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A Message of Pastoral Concern on the Death of Yasir Arafat

Adopted by The General Assembly of
The National Council of Churches of Christ and Church World Service
November 11, 2004

As thirty-six denominations of the NCCCUSA gather in General Assembly in St. Louis, Missouri, international news from Paris, France reports the death of Yasir Arafat.


Our pastoral response is to pray for his people, colleagues and family. Our experience of the last thirty years alerts us to the potential political peril that lies ahead. As we continue our deep concern for peace between Palestinians and Israelis, we express our grief for all the children – Christian, Muslim and Jewish – who prematurely die daily in the context of continuing strife.


We as the NCCCUSA General Assembly endorse our General Secretary, Robert Edgar’s November 5, 2004 letter to President George W. Bush and its pledge: ”that we will work to bring Jews and Muslims together with Christians to provide support to a vigorous and genuine initiative toward peace in the Middle East.” We reaffirm our support for a two-state solution to the conflict, a proposal which the President has also endorsed.


The letter states that “the hopes and dreams of generations of Israelis, Palestinians, Americans and indeed citizens around the globe depend upon the achievement of peace in the Holy Land.” We offer support to initiatives that lead to the achievement of this goal and call for restraint on the part of all parties and respect for the dignity of all peoples and sacred places.


We share this message of pastoral concern with our member communions and our ecumenical partners in the Middle East and around the world.