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Middle East Peace Programs

UPF Middle East Peace Declaration: “A Call for Peace at a Time of Crisis”

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Gathered in Jerusalem on Jan. 9-13, 2015 for an interfaith and interdisciplinary consultation on “Jerusalem and the Holy Sites: A Call for Peace at a Time of Crisis,” sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation, we, the participants, being representatives of a wide range of religious and spiritual traditions, professional fields, nations and cultures; and,

Recognizing the intensification of a variety of threats to peace posed by extremism, violence and declining trust; and

Noting, sadly, that relationships both within and between the religions of the Holy Land and wider region -- Judaism, Druze, Christianity and Islam -- are deteriorating, evidenced in the tragic tensions that are related to the most holy sites of Jerusalem; and,

Concerned that time is running out for a productive solution, a two-state solution, to the Israel-Palestine conflict; and,

Observing that religious leaders are often challenged to provide peace leadership and vision that encourages and inspires believers to mutual respect, appreciation and cooperation; and,

Observing that the great powers with interests in the region are themselves challenged to provide a viable framework or roadmap for peace;

We therefore recommend and encourage governments, NGOs and faith-based organizations, to take the following steps:

Develop programs to improve Jewish, Christian and Muslim relations through dialogue and trust-building initiatives.

Ensure representation of women and youth in the search for solutions to division and conflict.

Review and revise educational textbooks and methods so that they contribute to understanding, mutual respect, cooperation and peaceful relations among the youth, the leaders and the believers of the world’s religions.

Encourage sustainable pilgrimages to holy sites.

Develop the potential of cities to be places of dialogue, cooperation and peace among people of diverse religious, ethnic, national and cultural backgrounds, especially Jerusalem, that it may fulfill its destiny to be a multicultural city of peace.

Invite the United Nations to become more engaged, perhaps through the agency of the Alliance of Civilizations, in the promotion of interfaith and inter-civilizational dialogue in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

Stimulate local and regional public and private sector authorities to promote economic development, investment and job creation in impoverished cities, villages and regions of the Holy Land.

Encourage the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority to develop a strategic plan for peace and to engage the great powers such as the USA, the EU, China and Russia in this effort.

In conclusion we, members and friends of the Universal Peace Federation, along with other organizations and institutions we work with, will focus on activities that seek to achieve the above goals, and we recommend these same objectives for consideration by the members of the Quartet, the Arab League, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority, and other relevant governmental and non-governmental entities.

Signed this day, January 13, 2015, Jerusalem

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