WASHINGTON—The United States ispoised to make a real difference in the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict andshould provide tireless leadership to ensure a two-state solution in the MiddleEast, said two leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in aJanuary 9 letter to President Barack Obama.
"We affirm your support of thetwo-state solution, promise our support for strong U.S. leadership for peace,and urge you even to consider appointing a high profile envoy in hopes that asin the past this might advance peace and justice in the region," wrote CardinalTimothy Dolan of New York, president of USCCB, and Bishop Richard Pates of DesMoines, Iowa, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice andPeace.
Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Patesacknowledged that actions by both Israelis and Palestinians, including rocketattacks from Gaza and Israeli occupation and settlement policies, haveundermined peace in the region, threatening the possibility of a two-statesolution of "a secure and recognized Israel living in peace alongside a viableand independent Palestinian state."
The bishops also noted the heavytoll violence takes on the ancient Christian community in the Holy Land. Theyquoted the Christmas homily of Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem, whoinvited "politicians and men of good will to work with determination for peaceand reconciliation that encompasses Palestine and Israel in the midst of allthe suffering in the Middle East."
The full text of the letter fromCardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates is available online: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/israel-palestine/upload/1508_2013-01_Letter_to_President_on_Holy_Land-pdf-2.pdf
On January 7, Bishop Pates alsojoined leaders from over 35 Christian denominations in a letter offeringprayers and urging President Obama to devote the efforts of his second term toending the conflict. The full text of that letter is available online: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/israel-palestine/upload/letter-to-the-President-Jan-2013.pdf
At the time of the release of bothletters, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, a consultant to the bishops'International Justice and Peace Committee and chairman of the board of CatholicRelief Services, joined representatives of the bishops' conferences from Europeand North America in the Holy Land to reiterate the call for a just peace. Thefull text of their communiqué can be found online: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/israel-palestine/upload/HLC-13-Final-Comunique-2.pdf
Keywords: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Bishop Richard Pates,USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Israel, Palestine,two-state solution, peace, President Barack Obama, conflict, InternationalJustice and Peace, letter
# # # # #MEDIA CONTACT ONLY:Don ClemmerO: 202-541-3206Email
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