Issues: Middle East

What does "Faithful Citizenship" say about the Middle East?

"Leadership on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an especially urgent priority. The United States should actively pursue comprehensive negotiations leading to a just and peaceful resolution that respects the legitimate claims and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians, ensuring security for Israel, a viable state for Palestinians, respect for Lebanon's sovereignty, and peace in the region." #88

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (November 2007)

For more, see Catholic Social Teaching on Middle East

What does the Democratic National Platform say about the Middle East?

"For more than three decades, Israelis, Palestinians, Arab leaders, and the rest of the world have looked to America to lead the effort to build the road to a secure and lasting peace. Our starting point must always be our special relationship with Israel, grounded in shared interests and shared values, and a clear, strong, fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy....

"It is in the best interests of all parties, including the United States, that we take an active role to help secure a lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a democratic, viable Palestinian state dedicated to living in peace and security side by side with the Jewish State of Israel. To do so, we must help Israel identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability, and stand with Israel against those who seek its destruction. The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel's right to exist, and abides by past agreements. Sustained American leadership for peace and security will require patient efforts and the personal commitment of the President of the United States. The creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel. All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949. Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths."

What does Barack Obama say about the Middle East?

"I believe that the Israelis want peace, and they want security. And oftentimes, in the midst of achieving security, there have been times when there's no doubt that Palestinians have been placed in situations that we wouldn't want our own families to be placed in.

"Israelis have been killed. They've got bombs flying into their territories right now. And we would expect them to act appropriately in defending themselves.

"So when I look at the situation in the Middle East -- and this is true in other conflicts around the world -- the question I ask myself -- and this is where I do think faith comes in -- is, is there a way for us to reconcile the claims of both sides of the conflict in a way that leads to resolution and a better life for all people?

"And that, I think, is something that can be achieved, but it's going to require some soul-searching on the Palestinian side. They have to recognize Israel's right to exist; they have to renounce violence and terrorism as a tool to achieve their political ends; they have to abide by agreements. In that context, I think the Israelis will gladly say, "Let's move forward negotiations that would allow them to live side by side with the Palestinians in peace and security."

"But, you know, we are so far from that right now, partly because, when your brothers or sisters have been killed in a suicide bombing, when you feel that you've been oppressed or treated unjustly, it's very hard to get out of that immediate anger and seek reconciliation.

"And that's where I think faith can inform what we do: Faith can say, forgive someone who has treated us unjustly. Faith can say that, regardless of what's happened in the past, there's a brighter future ahead. And that's the kind of faith that I think has to inform, not just our international policies, but also domestic policies, as well." Sojourners Presidential Forum, June 4, 2007

Friday, August 1, 2014

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"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."

Inaugural Address, President Obama


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