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August 30, 2001

His Beatitude Ireneos I
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem

His Beatitude Michel Sabbah
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian
Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem

The Rt. Rev. Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal
Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East

The Rt. Rev. Bishop Munib A. Younan
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan

We greet you in the name of Christ.

At this tragic moment in historymarked by an increase of violence in the Holy Land that directly affects the life of your communionwe at the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA reconfirm our solidarity with you, your churches and your people in the struggle toward justice and peace in Israel/Palestine.

In previous statements and related actions, 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. This week, we found it necessary to urge our government to press Israel to comply with its agreement to withdraw its army from Beit Jala. We are relieved that an apparent withdrawal is underway. We have also expressed our dismay at the actions of the Israeli army that threatened human life, posed the possibility of an expanded occupation and also desecrated holy places. Moreover, we are asking the Bush Administration to support the deployment of multinational observers with the aim of promoting peace, justice and security in the Occupied Territories.

Our churches seek to be agents of reconciliation and of peace among people of all faiths, ethnicities and cultures. 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.

As we pray for you, we also solicit your prayers and blessings for our ministries. We remain,

Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, General Secretary
National Council of Churches

cc: Middle East Council of Churches

Link to:

NCC News Story 8/30/01: "Edgar Writes Bush, Jerusalem Church Leaders with Concern About Israeli Military Occupation of Beit Jala"

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

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