The National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East (NILI), a high level group of religious leaders of Christians, Muslims and Jews, which includes the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, the presiding bishop of the ELCA, is urging President Obama to visit Jerusalem and re-start peace talks now. They wrote a letter and an ad to appear this week. The ad states:
We are Jewish, Christian and Muslim national religious leaders united in support of strong U.S. leadership for a two-state solution before it is too late.
We urge you to visit Jerusalem and the region soon to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to restart negotiations focused on the principles and ideas in the Israeli Peace Initiative, the earlier Arab Peace Initiative and the Geneva Accord.
We believe the United States, in coordination with the Quartet, should continue to respond carefully to the new Palestinian unity agreement and not act precipitously to cut off aid to the Palestinians. The unity government must commit itself to rejecting violence and negotiating a two-state peace agreement with Israel.
We pledge our prayers and public support for active, fair and firm U.S. leadership for peace and we will urge Congress to support this effort.
NILI supports a two-state solution to the conflict that brings security and recognition to Israel and establishes a viable and independent state for the Palestinians—two states living side by side in peace and security—with peace agreements between Israel and all her Arab neighbors.