Obama's Middle East Peace Efforts Supported By Faith Leaders

Over 30 prominent faith and organizational leaders showed support Tuesday for President Obama's efforts to end Israeli-Palestinian conflicts by drafting a statement to help him, "chart a path to a better future."

Released the same day that Obama concluded meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in New York, the statement, which was coordinated by religious organization Churches for Middle East Peace, applauded the President's, "determination to provide sustained, hands-on diplomatic leadership to bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to an end through the creation of two viable, secure and independent states living side by side in peace and security."

Signers of the statement, which included Dr. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in the U.S.A, and Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori, also affirmed the President's urgency in resolving the conflict situation, and vowed to support Obama's administration, "if it decides to present proposals for a just and equitable solution that provides dignity, security and sovereignty for both peoples."

Kinnamon said in comment, "The pain and suffering caused by this conflict cannot be calculated. Those of us who trace our faith to Abraham share both a common bond and a common agony that the Holy Land remains a venue of endless bitterness and bloodshed. It has to stop, and stopping it must be a major moral commitment by all of us."

Other signers of the letter included former CIA chief Frank Anderson; Rabbi Peter Knobel, former president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis; Salam Al-Marayati, Executive Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council; Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington; and the Rev. Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church.

Debate on the Middle Eastern conflict will continue throughout the week as one of the main agenda items for the United Nations General Assembly in New York, which will host over 120 heads of state and government.

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