Letter to Secretary Clinton about Access to Holy Sites

 

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Department of State
Washington, DC 20520 

 

Dear Madam Secretary,

In this Easter season, Churches for Middle East Peace asks your assistance in helping Christians, Muslims and Jews enjoy full religious freedom and complete access to their holy places.

The 2010 U.S. International Religious Freedom Report released earlier this month notes that last year, “strict closure policies and the separation barrier constructed by the Israeli government severely restricted the ability of Palestinian Muslims and Christians to reach places of worship and to practice their religious rites, particularly in Jerusalem. Israeli policies also limited the ability of Israeli Jews to reach places of worship in areas under Palestinian control.”

We note the report also states that, “the government of Israel made some accommodations for Palestinian Christians in the West Bank to access Jerusalem for religious purposes, particularly around Easter, although few accommodations were made for Palestinian Muslims to enter Jerusalem for religious purposes.”

The Easter message this year from the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem urged prayer for reconciliation among people in the Holy Land where the deteriorating situation makes peace and justice seem further away than ever before.  They urged breaking down the walls that divide communities and to instead build bridges of good will between people.    

While we hope that you continue to work for implementation of key components of the U.S.-negotiated 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access throughout the year, we ask that you give immediate attention to urging Israeli authorities to approve requests for access permits submitted by church officials during this Easter season.

 

Sincerely,        

 

 

Warren Clark                                     Martin Shupack

Executive Director                             Chair

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EasterAccess_letter042011.pdf127.68 KB