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Churches plead for Holy Land peace.

ATLANTA * Christian churches have a responsibility to work to bring the chronic conflict in the Middle East to a just peace, and more effective advocacy is needed in the United States, said church leaders meeting in Atlanta.

Nearly 40 heads of Christian churches and church-related organizations in the U.S. and the Holy Land adopted a four-page document, "Pursuing Peace and Strengthening Presence: The Atlanta Summit of Churches in the USA and the Holy Land," after an April 1920 meeting at the Carter Center in Atlanta.

The meeting aimed "to express our ecumenical unity in action toward the end of occupation and a lasting political solution in the Holy Land," the document said.

"We affirm that the two-state solution, built on the basis of international resolutions, in which both Israelis and Palestinians can live in neighborly relations and at peace with each other, must be viable politically, geographically, economically and socially," it said.

The church leaders said they would "urge the U.S. administration, Congress, politicians and public figures to adopt balanced and just positions that would pave the way for... a just and enduring solution of the conflict."

Peace with justice "requires ending the long conflict, occupation, injustice and all acts of violence and terrorism and bringing back the land we call holy to wholeness, peace, redemption and reconciliation for all of its inhabitants," they said.

Catholic participants included Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem; Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M; and Stephen Colecchi, director of the U.S. bishops' Office of International Justice and Peace.

With more than 100 million U.S. Christians represented at the meeting, there is "a potentially powerful force that could shape U.S. policy" in the Middle East, said attendee Michael La Civita of the New York-based Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

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Title Annotation:NATION
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 6, 2016
Words:305
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