Thirty top Muslim, Christian and Jewish faith leaders who form the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East (NILI) affirmed Thursday, March 1, that the two-state-solution is more important than ever to achieve in the current conflicted context of the Middle East. Appreciating that “the months ahead, leading up to U.S.national elections, present a special challenge,” they urged “candidates not to use any rhetoric that could make prospects for peace more problematic. As Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, we strongly caution candidates to do no harm to chances for a two-state Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.”
More specifically, NILI calls on the Administration, the Congress and candidates for office to support the following steps:
- Address warnings to both sides to prevent violence, and undertake diplomatic efforts, in coordination with the Quartet, to help maintain a durable, effective ceasefire; all attacks on civilians must immediately end;
- Continue to support Palestinian state-building and economic development capacity, including immediately lifting the Congressional hold on humanitarian aid;
- Support Palestinian efforts to form a government capable of representing the West Bank and Gaza on the essential conditions that it agree to halt violence, respect all existing agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and negotiate a two-state peace agreement with Israel;
- UrgeIsraelto halt all settlement expansion, including inEast Jerusalem; and
- Urge a resumption of negotiations for a two-state peace agreement, based on U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397, and drawing on elements from the Arab Peace Initiative (2002), the unofficial Israeli Peace Initiative (2011), and the Geneva Accord (2003) which might lead to an agreement acceptable to both sides.