WASHINGTON, (March 21, 1997) -- Recent actions raise questions about the role of the United States as an honest broker in the Middle East peace process, according to one U.S. Archbishop, who today urged clear American leadership in reviving the negotiations.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick of Newark (NJ) today urged that "everything must be done to advance the peace process and nothing to undermine it."
As chairman of the U.S. Catholic Conference's International Policy Committee, Archbishop McCarrick expressed "deep concerns over recent developments in the Middle East and the grave threat they pose to the very fragile and vulnerable peace process."
"The U.S. veto of the Security Council resolution on Har Homa and your recent reticence on the matter raises questions about the U.S. role as an honest broker in the peace process," Archbishop McCarrick wrote the Secretary. "Unless the U.S. leads in establishing genuine respect for the interests of both sides, no negotiation can expect to result in a just and lasting peace."
He called particular attention to the question of Jerusalem's status and noted that the position of the USCC mirrors that of the Holy See: 1) an equitable solution based on negotiation, in which 2) the parties acknowledge the universal religious significance of Jerusalem, 3) guarantees for the rights of the three religious communities in the Holy City on the same level, and 4) further assures those rights with wider international agreement.
He said the decision by Israel to build settlements at Jebel Abu
Ghneim/Har Homa was "particularly disturbing to us because of its
effects on the Christian population" in three nearby towns.
Archbishop McCarrick said construction would effectively cut off
those three towns and damage their future economic