May 17, 2003


Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress,


As leaders of churches and church agencies in the United States, we send you our warm greetings and prayers for your efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. As the United States steps into leadership of an international initiative to bring resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we direct your attention to – and have attached – a letter to the Prime Ministers of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.


The release of the Road Map revives hope that this conflict can be resolved with a negotiated agreement whose durability is secured by the application of United Nations Security Council resolutions. If this internationally supported plan is to be successful, it will require your sustained support.


Mr. President, we stand with the many people of the United States and across the globe who are looking to you and Secretary Powell for the leadership necessary to implement the Road Map, bring an end to the occupation, and build peace and security. Only then will the Palestinian people and Israel be freed of the constraints of a conflict that has polarized Jews, Christians, and Muslims and played into the hands of religious extremists in each of these faiths. We pray that you will not be dissuaded by the views of those who cannot see that the wellbeing and security of the modern state of Israel and the future state of Palestine are inherently connected. Peace for both peoples can be attained if the full authority of the Presidency of the United States is brought to bear in support of the provisions of the Road Map.


Members of Congress, we appeal to you to support the President and the Secretary of State as they embark on this process with the Israelis and the Palestinians, the United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation, Arab League and other nations. This initiative prescribes a process that can bring Israel the recognition and security it has been denied and can realize the vision of a viable, independent Palestinian state. It would be a mistake of historic dimensions if the Congress of the United States were to thwart progress toward peace by placing conditions on the implementation of the Road Map.


The Israeli and Palestinian peoples long for peace and, according to polls, are willing to make compromises for peace. Israelis and Palestinians are being asked again to reject violence and work together to free themselves of the occupation which imprisons both peoples. The leadership of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are being asked to take great political risks for the sake of peace. We cannot ask less of you.


We urge you to support the engagement of the United States government in the Road Map peace plan, with unified support for its fair and evenhanded implementation.


For the sake of peace and justice in the Holy Land, our prayers are with you.


Sincerely,


The Rev Dr. Stan Hastey
Executive Director
Alliance of Baptists


Rev. Canice Connors, OFM.Conv.
President
Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men’s Institutes


Rev. Judy Mills Reimer
General Secretary
Church of the Brethren General Board


The Most Rev. Frank Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church


Joseph Nangle, OFM
Co-Director, Franciscan Mission Service
Franciscan Brothers and Fathers


Dr. Ronald J.R. Mathies
Executive Director
Mennonite Central Committee


The Reverend Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church, (USA)


The Rev. William G. Sinkford
President
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations


James Winkler
General Secretary
General Board of Church & Society United Methodist Church


Mary Ellen McNish
General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee


The Rev. Dr. Richard L. Hamm
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada


Rev. John L. McCullough
Executive Director
Church World Service


The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Marie Dennis
Director
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns


Rev. Dr. Robert Edgar
General Secretary
National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA


The Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson
General Secretary
Reformed Church in America


The Rev. John H. Thomas
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ