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Urge Secretary of State Clinton to Reject Actions that Undermine Peace in the Holy Land

Take Action Now! Urge Secretary of State Clinton to reinforce the unequivocal opposition of the United

States to actions that undermine a two-state solution to the Holy Land conflict, make Israel less secure, and create more obstacles to a viable and independent Palestinian state. Background: The Israeli government is currently reviewing
recommendations in a report it commissioned that would include the legalization of all settlement outposts. The report known as the Levy Commission Report is named for its chairman, former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy. The report rejects the internationally recognized occupation of the West Bank, and proposes that Israelis be allowed to settle most anywhere in the West Bank. The Commission declared that all Jewish settlements are legal, even those ruled illegal by the Israeli Supreme Court. If the report is adopted, it could undermine a two-state solution to the Holy Land conflict and preclude the establishment of a viable Palestinian state living in peace alongside a recognized and secure Israel.
Lord God, we turn to you in these trying hours when conflict is a daily reality for our sisters and brothers in Israel and Palestine. We promise you to work to our utmost for peace and reconciliation in the region. But we know we cannot do it alone. We very much need the strength of your presence in our midst if we are to overcome the obstacles before us. So our prayer at this moment is that you add your support to our efforts, that you show yourself as a tower of strength in those moments when the barriers seem impassable. Together we can become beacons of hope for just and peaceful societies in the land so very dear to the peoples of your covenant. Amen.
-From Voices for Peace in the Holy Land, A Parish Guide, by USCCB & CRS; written by Rev. John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and believe that any actions that undermine a negotiated peace between the two parties, such as the Levy Report, must be challenged. Therefore, USCCB and CRS agree with Secretary Clinton when she recently stated after meetings with Israeli officials that it is only through negotiation, and not through international venues or unilateral acts, that peace can be and will be secured. Read a recent letter from Bishop Richard E. Pates to Secretary of State Clinton for more information. See also a recent letter from 40 prominent U.S. Jewish leaders. Stand with the Israeli and Palestinian people for peace. Support consistent and persistent U.S. leadership to challenge and restrain both parties to the conflict and to hold them accountable for mutual steps needed for a just peace. Palestinians must improve security by halting attacks on civilians, blocking illegal arms shipments, disarming militias, and improving governance and transparency to build capacity for a future state. Israel needs to freeze expansion of settlements, withdraw illegal outposts, ease restrictions on the movement of Palestinians, and refrain from disproportionate military responses.

Visit the Catholics Confront Global Poverty Action Center to send a letter to Secretary Clinton now.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops th 3211 4 St., NE, Washington, DC 20017 www.usccb.org/globalpoverty globalpoverty@usccb.org (202) 541-3160 Catholic Relief Services 228 W. Lexington St., Baltimore, MD 21201 www.crs.org/globalpoverty globalpoverty@crs.org 1-866-608-5978

SAMPLE LETTER TO SECRETARY CLINTON Secretary of State Hillary Clinton US Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520 Dear Madam Secretary, As a committed Catholic and supporter of the Catholics Confront Global Poverty initiative of Catholic Relief Services and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I share the hopes of Pope Benedict XVI: In the Holy Land, where tensions between Palestinians and Israelis affect the stability of the entire Middle East, it is necessary that the leaders of these two peoples adopt courageous and farsighted decisions in favor of peace. I express my hope that [negotiations] will lead to a lasting peace which guarantees the right of the two peoples to dwell in security in sovereign states and within secure and internationally recognized borders. I believe the people of Israel and Palestine yearn for a lasting peace. I also believe a lasting peace can only be achieved through good faith negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, unprejudiced by the unilateral and controversial action of either party. Please continue to urge the Government of Israel to reject the findings of the Levy Commission Report. Adoption of this report could undermine efforts for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. More importantly, please continue to pressure both the Israelis and Palestinians to take actions that allow peace talks to resume, so that a lasting peace can be realized by all the people of the region. Sincerely, [Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]