Religious Leaders Urge Presidential Leadership for Arab-Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Religious Leaders Urge Presidential Leadership for Arab-Israeli-Palestinian PeaceIn response to the launching of a new Israeli Peace Initiative by former Israeli government, intelligence and security officials, leaders of twenty-five Jewish, Christian and Muslim national religious organizations wrote to President Obama saying that they believe “this initiative, the earlier Arab Peace Initiative and the Geneva Accord, taken together, offer key principles and ideas for comprehensive Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace.”  (Letter and endorsers attached.)The religious leaders observed:  “The main elements of these peace initiatives reflect years of official and informal, unofficial negotiations and include creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, based on the 1967 borders with possible limited land swaps as mutually agreed; a fair negotiated resolution of the issue of refugees that does not threaten the demography of Israel; the sharing of Jerusalem by Israel and the Palestinian state with both having their capitals in the city; and Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights as part of a peace agreement with Syria.”Citing “the current stalemate in negotiations, the threat of escalation in violence between Israelis and Palestinians, and the goal and expectation that peace can be achieved this year,” the religiousleaders urged that “the United States, in coordination with the Quartet (the U.S., European Union, Russia, and U.N. Secretary General) should support these elements being addressed in negotiations on an urgent basis.”The religious leaders encouraged President Obama to visit Jerusalem and the region soon, and they “pledged their prayers and public support for active, fair and firm U.S. leadership in this urgent endeavor.”   The leaders believe that in providing such leadership, the President “can count on substantial support from members of churches, synagogues and mosques across the country.”*    *    *    *National Interreligious Leadership Initiativefor Peace in the Middle EastE-Mail: usicpme@aol.comWebsite: www.nili-mideastpeace.orgApril 14, 2011President Barack ObamaThe White HouseWashington, DC 20270Dear Mr. President,The launching of a new peace initiative by a group of former Israeli government, intelligence and security officials prompts us to write to you as leaders of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim national religious organizations who are committed to strong U.S. leadership for Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peaceGiven the current stalemate in negotiations, the threat of escalation of violent confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians, and the goal and expectation that peace can be achieved this year,we believe the Israeli peace initiative, the earlier Arab Peace Initiative, and the Geneva Accord, taken together, offer key principles and ideas for negotiations to achieve comprehensiveArab-Israeli-Palestinian peace.The main elements of these peace initiatives reflect years of official and informal, unofficial negotiations and include: creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, based on the 1967 borders with possible limited land swaps as mutually agreed; a fair negotiated resolution of the issue of refugees that does not threaten the demography of Israel; the sharing of Jerusalem by Israel and the Palestinian state with both having their capitals in the city; and Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights as part of a peace agreement with Syria. We believe the United States, in coordination with the Quartet, should support these elements being addressed in negotiations on an urgent basis. In addition, of particular concern to our communities are guarantees for free access to Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy places.We encourage you to visit Jerusalem and the region soon to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to discuss next steps toward achieving peace based on the principles and ideas in these peace initiatives.We pledge our prayers and public support for active, fair and firm U.S. leadership in this urgent endeavor.  We believe you can count on substantial support from members of churches, synagogues, and mosques across the country.Sincerely yours,(List of Endorsers follows)Cc: Secretary of State Hillary ClintonNational Security Advisor Tom DonilonNational Interreligious Leadership Initiativefor Peace in the Middle EastE-Mail: usicpme@aol.comWebsite: www.nili-mideastpeace.orgTel: (425) 327-7545Letter to President Barack ObamaApril 14, 2011List of EndorsersChristian Leaders:His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington *Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace, USCCB*Archbishop Vicken Aykasian, Director, Ecumenical Affairs, Armenia Orthodox Church in America*Fr. Mark Arey, Director, Office of Ecumenical Affairs, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America*The Reverend Peg Chemberlin, President, National Council of Churches of Christ USA*The Reverend Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary, National Council of Churches of Christ USA*Bishop Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America*The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, Episcopal Church*The Reverend Geoffrey Black, General Minister & President, United Church of Christ*The Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister, President, Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ)*The Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church (USA)*Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader, Council of Bishops, United Methodist Church*Richard Stearns, President, World Vision United States*The Reverend Leighton Ford, President, Leighton Ford Ministries, Board Member, World Vision US*David Neff, Editor in Chief and Vice-President, Christianity Today*The Reverend John M. Buchanan, Editor and Publisher, Christian Century*Jewish Leaders:Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism*Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, President, Central Conference of American Rabbis*Rabbi Peter Knobel, Past President, Central Conference of American Rabbis*Rabbi Paul Menitoff, Past President, Central Conference of American Rabbis*Rabbi Alvin Sugarman, Vice President, A Different Future*Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Rector, American Jewish University*Rabbi Burton Visotzky, Professor of Midrash & Interreligious Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary*Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Director of Congregational Services, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation*Dr. Carl Sheingold, Former Executive Vice President, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation*Rabbi Amy Small, Past President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Asssembly*Muslim Leaders:Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Syeed, National Director, Islamic Society of North America*Imam Mohammed ibn Hagmagid, Vice President, Islamic Society of North America*Naeem Baig, Executive Director, Islamic Circle of North America*Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim Chaplain, Georgetown University*Dawud Assad, President Emeritus, Council of Mosques, USA*Eide Alawan, Interfaith Office for Outreach, Islamic Center of America*Iftekhar A. Hai, Founding Director, United Muslims of America*Organizations for Identification Only

Categories Blog | Tags: | Posted on April 15, 2011

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