Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders asked President Bush in a letter to continue efforts in ensuring peace between Israel and Palestine showing in light of the militant Hamas party’s victory in the Palestinian elections.
"Mr. President, based on the deepest beliefs in our three Abrahamic religious traditions, we support your vision of peace – an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state existing alongside the State of Israel, with peace and security for both peoples and a negotiated resolution of the status of Jerusalem," they wrote.
The leaders, forming the Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East, presented the document signed by 35 heads of religious groups, Tuesday, at the National Press Club in the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. The letter supported Bush’s decision to be cautious in his relationship with the new Palestinian leadership, since the United States had acknowledged the Hamas as a terrorist organization.
Nonetheless, they asked Bush to advocate a ceasefire between both sides, continue efforts to create a separate Palestinian state through Road Map to Peace, and send a special envoy to monitor negotiations. They also asked the president to give greater assurances that peaceful agreements will be made on more "difficult issues" by using Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza.
The interreligious leaders later visited U.S. Under Secretary of State Karen Hughes to share their thoughts on the situation in Palestine.
"We are together because we believe that this is what our people want us to do and we believe that this is what God wants us to do," said Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington.