Published in the January-February 2013 NewsNotes

Kathy McNeely, interim director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, along with 35 other faith leaders, recently signed a letter to President Obama calling on him to bring the full energies of his administration to bear towards facilitating a just, durable and final negotiated agreement to end the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The letter was organized by Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), which is gathering additional endorsements of the letter. It will be presented to the White House on Inauguration Day, January 21.

"Dear Mr. President,

"The goal of a just peace among Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians has eluded leaders in the Middle East and in the U.S. for more than a generation. As you embark upon your second term, there is an unprecedented opportunity for your administration to play a catalytic role in the resolution of this conflict. As faith leaders deeply committed to peace and reconciliation in this land held sacred by so many, we write to ask that you now bring the full energies of your administration to bear toward facilitating a just, durable, and final negotiated agreement to end the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"We understand the difficulty and cost of undertaking this effort. There are groups on both sides that oppose any agreement. The losses Palestinians have experienced since the Oslo Accords were signed nearly 20 years ago have deeply marred trust and made many despair for the possibility of negotiations ever producing an acceptable outcome. Israelis fear that that the losses they may face in negotiations could undermine the existence and security of their state in future generations.

"Your own administration experienced the costly challenges of working toward peacemaking during your first term, but another generation cannot wait as prospects for peace grow dimmer. The U.S. should place the full weight of its support behind the long-term well-being of Israelis and Palestinians. Proposals put forward must be feasible and convincingly address their separate national aspirations for security and justice.

"American political leadership is needed now more than ever to support both Israelis and Palestinians in creating a resilient and just peace. Conversely, the consequences of maintaining the status quo, while events further complicate the feasibility of a two-state solution, may perpetuate the conflict for generations to come.

"Mr. President, we recognize the awesome burdens you carry for the welfare and fate of so many people at home and abroad. We pray that you will be given courage, patience, and wisdom for your decisions in this and in all other matters."

Go to CMEP’s website to endorse this letter.