WASHINGTON (JTA) — A group of U.S. Christian leaders including a cleric known for his closeness to Barack Obama called on the president to press Israel on accepting Palestinian statehood.
The letter, published May 18 after a conference on Christians and the Middle East convened in Atlanta by former President Jimmy Carter’s Carter Center, is signed by 28 people including prominent members of many of the mainline streams in America: Baptists, Lutherans and Presbyterians.
Among them is Jim Wallis, the leader of the Sojourners, who has known Obama for over a decade and who strongly defended the candidate’s faith against attacks during the last election.
The letter was sent to Obama prior to his meeting on Monday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Our pledge to you is to continue to build constituencies that will advocate for a just political settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” it said. “We request that you call upon Prime Minister Netanyahu to embrace the principle of a two-state solution. As members of your administration have already suggested, we share a concern about how Israeli settlements make that solution less and less possible. Furthermore, we are concerned that a way be found immediately to open the Gaza borders in a manner that respects both humanitarian and security concerns.”