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EDGAR WRITES BUSH, JERUSALEM CHURCH LEADERS WITH
CONCERN ABOUT ISRAELI MILITARY OCCUPATION OF BEIT JALA

Link to:
Dr. Edgar's Letter to President Bush
Dr. Edgar's Letter to Five Church Leaders in Jerusalem
Dr. Edgar's Letter to Lutheran Bishop of Jerusalem Munib A. Younan
18 U.S. Church Leaders' June 7, 2001, Letter to Colin Powell

August 30, 2001, NEW YORK CITY – The Israeli military’s recent occupation of the West Bank town of Beit Jala, especially of the Lutheran church and other church properties, is the subject of a letter of concern sent to President Bush today by the Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches.

“We appreciate that your Administration called for the Israeli military to withdraw, and urge you to continue to press the government of Israel to comply,” he wrote.

Dr. Edgar said recent events have served to “heighten the need for strong American leadership as an irreplaceable factor in resolving this tragic conflict of interests” and urged the Bush Administration “to support the deployment of multinational observers with the aim of promoting peace, justice and security in the Occupied Territories.”

The NCC General Secretary today also wrote five church leaders in Jerusalem, including Bishop Munib A. Younan, the Lutheran Bishop in Jerusalem, to reconfirm the NCC’s “solidarity with you, your churches and your people in the struggle toward justice and peace in Israel/Palestine.”

“In previous statements and related actions,” Dr. Edgar wrote, “we have affirmed our support for the rights of Palestinians, for a shared Jerusalem and for reconciliation and peace with justice in the Holy Land ….

“Our churches seek to be agents of reconciliation and of peace among people of all faiths, ethnicities and cultures,” he continued.  “Therefore, with you, we will continue to urge both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to end the cycle of violence, which increasingly is destroying human lives and property and defiling holy places.  We call upon both parties to resume dialogue toward the day when all in the Holy Land can live in justice and peace.”

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