March 6, 2002

2002-055

Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold issues statement on Middle
East



(ENS)Today Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold issued a brief
statement on the crisis in the Middle East. He sent the
statement to Secretary of State Colin Powell with his prayers
"as you and your office seek ways to resolve this tragic
situation with its terrible global consequences." The presiding
bishop said:

"The unbreakable cycle of violence which was set in motion by
Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to the Temple Mount in
Jerusalem some 18 months ago has led to a tragic loss of Israeli
and Palestinian lives, many of them innocent civilians. For
Israelis the issue is security and for the Palestinians the
issue is continued occupation. To what extent Yasser Arafat is
willing and able to contain terrorist activities is unclear, as
is Mr. Sharon's desire for peace with the Palestinians. I fear
that Arafat has become Sharon's bin Laden, and perhaps this
explains why our administration has been so one-sided in its
approach to this deadly conflict.

"Crown Prince Abdullah's plan offers a way forward. I
sincerely hope that all parties will see it as a potential
avenue to a just and lasting peace between two peoples who share
the patrimony of Abraham as Jews, Christians and Muslims. This
is my earnest prayer."

Frank T. Griswold

Presiding Bishop and Primate

Episcopal Church USA