Fair Witness Commends Both the Palestinians and the Israelis for Continuing Work on Peace Negotiations

Oct 14, 2010, 06:28 ET from Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East

NEW YORK, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East ("Fair Witness") urges both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to remain at the negotiating table and commends them both for their recent attempts to continue to work towards an agreement that will create a viable two-state solution.

"We are very pleased to see that Prime Minister Netanyahu is making an attempt to find a way to extend the moratorium on settlement building by offering this extension in return for Palestinian recognition of the Jewish nature of the state of Israel," said Rev. Dr. Peter A. Pettit, Director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding at Muhlenberg College and Fair Witness Executive Committee member.  

Rev. Dr. Bruce Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College, also a member of the Executive Committee of Fair Witness, commented that, "We are equally pleased that senior Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo is trying to move the talks forward by following the U.S. State Department request to make a counter-offer to the Israelis.  By calling on the U.S. and Israel to define Israel's borders the Palestinians are clearly also doing their part to get peace talks back on track."

"We see these latest actions as attempts by both sides to start negotiating the difficult core issues that can lead to a two-state solution," said Rev. James Loughran, S.A., Director of the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute and Fair Witness member.

Sr. Ruth Lautt, O.P., Esq., Fair Witness National Director, says, "We wholeheartedly agree with Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit who was quoted in an Arabic language newspaper saying '[w]hoever offered the idea to freeze settlements as a main goal and priority didn't see the real goal of the negotiations, which is to define borders.  Everyone involved should be working hard to define borders... and then we can start looking at other items on the agenda.'"  (translated from Al-Hayat, October 1, 2010).

"If either party gets bogged down in preliminary demands they may lose sight of the forest for the trees,"  added Fr. Loughran.  "The forest here is finding viable parameters of a two-state solution which will bring both Palestinian sovereignty and real guarantees of peace and security for Israel."

SOURCE Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East