Chair of USCCB International Committee Calls on Trump Administration to Pursue Peace between Israelis and Palestinians

February 2, 2017 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—In a letter issued yesterday congratulatingSecretary Rex Tillerson on his confirmation as Secretary of State, Bishop OscarCantú, chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), called on the Secretary to work forpeace in Israel and Palestine.

Bishop Cantú, who recently participated in a solidarity visitto Israel and Palestine, enclosed a joint communiqué by bishops from Europe,Canada, South Africa and the United States. The bishop notes that "2017 marksthe fiftieth anniversary of a crippling occupation of the West Bank, EastJerusalem and Gaza, crippling for both peoples." Quoting the joint communiqué of the bishops,he goes on to state that "[t]he occupation violates 'the human dignity of bothPalestinians and Israelis.' Settlementexpansion on occupied Palestinian lands undermines a two-state solution,destroying the homes and the livelihoods of Palestinians as well as thelong-term security and future of Israelis."

Decrying "egregious injustices and random acts of violence," BishopCantú expressed the opposition of U.S. and international bishops to Israelisettlement expansion and confiscation of Palestinian lands. In addition, heimplored the Secretary to maintain the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv. He wrote, "Moving the embassyto Jerusalem would erode the U.S. commitment to a two-state solution, and is athreat to pursuing peace and ending conflict. Its impact would incite anddestabilize the area, compromising U.S. security. As Pope Francis declares,'the two-state solution must become a reality and not merely a dream.'"

BishopCantú called on Secretary Tillerson towork "to end fifty years of occupation and build a brighter future for bothIsraelis and Palestinians." He concluded, "[T]he United States has alwaysprovided leadership and support to the peace process. We continue to professhope for a diplomatic solution that respects the human dignity for bothIsraelis and Palestinians and advances justice and peace for all."

Thefull text of the bishops' joint communiqué andBishop Cantú's letter to Secretary Rex Tillerson are available online at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/israel-palestine/letter-to-secretary-tillerson-from-bishop-cantu-on-israel-palestine-2017-02-01.cfm.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,USCCB, Bishop Oscar Cantú, Committee on International Justice and Peace, RexTillerson, Secretary of State, Israel, Palestine, West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza,peace, Pope Francis

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