Thirty-three leaders of Jewish, Christian and Muslim national religious organizations said that support from religious communities is essential to achieving a two-state peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.
In a February 28 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, the leaders, writing as the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East (NILI), called a negotiated two-state peace agreement “the only realistic resolution of the conflict.”
“We believe the coming months are critical to achieving a negotiated two-state peace agreement,” wrote the leaders, which included Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington; Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace; and Bishop Denis Madden, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
“We also would urge you to meet personally with religious leaders on the ground in Jerusalem, most importantly including leaders of the Council of Religious Institutions in the Holy Land (CRIHL),” the letter said.
The signers also requested a meeting with Secretary Kerry to discuss how they can help.
“While we know that some in our communities will oppose any compromises,” they wrote, “as leaders of NILI we support benchmark principles and practical ideas developed in earlier official and informal negotiations that provide possible elements for necessary compromises on key issues that could be acceptable to majorities of Israelis and Palestinians.”
The letter is available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/israel-palestine/upload/nili-letter-to-secretary-kerry-on-israel-and-palestine-2014-02-28.pdf