“Accompany Israeli and Palestinian leaders with courage and patience in a direction that will give their people cause for hope,” World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia says today in a letter to members of the UN Security Council’s “Middle East Quartet”.
letter comes at “a critical juncture in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” and calls on recipients to “work in new ways to meet the new situation emerging from last month’s Palestinian elections”. It identifies three features of the new situation that “present opportunities for genuine progress towards peace”:
- As “an earnest exercise of democratic rights”, the Palestinian elections “send a democratic warning to those in the international community who hold responsibility for the long-delayed fulfilment of international obligations to the Palestinian people”.
- The new Palestinian Authority “needs time to position and prove itself”, and Quartet members therefore need to exercise “constructive patience” with the newly-elected body.
- In the interests of a genuine peace process, the Quartet is needed as an active, determined, objective and consistent “third party” in order to hold Israelis and Palestinians to equitable terms and conditions.
The WCC letter was sent to US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, the European Union’s representative for foreign and security polity Javier Solana, the Russian Federation’s minister of foreign affairs Sergey Lavrov,the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs Agboola Gambari, and to the special representative of the UN Security Council’s Middle East Quartet, James Wolfensohn.