Two peoples, three faiths, one Holy Land

Palestine and its neighbor, Israel, make up what is known as the Holy Land, where the origins of Christianity, Judaism and Islam are found, and where Jesus Christ ministered.
Peace in the Holy Land has been difficult as Palestine and Israel have been engaged in a violent conflict over disputed territory.
United States and religious leaders across the world, along with Mariana and A.J., have expressed support for a permanent two-state solution.
Recently, Pope Francis made national headlines when he traveled to the Holy Land, most notably praying at the controversial Israel-built separation wall in the West Bank.
At the Pope’s invitation, Israeli President Shimon Peres and the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas joined the pontiff at the Vatican on June 8 to pray for, and make a commitment to, peace between the two neighbors, although the governments are still not officially communicating.
Last January, the pope stated that the “resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians is a positive sign, and I express my hope that both parties will resolve, with the support of the international community, to take courageous decisions aimed at finding a just and last solution to a conflict which urgently needs to end.”
In a March 2014 letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; and Bishop Richard E. Pates, chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace, affirmed the U.S. bishops’ stance of supporting a “secure and recognized Israel living in peace with a viable and independent Palestinian state. We recognize the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples and three faiths who share this land that is holy to us. We affirm the religious freedom of Jews, Christians and Muslims, especially to access their Holy Sites in the Holy Land.”

– Peter G. Sánchez

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