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April 2 and 4 Statements on the Middle East
By Dr. Bob Edgar, NCC General Secretary

NCC GENERAL SECRETARY COMMENDS POWELL MISSION
Statement by Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary
National Council of Churches, New York City
April 4, 2002

We commend President Bush for his decisive response to the escalating violence in the Middle East by sending Secretary of State Colin Powell on a mission of the most urgent diplomacy. We hope that it signals a more assertive level of involvement by the Bush administration in seeking a halt to the senseless slaughter of innocent persons on both sides, and rapid movement toward an enduring solution to the causes of the conflict.

Action by our government is critically needed to help break the terrible deadlock, which has gripped the whole region in a cycle of mutual aggression and retaliation. The National Council of Churches offers its earnest prayers for Secretary Powell and General Zinni and the success of their mission.

We also seek to be peacemakers in this troubled Holy Land where peace should be paramount. An NCC-sponsored visit to the region later this month by an ecumenical delegation of American church leaders, undertaken at the invitation of our fellow Christians in the Middle East, will seek to partner with them to foster a climate for lasting peace.


STATEMENT ON THE MIDDLE EAST BY THE REV. DR. BOB EDGAR
GENERAL SECRETARY, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
April 2, 2002, New York City

Every day in Israel/Palestine, grievance is being heaped upon grievance, tragedy upon tragedy, and grief upon grief. Every day we are shocked afresh as the violence in the Holy Land deepens and the loss of human life mounts. We mourn with every bereaved family, whether Palestinian or Israeli, Christian or Muslim or Jewish.

Retaliation cannot compensate for loss. Violence solves nothing, it just creates more victims. The increasingly dangerous cycle of violence and aggression must be broken.

We urge our own United States government to engage actively for peace. We appeal to President Bush to send his senior diplomat, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, to the region to press for an immediate cessation of the violence and for commencement of face-to-face negotiations. We believe the Mitchell plan, the Saudi initiative and the recent historic, unanimous U.N. Security Council resolution can help offer a way forward toward peace.

We ask all people of faith to pray and work for peace in the Holy Land and for all who call it home.

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