December 4, 2001
His Excellency David Ivry
Ambassador of Israel
3514 International Drive
Washington, D.C. 20008
I wish to express my heartfelt prayers for the many victims of the suicide bombings this weekend. On Sunday, I called these terrorist attacks "moral obscenities, which deserve universal condemnation." I enclose a copy of my remarks.
In a major statement this past June, the full body of bishops was clear about the heavy moral responsibility of the Palestinian Authority for stopping terrorism. They said: "Palestinian leaders must clearly renounce violence and terrorist acts against innocent civilians, take effective steps to stop them, and bring to justice those responsible." In October, I reiterated that the failure of the Palestinian Authority to control Palestinian violence is "intolerable."
As dim as prospects for peace now seem, we remain convinced that peace between Israelis and Palestinians is possible. There is no alternative to standing up to those who are determined to thwart the peace process. I fear that the nature of your government's military response will only strengthen the opponents of peace. The Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel must find a way out of the current violence and resume serious peace negotiations based on respect for the legitimate rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.
Assuring you of my prayers for a just and peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I am,
Bernard Cardinal Law
Chairman, Committee on International Policy
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops