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Author Topic: What has Mr. Bush done?  (Read 1091 times) Average Rating: 0
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Columcille
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« on: April 15, 2004, 06:47:36 PM »

U.S. Church Leaders, Citing Risks, Fault President Bush for Concessions to PM Sharon
 



   

To: National Desk


Contact: Jim Wetekam of the Churches for Middle East Peace, 202-543-4150 or jim@cmep.org


WASHINGTON, April 15 /U.S. Newswire/ -- U.S. church leaders today expressed disappointment and alarm at yesterday's remarks by President Bush (news - web sites) that seemingly reversed 35 years of longstanding U.S. policy on Israeli and Palestinian negotiations for peace.


Speaking through Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), a coalition of 19 national Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox church offices, the leaders criticized President Bush's unilateral prejudging of negotiations by his endorsement of Israel's large Jewish settlements in the West Bank and of Israel's wish to prevent any Palestinian refugees from ever being resettled within Israel.


Corinne Whitlatch, executive director of the coalition, stated, "We had hoped that the Gaza withdrawal could be a first forward step toward peace." Whitlatch continued, "Instead, President Bush has betrayed decades of diplomatic advances, undercut the future of the Road Map peace plan and ignored its cosponsors -- the U.N., the European Union (news - web sites) and the Russian Federation. His repeated assurance that he wants a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel is losing credibility. The President's blatant disregard for Palestinian and Arab participation and sentiment places a future peace and our own security as risk."


"The President's decision," said Father Drew Christiansen, S.J., a member of CMEP's Leadership Council and an editor of the Jesuit magazine America, "makes U.S. policy hostage to Prime Minister Sharon's expansionist goals. Legitimating West Bank settlements is a recipe for protracted conflict which will continue to impact adversely the dwindling Christian presence in the Holy Land."


Fr. Christiansen asked the President to consider the consequences of his decision on Christians in the region, saying, "Mr. Sharon has talked about his unilateral initiative delaying negotiations for another generation. But this is a generation in which, under the pressure of endless conflict, the endangered indigenous Christian population in the Holy Land could well disappear. I doubt this is an outcome that President Bush would like to see, but it is very likely one that he is setting in motion."


Other church leaders questioned whether the "war on terrorism" itself may have blinded President Bush to the possible outcomes of his actions on Israelis and Palestinians. Jim Winkler, general secretary of the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, observed, "President Bush responded yesterday to a reporter that 'the best way to achieve peace is to fight terror.' I disagree. The way toward peace is to work for a just resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. That will lead to the end of the terror of suicide bombers and targeted assassinations.


Winkler continued, "Instead of telling Prime Minister Sharon that it's ok now to violate international law and United Nations (news - web sites) resolutions, President Bush should be pressuring both sides to stem the violence and start talking again. President Bush has effectively told the world that what Israel has taken by force from the Palestinians is now acceptable. This is a road map to war."


Whitlatch reiterated the disappointment of the national church organizations in yesterday's developments. "The President's decision, contrary to the public, long-standing positions of many U.S. Protestant and Orthodox churches and of the Catholic Church, is de facto a rejection of international law. He has clearly shown that the U.S. is not as concerned for the rights of the Palestinian people as he is for the political goals of Prime Minister Sharon. How unfortunate for all the people of the Middle East!"


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Churches for Middle East Peace is a Washington-based program of the Alliance of Baptists, American Friends Service Committee, Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Institutes, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Church World Service, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Franciscan Mission Service, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Maryknoll Missioners, Mennonite Central Committee, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church. For further information, see http://www.cmep.org




http://www.usnewswire.com/


   
 
 




 


 

 
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gregory2
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2004, 12:18:06 AM »

I thought politics discussions were supposed to stay on the "Free for all" page!
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Columcille
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2004, 07:11:28 AM »

I apologize if I have posted this in the wrong place.  I interpreted it as Christian news.
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2004, 08:39:48 AM »

To a degree, it is Christian news, as it affects our brothers and sisters in Israel.  What has happened to President Bush is that among the advisors with whom he has surrounded himself are some Christian fundamentalist Zionists.  As far as I know they are morally upright people who sincerely believe that they are right, being blinded by the theology they've been taught.  Most unfortunate.
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2004, 09:45:56 AM »

This is somewhat Christian news, but a couple of weeks ago the administration of this site decided that any topics of a political nature belong in Free For All.  This is because any politics discussion tends to become essentially polemical, and we'd like to isolate these topics in one section so that the members who aren't interested in politics don't have to read political threads in (nearly) every forum.  We're happy to move a thread that was started somewhere else, but please keep this in mind when creating future threads that are political in nature.  

Your friendly neighborhood moderator,

David
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Columcille
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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2004, 10:15:08 AM »

Mea culpa.    Embarrassed
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« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2004, 10:28:47 AM »

No problem...we're all friends here. Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2004, 08:12:28 AM »

This is a major policy blunder, in my opinion.  What does it leave to the Palesntinians?  A state that looks liks Swiss cheese, dotted with Israeli settlement towns on all the best land?  At a time when we need a serious rethink of our Middle Eastern strategy, this seems like a collosal blunder, and one that will seriously undermine US policy initiatives in the Middle East for some time to come.
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