Heads of churches in Jerusalem want negotiated Palestinian state

By staff writers
September 17, 2011

Church leaders in Jerusalem have said that they support a negotiated solution to the question of a Palestinian state in the Middle East.

"Negotiations are the best way to resolve all outstanding problems between [Israel and the Palestinians]," they said in a statement before next week's address by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr Abbas will formally ask for recognition of an independent Palestinian state when he addresses the United Nations.

Yesterday morning former US President Jimmy Carter, who has campaigned for justice in the Middle East in recent years, as well as seeking to alleviate poverty through the Carter Foundation, said that he understood and supported the Palestinian move.

The United States, whose foreign policy remains closely aligned to the policies of the state of Israel, in spite of a slightly more critical stance under the Obama regime, has already declared that it will use its veto against the move.

But President Carter, speaking on the BBC Radio 4 'Today' programme in the UK, said he believes that around 140 of some 200 states may back recognition of Palestine, and that the outcome may be a status equivalent to the Vatican, which is given a seat short of full state status at the UN.

President Abbas is seeking a significant step-change in the politics of negotiation for Palestinian statehood, which have been set back by the continued refusal of Israel to contemplate a return to 1967 borders.

Advocates of 'just peace' in the region, including the Jerusalem church leaders, wish to see a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine standoff.

The Heads of Churches in Jerusalem are from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the Latin Patriarchate, the Armenian Patriarchate, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, the Custody of the Holy Land, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate, the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, the Greek Melkite Catholic Church, the Maronite Archdiocese of Haifa and the Holy Land, the Syrian Catholic Church, and the Armenian Catholic Church.


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