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US, Holy Land Christian leaders call for peace, protection of Palestinian Christian presence

April 26, 2016

Christian leaders from the Holy Land, including the Latin and Greek Orthodox patriarchs of Jerusalem, joined US Christian leaders at a conference at the Carter Center in Atlanta to sign a joint statement on peace and the Christian presence in the Holy Land.

“The continuing occupation of Palestinian lands beyond the 1967 borders and measures and laws that continue to constrain and control the Palestinian population, in contravention of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, must end,” said the signatories of “Pursuing Peace and Strengthening Presence: The Atlanta Summit of Churches in the USA and the Holy Land.”

“Churches and church-related organizations need to work together proactively to protect the existing and future presence of Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land,” the signatories added, as they criticized “certain versions of dispensationalist theology and fundamentalist Christian teachings that create obstacles to peace, the two-state solution and peaceful coexistence in present-day Palestine and Israel.”

Among the American signatories were several mainline Protestant leaders and Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace.”

“In light of the continuing tragedy and injustice being perpetrated against the Palestinians, don’t allow the continuing failure of the US government to find a solution but instead you should become stronger advocates,” Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal said in a talk. “One of our major challenges is standing alongside all those trying to find a solution to issues that spark violence, conflict and war, like building of new settlements. Therefore Church leaders must have the courage to speak up for justice and freedom, for Jews and Arabs alike.”

 
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