Local possibilities: Interfaith letter on peace in Middle East
February 20, 2002


Rabbi Julie Danan of San Antonio, TX, describes a peace-making process that
others may want to pursue:

We wrote a letter with Jews, Palestinians, an Iranian Muslim and some
Christians. We now have well over 200 signatures and have raised enough
money
to do a full-page ad in the local press. We expect to have several hundred
signatures. We are thinking of sending it to Washington with an interfaith
delegation.

We hope that other communities will follow suit;  we have already had
responses through other peace groups.  The letter will be sent to President
George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell, urging the U.S.
government to maintain an active role in the Middle East peace process. The
letter, together with the names of those who have signed, will appear in the
San Antonio Express News on Friday, March 1 (World Prayer Day).

The drafters of the letter are Rabbi Julie Danan, Dr.Saber Elaydi, Imam
Nadir
Faris, Barbie Gorelick, Rev. Caleb Harms, Rev. Ann Helmke, Pat Konstam, Rev.
Bill Lytle, Hajj Ali Moshirsadri, and Rev. Phin Washer.

Here are the contents:

AN OPEN LETTER AND EMPHATIC PLEA TO PRESIDENT BUSH AND SECRETARY OF STATE
POWELL
 
 

In our shared humanity we mourn the loss of life and escalation of violence
between Israelis and Palestinians. We deplore all violence against innocent
civilians. It is time for an end to bloodshed and a return to peace
negotiations. The United States has the strength and strategic position to
help bring an end to violence against innocent civilians and to bring the
two
sides together to resume peace negotiations. In order to begin the healing
process towards peace, Palestinians need the hope of a future of freedom and
independence and Israelis need confidence in their personal and national
security.
 
 

We therefore ask our government to act quickly and decisively to put forth a
declaration of principles that expresses American support for the right of
the Palestinian people to a viable Palestinian State in the land occupied by
Israel in 1967 along with fully protecting the right of Israel to be a
peaceful and secure homeland for the Jewish people. We believe it is in the
interest of the United States to work urgently and tirelessly for a
resolution to the conflict in which an independent, democratic State of
Palestine will live side by side, in genuine neighborly cooperation, with a
regionally-recognized and secure State of Israel.
 

We, the undersigned citizens of San Antonio, Texas, urge you to use fully
the
influence of the United States to bring about this resolution to the
conflict.