9-November-2012 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Bishop Richard Pates: Both Palestinians and Israelis Have Undermined Two-State Solution

USCCB Chairman Urges 'Strong US Leadership' in Letter to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 9, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Both Palestinians and Israelis have undermined the possibility of a two-state solution in recent actions and policies, said the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops'(USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

These actions include rocket attacks from Gaza into Southern Israel that "spread fear among Israeli families and damage the Palestinian cause by undercutting the trust necessary for negotiations," said Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, November 8. He also decried the Israeli plan to re-route the separation barrier between Israel and Palestine through the Cremisan Valley.

That plan, said Bishop Pates, would "harm 58 Christian families whose livelihoods and living conditions depend on these lands" and "cut families off from agriculture and recreational lands, other family members, water sources, and schools - including depriving Christian Palestinian youth of fellowship with their peers."

He added, "Moving the wall and disassociating Palestinian families from their lands and livelihoods will incite more resentment against the State of Israel among residents of the West Bank, not less, increasing the frustrations that can lead to violence."

Bishop Pates affirmed USCCB's support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinians conflict, the end of the rocket attacks and the reversal of policies like the Cremisan Valley proposal that undermine peace.

The American prelate concluded his letter reiterating the call of the USCCB for a "strong U.S. leadership that holds both parties accountable for building a just and lasting peace."

"Leaders on both sides must give Israelis and Palestinians hope for a different future free of fear and full of promise," he said.

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On ZENIT's web page:

For the full text of Bishop Pates' letter to US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, go to

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