority from the start of your presidency.
Following our April 14 letter and Secretary of State Clinton’s response on your behalf, reiterating your Administration’s commitment to seek peace, and your strong reaffirmation in yesterday’s speech that peace is possible, we write again to offer our united support for urgently needed strong, sustained U.S. leadership, in coordination with the Quartet, to press for agreement on a two-state peace agreement before it is too late. If the opportunity for a two-state solution is missed, there almost inevitably will be renewed violent conflict with more suffering for Israelis and Palestinians, and increased dangers of extremism.
The recent Israeli Peace Initiative presented by former Israeli government, intelligence and security officials, the earlier Arab Peace Initiative, and the Geneva Accord, taken together, offer key principles and ideas for achieving comprehensive Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace. We urge you to visit Jerusalem and the region soon to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to restart negotiations focused on the principles and ideas in these initiatives.
We believe the United States, in coordination with the Quartet, should continue to respond carefully to the new Palestinian unity agreement and not act precipitously to cut off aid that is essential for humanitarian purposes and for building the capacity of a future Palestinian state.The agreement is helpful in forming a government capable of representing the West Bank and Gaza together. The unity government must commit itself to rejecting violence and negotiating a two-state peace agreement with Israel. We believe the United States should insist on these commitments.
We pledge our prayers and public support for active, fair and firm U.S. leadership in pursuing peace. We will urge Congress to be constructive.We believe that, in exercising strong U.S. leadership for peace, you can count on substantial support from members of churches, synagogues, and mosques across the country.
(List of Endorsers follows, organizations for identification only)
List of Endorsers
Keywords: letter, President Barack Obama, speech, peace, two-state solution, 1967 borders. Jewish, Christian, Muslim, religious leaders, Israel, Palestine, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Committee on International Justice and Peace, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB
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