Letter to President Supporting U.S. Leadership for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, April 5, 2010

Year Published
  • 2014
  • English

April 5, 2010 

Dear Mr. President, 

As leaders of major Christian faith communities in America we write to express our strong support for your administration's bold efforts to restart negotiations aimed at a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land.  We applaud our efforts to halt settlement construction in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Palestinian territories, and we join you in seeking a comprehensive agreement that ends the occupation, provides security and recognition for Israel, and establishes a viable, secure and independent Palestinian state.

We believe that with your strong leadership these negotiations can lead to an accord soon that ends the conflict and achieves both the Palestinian goal of an independent, secure and viable state and Israel's goal of a secure state with recognized borders.

New construction or settlement expansion in East Jerusalem and the West Bank undermines the mutual trust that is a necessary condition for successful negotiation. In this regard, the announcement of March 9 for new housing in East Jerusalem is unacceptable.  The expansion of settlements endangers efforts to start the proximity talks that are to be the first step towards direct negotiations on all final status issues that include borders, refugees, security, and a shared Jerusalem.

We cannot permit the benefits of reconciliation and peace to be undermined by fear. Continued violence only strengthens rejectionists on both sides. We also condemn therefore all violence such as that which led to four Palestinian deaths recently in the West Bank and a rogue rocket attack that killed a worker in southern Israel. Authorities on both sides must take steps to avoid provocations and maintain order.

This is an important moment in the struggle to end the occupation and achieve a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land - a restoration of right relationships that will allow Israel and the Palestinians to live in peace with each other and their neighbors.

Continuing U.S. involvement - with necessary support from the U.S. Congress and U.S. public opinion - will be needed to help both sides resolve complex issues. We pledge to give you every possible support in this effort and to join with our Jewish and Muslim colleagues to help work for that goal.


[See the next page for a list of signers, including Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Ken Hackett, President of Catholic Relief Services.]

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian
Armenian Orthodox Church 

Dr. Ray Bakke
Chancellor, Bakke Graduate University   
Chair, Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding

Rev. Geoffrey Black
General Minister and President  
United Church of Christ 

Bishop Wayne Burkette
Moravian Church in America, Southern Province 

Very Rev. Thomas Cassidy, SCJ
Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Institutes     

Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey
Minister for Partnership Relations 
Alliance of Baptists 

Marie Dennis
Maryknoll Office for Global Concern 

Rev. Gerard Dykstra
Executive Director 
Christian Reformed Church in North America 

Sister Donna Graham, OSF
English‐speaking Conference, JPIC Council Franciscan Friars (OFM) 

Rev. Wesley Granberg-­Michaelson  
General Secretary  
Reformed Church in America 

Ken Hackett  
Catholic Relief Services 

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson  
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America  

Most Rev. Howard J. Hubbard   
Bishop of Albany 
Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace 
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops 

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate 
The Episcopal Church 

Rev. Michael Kinnamon, Ph.D.
General Secretary  
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA 

Clifton Kirkpatrick
World Alliance of Reformed Churches 

Rev. John L. McCullough
Executive Director and CEO 
Church World Service 

Mary Ellen McNish
General Secretary  
American Friends Service Committee 

Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer  
The Council of Bishops  
The United Methodist Church 

Rev. Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly 
Presbyterian Church (USA) 

Rolando L. Santiago  
Executive Director  
Mennonite Central Committee US 

Robert Seiple  
Former Ambassador‐at‐large for  
International Religious Freedom 

Ronald J. Sider
Evangelicals for Social Action 

Joe Volk  
Executive Secretary  
Friends Committee on National Legislation 

Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins
General Minister and President 
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

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