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Work for Holy Land peace agreement, USCCB committee chair urges administration

January 29, 2016

Stating that “the status quo is unsustainable” and lamenting the situation of Christians in the Cremisan Valley, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace called upon National Security Advisor Susan Rice to work toward an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

“The international community, with the active engagement of the United States, must make renewed efforts to achieve a peace agreement that provides security and recognition for Israel and a viable and independent state for Palestinians,” said Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

He added that “the realities of isolation and desperation in Gaza compromise the dignity of the entire population and undermine the quest of Israelis for security.”

Turning to the Cremisan Valley, through which Israel seeks to extend its security wall, the prelate said:

I would again highlight the injustice being perpetrated in the Cremisan Valley. Bulldozers have begun to uproot ancient olive groves belonging to Christian Palestinians in the West Bank near Bethlehem. The route of the security barrier should not effectively confiscate Palestinian land, compromising the ministry of Christian institutions and the rights of Christian landowners. It if is to be built, it should be on internationally recognized Israeli land.

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