Statement on the Middle East Conflict

March 5, 2002

The unbreakable cycle of violence which was set in motion by Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem some 18 months ago has led to a tragic loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives, many of them innocent civilians. For the Israelis the issue is security and for the Palestinians the issue is continued occupation. To what extent Yasser Arafat is willing and able to contain terrorist activities is unclear, as is Mr. Sharon's desire for peace with the Palestinians. I fear that Arafat has become Sharon's bin Laden, and perhaps this explains why our administration has been so one-sided in its approach to this deadly conflict.

Crown Prince Abdullah's plan offers a way forward. I sincerely hope that all parties will see it as a potential avenue to a just and lasting peace between two peoples who share the patrimony of Abraham as Jews, Christians and Muslims. This is my earnest prayer.

The Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold
XXV Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church, USA

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