supports Middle East peace initiative, visits region
York City, October 6, 2006 – The
National Council of Churches USA (NCC) is sending representatives to
Lebanon and is joining with other faith groups supporting the latest
initiative to bring a lasting and just peace in the Middle East.
Churches for Middle East Peace
(CMEP), of which the NCC is a part, is supporting the International
Crisis Group's global advocacy initiative designed to generate new
political momentum for a comprehensive Middle East peace agreement.
The International Crisis Group published a statement by global leaders
calling for action, "Towards
a Comprehensive Settlement of the Arab-Israeli Conflict," that
appeared this week in a full page ad in The New York Times (Oct. 4).
The statement was signed by 135 respected global leaders - former
presidents, prime ministers, foreign and defense ministers,
congressional leaders and heads of international organizations. U.S.
signers included Jimmy Carter, Lee Hamilton, Zbigniew Brzezinski, George
Soros and Thomas Pickering.
This latest initiative comes at time
when the NCC is sending a fact-finding delegation to Lebanon. The
group, headed by the Rev. Michael Livingston, president of the NCC,
leaves Monday (Oct. 9). They will meet with Lebanese citizens and
officials alike during their five-day visit. The group will report on
their experiences to the NCC General Assembly's annual meeting next
month in Orlando, Fla.
A separate delegation to Israel/Palestine is being undertaken by Church
World Service, NCC's partner humanitarian ministry. The CWS team will
also report to the General Assembly.
The International Crisis Group also issued a new report, "The
Arab-Israeli Conflict: To Reach a Lasting Peace". It says in part,
"...the Lebanon war must serve as a wake-up call: so long as the
political roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict are not addressed, it will
remain a bottomless source and pretext for repression, radicalization
and bloodletting, both in the region and beyond. Now is the time for an
international push to launch a new peace initiative."
CMEP is encouraging members of churches to study the document and
statement from the International Crisis Group as a basis for discussion.
Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace is a Washington-based
program of the Alliance of Baptists, American Friends Service Committee,
Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Armenian Orthodox Church,
Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Institutes, Christian
Church (Disciples of Christ), and Church of the Brethren
Also, Church World Service, Episcopal
Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Franciscan Friars OFM
(English Speaking Conference, JPIC Council), Friends Committee on
National Legislation, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Maryknoll
Missioners, Mennonite Central Committee.
Also, the National Council of Churches
USA, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, Unitarian
Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, and the United
Methodist Church (GBCS & GBGM).