Expression of hope for Palestinian Unity
The World Council of Churches (WCC) welcomes the recent agreement ending political division and seeking the achievement of national unity reached recently in Cairo, Egypt between two Palestinian movements - Fatah and Hamas.
The signing of this agreement, for an interim unity government and fixing a date for a general election in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2012, is a significant milestone and promise to forge a Palestinian consensus for lasting and just peace in the region.
These two main Palestinian parties were caught in a vicious cycle of enmity and hatred, diverting their attention from a common goal of peace and reconciliation.
It is heartening that the leaders of the two groups now show a willingness to respond to peoples' aspirations for dignity, freedom, civil rights and equality. The signing of the agreement provides opportunities for Palestinians to pave new avenues of cooperation and relations that will facilitate a healing process within Palestinian communities. It is significant that this agreement comes at a time when historical trends of regional political changes are propelling new political paradigms.
The WCC hopes that the Cairo agreement will not only facilitate a process of mutual trust and confidence among Palestinian groups, but will further enhance a process of ending Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and achieve a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine and strengthen the commitment to find solutions without using violence.
To realize the goal of just peace in the region, the international community now has the challenge and responsibility to accompany this process. The international community must also assume a proactive and positive role in guaranteeing the agreement be kept alive actively discouraging any external conditions that may cause a breakdown.
At a time when the WCC prepares to hold the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) in Kingston, Jamaica, 17-25 May, we find it important to affirm our commitment to just peace in a world afflicted by conflict and violence. It is our fervent hope and prayer that a more congenial atmosphere be created in order to seek a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Israel/Palestine. We pray this will be attained soon.
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary