President Donald Trump's proposed Mideast peace plan deserves "serious consideration," but "the Israelis and the Palestinians are the only ones who can resolve the differences and agree on a common resolution to the chronic impasse," said a representative of the U.S. bishops.
"While acknowledging the significant role the United States plays, these principals must negotiate directly with each other with the support of the international community, that they may find a fair compromise, which takes into account the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples," said a letter from Bishop David J. Malloy, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace.
The letter, dated Feb. 3 and released the following day, reiterated the U.S. bishops' and Vatican support for a two-state solution to the issues in the Holy Land.
"Intrinsic to a fruitful discussion is the necessity that each state recognizes and supports the legitimacy of each other," it said. "The future peace and flourishing of life in the Holy Land depend on such a mutual recognition that calls for concrete steps in mutual counsel and collaboration, before the fundamental agreements can be achieved."
The United States and others who want to help "must do so as contributors to strengthen bilateral agreement between the two principal entities. As such, we are concerned 'Peace to Prosperity' makes propositions without these requisite conditions being met," it said, referring to the plan.
When it was released in late January, Catholic leaders in the Middle East said the plan endorsed "almost all" the demands and the political agenda of the Israelis while ignoring the demands of the Palestinian side. They called it a "unilateral initiative" that did not give "dignity and rights" to the Palestinians.