Letter on restarting direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians

Christian leaders, including the heads of denominations, have sent President Obama a letter that supports his efforts to help restart direction negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Among the signers is the Rev. Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It opens:

As leaders of American Christian faith communities deeply concerned with the need to end the long-standing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, we are pleased with the success of your diplomacy in bringing the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the Palestinian Authority together in Washington September 1-2 to restart direct negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement on final status issues within the coming year. We fully support your goal of ending the occupation that began in 1967 and achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace with a viable Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security.

The leaders note that this will not be an easy task:

At the same time we have no illusions about the difficulty of the task ahead. Both sides hold deep convictions contrary to those held by the other.

Churches for Middle East Peace organized the letter. The 219th General Assembly (2010) adopted a statement "Breaking Down Walls" that addresses peacemaking and justice seeking in the Middle East, particularly for Israelis and Palestinians. The report was amended from that originally proposed.

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