Religious Leaders Urge the United States to Present a Framework for Negotiating a Two-State Peace Agreement

Religious Leaders Urge the United States to Present a Framework for Negotiating a Two-State Peace Agreement

Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins and Rev. Geoffrey Black joined Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders of twenty-five national religious organizations delivered a letter to President Obama yesterday urging “a renewed, determined U.S. effort, in coordination with the Quartet, to work with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to achieve a negotiated two-state peace agreement before it is too late.”  

The religious leaders warned, “the Gaza war demonstrated once again that there is no military solution to the conflict” and “given developments on the ground, including dangerous new violent clashes in Jerusalem, simply urging the parties to return to negotiations is no longer sufficient.”

The leaders believe “the outline for a two-state peace agreement is widely known and would likely be accepted by majorities of Israelis and Palestinians if presented by their leaders as the only viable alternative to more violence and war.” They observed that “UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397, the Taba Agreement (2001), the Arab Peace Initiative (2002), People’s Voice Initiative (2003), the Geneva Initiative (2003), and the (unofficial) Israeli Peace Initiative (2011), taken together, provide practical and reasonable ideas for resolving all the issues, including borders and security, settlements, refugees, and the future of Jerusalem.”

The national religious leaders are united in urging the President “to authorize Secretary of State Kerry, coordinating with the Quartet and drawing on internationally accepted principles and practical ideas from previous official and informal negotiations, to offer a balanced and fair framework to the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority as the basis for negotiating a two-state peace agreement to end the conflict.”

Appreciating that “a bold peace initiative will require strong public support,” the leaders pledged “to mobilize support from our members in synagogues, churches and mosques across the country,” and they requested “an early opportunity to meet with Secretary Kerry to discuss specific ways religious leaders can help.”