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Bishop Pates to Congress: Cutting Palestinian Aid Will Harm Peace Process

December 3, 2012

WASHINGTON—Congress should resist efforts to cut off humanitarian and developmental assistance to Palestinians for achieving a higher status at the United Nations, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace in a December 3 letter to both houses.

"Such legislation would not be consistent with U.S. efforts to seek a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land; it would distract and detract from this goal," said Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa. "Assistance to Palestinians, already heavily conditioned, is essential for humanitarian purposes and for building capacity for a future Palestinian state. Cutting aid will only harm the peace process. This is not in the interests of either Israelis or Palestinians who long for peace."

Bishop Pates sent his letter in response to reports that Congress may consider legislation that seeks to "punish" Palestinians for achieving the higher UN status. He said the Vatican welcomed the UN decision and noted that Pope Benedict XVI called for an end to fighting, terrorism and bloodshed during his historic 2009 visit to Israel and Palestine. Bishop Pates also reiterated the support of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for a two-state solution to peace between Israel and Palestine.

The full text of the letter is available online:


Keywords: Israel, Palestine, two-state solution, humanitarian assistance, developmental assistance, foreign aid, U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Bishop Richard E. Pates, International Justice and Peace, USCCB, U.S. bishops, United Nations

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