DIOCESE OF DES MOINES
Bishop Pates and Iowa's Religious Leaders Urge Obama Administration to Seek Immediate and Peaceful Solution for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Bishop Richard Pates and other faith leaders in central Iowa have released a statement regarding the importance of a peaceful solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
In his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, Bishop Pates is among the 30 Christian and Muslim religious leaders in central Iowa warning that today "twilight has fallen on the possibility of a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." The religious leaders called for "a bold new U.S. initiative for a two-state peace agreement before it is too late."
In their united statement, central Iowa's religious leaders point out how the current dangerous stalemate, including the legacy of past failed peacemaking efforts, undermines our security and that of others, destabilizes the region, fuels terrorism and extremism, allows continuing Israeli settlement expansion, and prolongs Palestinian disunity. These realities and the absence of negotiations threaten to kill the prospect of a viable two-state peace agreement.
"As people of faith, we proclaim that we should never underestimate what is possible," said the religious leaders. "Egypt and the United States helped achieve a ceasefire in Gaza. With the support of the international community, Israelis and Palestinians can achieve a lasting peace. A new dawn is possible."
"We affirm President Obama's support for a negotiated two-state peace agreement that provides for a secure and recognized Israel living in peace alongside a viable and independent Palestinian state."
This is not the first time Bishop Pates has spoken out on the need for a two-state peace agreement. On Jan. 10, he along with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a joint letter to President Barack Obama.
"The failure to achieve peace continues to take a heavy toll on both Israelis and Palestinians, and especially on the indigenous ancient Christian community of the Holy Land that is emigrating at alarming rates," they wrote. They urged ongoing leadership, saying the United States "is poised, in our estimation, to be the most effective arbiter in this tangled situation that portends enormous risk for the world."
They acknowledged the daunting challenges of leading the effort for peace, but said, "We believe a bold new initiative for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement should be an immediate priority of the Obama Administration in 2013. We fear the opportunity for a peaceful resolution is rapidly waning and the current stagnation encourages the rejectionists on both sides."
The Diocese of Des Moines includes 81 parishes in 23 counties in central and southwest Iowa.
(CONTACT: Anne Marie Cox Office of Communications Diocese of Des Moines (515) 237-5057 firstname.lastname@example.org)