Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land Pledges
The Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land—led by senior-most Jewish, Christian, and Islamic leaders—pledged to advance peace in the Middle East and dedicated itself to protecting sites holy to each faith tradition.
"We, believers from three religions, have been placed in this land—Jews, Christians, and Muslims. It is our responsibility to find the right way to live together in peace rather than to fight and kill one another," the Council members said in a communiqué.
The Council began meeting on Monday in Washington, D.C. with American religious leaders and representatives of the U.S. government. "Each religious community should treat the Holy Sites of other faiths in a manner that respects their integrity and independence and avoids any act of desecration, aggression, or harm," the Council members said.
Three Religions for Peace Co-Presidents are founding members of the Council and were part of the 10-member delegation that met with U.S. officials: Chief Rabbi David Rosen, President of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations; His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem; and Sheikh Tayser Rajab al-Tamimi, the Supreme Judge of Sharia Courts in Palestine.
"All of our religions must be irrevocably committed to building a just peace together," Sheikh Tamimi said. Rabbi Rosen said, "Peace will only come in the Holy Land when the legitimate political and religious aspirations of Jews, Christians, and Muslims are reconciled through honest dialogue and cooperation."
The work of the Council was facilitated by Rev. Dr. Trond Bakkevig, Middle East Envoy for the Commission on International and Ecumenical Affairs of the Church of Norway. Notable among the Council’s financial supporters is the Government of Norway.
In a separate action on Monday, the senior Palestinian religious leaders agreed to break further ground by establishing a Religions for Peace Inter-Religious Council–Palestine composed of the senior-most Palestinian Islamic and Christian leaders. The religious leaders committed to working together to advance peace through multi-religious cooperation both within Palestine and across its borders.
The Religions for Peace Co-Presidents were united in their conviction that there will be no peace in the Holy Land without multi-religious cooperation.