For Immediate Release:
April 4, 2016
Michael Mershon / Sojourners firstname.lastname@example.org
Richelle Hollingshead / RLC email@example.com
Today, several key Christian leaders, including Tony Campolo, Joel Hunter, David Neff and Jim Wallis issued the following statement:
“As followers of Jesus, we the undersigned are committed to peacemaking—to which we are called by Christ.
“It is this commitment that led us to support with enthusiasm the recent agreement signed by the United States, Iran, and other nations. This agreement requires, on the one hand, that Iran end its program to develop nuclear weapons and, on the other hand, that other nations end the embargo that has crippled the Iranian economy. This agreement carries with it many risks, but peacemaking always requires risk taking. We believe, nevertheless, these risks are worth taking as this agreement has great possibilities for making the Middle East a safer place for all of its people, including residents of Israel.
‘This kind of serous diplomacy, focused on the Iranian nuclear danger, is a better alternative than more wars in the embattled region. Many of us who supported the Iranian nuclear agreement have also made clear that there are other issues that need our continued attention.
“So we now call upon the leaders of Iran to do two important things that would greatly enhance the possibilities for peace. First, Iran’s leaders should end their regular declarations to destroy the state of Israel, and second, Iran’s leaders should recognize Israel’s right to exist. Recognizing each other’s existence and dignity is an important first step toward ending long-standing battles.
“We also ask Israel to do two critical things that would also help open the doors to peace. First, as a matter of justice and to reduce opportunities for provocation, Israel should announce an immediate freeze on all settlement building, and its openness to dismantling them through negotiations, and second, it should ease its embargo of Gaza. These acts would show good will and the intention to establish a genuine, lasting solution to this enduring conflict.
“We believe these actions by Iran and Israel are needed preconditions for further peace negotiations, and peace is among the highest values of three of the world’s greatest religions, which were birthed in this part of the world.