U.S. Protestant Church Leaders Advocate Security Guarantees for Israel

Protestant church leaders today asked the State Department to arrange for international security commitments which would provide mutual protection for Israel and the Arab states against aggression. The message, which was also sent to 3,000 Christian leaders, said:

“The festering bitterness between the Arab states and Israel requires firm and courageous action by the international community. International security commitments to provide mutual protection against aggression are essential to remove the threat of hostile action from one side or the other.

“The tragic plight of the Arab refugees is an unremitting claim on Christian service,” the message continued. “It is also a concern calling for action at the political level. Plans for developmental assistance should give particular attention to constructive programs for resettlement or repatriation of those made homeless by past events in Palestine.”

It is not essential to Western interests that the governments of the Middle East be “pro-Western,” the statement said. “What is important is that they should be willing and able to maintain and develop the genuine interests of the Middle East in harmony with those of the world community.” The statement observed that “the churches should both support the principles of non-interference in the domestic affairs of Middle Eastern nations.

The statement was made public by Dr. O. Frederick Nolde, director of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. The CCIA is an agency jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches and the International Missionary Council, both world bodies of Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox churches.

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