Urges Israelis and Palestinians to Commit to Peace
The Holy See is convinced that a two-state solution is the best way to solve the crisis between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East.
Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, affirmed this today when he addressed the 62nd session of the U.N. General Assembly on the topic of Palestinian refugees in the Near East.
The archbishop said that at the heart of the matter is the problem of injustice. He said, "To postpone endlessly the resolution of this conflict by a refusal to negotiate and to compromise reasonably, by indecision or by a willingness to maintain the status quo, is to perpetuate injustice."
"Whether such a mind-set is deliberate or not does not alter the reality on the ground, namely, innocent people and entire families on all sides continue to suffer terribly and infrastructures are destroyed even before they are ready for use," the prelate continued.
Affirming that the Holy See believes a two-state solution has the best chance to settle the crisis, Archbishop Migliore called on both Israelis and Palestinians to resolve themselves to work for peace.
He said: "Bringing this solution to reality is not the primary responsibility of the Quartet, but of the parties directly concerned and the neighboring countries who have immediate interests in the whole question."
The Quartet on the Middle East, which is involved in mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, comprises the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.
The prelate continued: "While the international community can only do so much in providing all the support needed to bring together those in conflict, it is indispensable that the parties must set aside the pretense of peacemaking and start full negotiations on the two-state solution.
"My delegation earnestly hopes that the international conference planned for the end of this month may move the peace process towards this end, towards the definition of a realistic accord that the parties will be determined to implement."
Archbishop Migliore acknowledged that decades of violence have caused rage among the people of the area, "fueling the vicious cycle of violent retaliations."
However, he called on "groups within both the Israeli and Palestinian civil societies which, sharing the same loss and fear, reach out to one another to offer and receive forgiveness and reconciliation. We appeal not only to authorities, but to the entire Israeli, Palestinian and neighboring peoples, to consider how much this disposition of mutual empathy can bridge their otherwise mutually exclusive and contradictory claims which have so far prevented talks to come to fruition."
The archbishop concluded by noting that the status of the city of Jerusalem must be part of a lasting solution.
"In light of the numerous incidents of violence and challenges to free movement posed by the security wall," he said, "the Holy See renews its support for internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the city of Jerusalem the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to the holy places by the faithful of all religions and nationalities."