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NCC joins religious Mideast peace effort

New York, December 14, 2006 The National Council of Churches USA has joined with a broad coalition of Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders in calling for a renewed initiative toward peace in Israel and Palestine. 

The National Interreligious Initiative for Peace in the Middle East this week called upon the U.S. government to reinvigorate the stalled peace process in the land that millions of people call 'holy'. 

"As Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, our shared Abrahamic faith compels us to work together for peace with justice for Israelis, Palestinians and all peoples in the Middle East," reads the preamble of the group's statement.  "As Americans, we again ask the United States to make peace in the Middle East an urgent priority.  Our nation has an inescapable responsibility and an indispensable role to provide creative, determined leadership for building a just peace for all in the Middle East."  

The Rev. Michael Livingston, president of the NCC, was among the 35 leaders from Jewish, Muslim, Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian organizations issuing this call for a recommitment to a Mideast peace initiative. 

"Beginning in December 2003, we called upon the United States to exercise leadership at the highest levels to secure a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians through concrete support for the Road Map and '12 Steps for Peace'," says the statement.  "We have been disappointed that the United States did not more actively pursue the Road Map for Peace which we felt held great promise. While much has changed since December 2003, our fundamental call for the United States to more fully engage in the work for a two-state solution to the conflict has not." 

The statement, entitled "Arab-Israeli-Palestinian Peace: From Crisis to Hope," says the "United States must make peace in the Middle East an urgent priority.  Achieving Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace will have positive reverberations in the region and around the world. Our nation and the world will be much safer if peace takes hold in the Middle East." 

The complete statement outlines in detail what steps the religious leaders see as priorities in the region and how the U.S. can move forward with the peace initiative. 

The NCC has been outspoken on seeking solutions for a lasting peace in Israel and Palestine that honors both security for the Israeli people and justice for Palestinians. 

NCC News contact:  Dan Webster, 212.870.2252,

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