December 15, 2011
Presbyterians Disagree with Gingrich Characterization of Palestinians
Presbyterians for Middle East Peace (PFMEP), a group committed to a just peace-making process, disagree with the recent comment by U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich in which he declared the Palestinian people to be “invented.” In fact, Palestinians and their forebears, like the Jewish people, have been on the land in that part of the world for as long as anyone can remember. Dismissing the legitimacy of the Palestinian people is the kind of comment/attitude that keeps this tragic conflict alive.
Peace cannot advance without each party respecting the rights of the other. The refusal of Palestinian leadership to clearly and openly recognize the right of the Jewish people to a homeland and the legitimacy of the Jewish state does nothing but foment distrust and hinder the peace process. Similarly, statements by American leaders that reject recognition of Palestinian aspirations and rights are counterproductive and in opposition with U.S. policy, which is to work toward a two-state solution.
PFMEP calls on the leaders of both Israel and Palestine to sit down at the negotiating table and work out a reasonable, just solution to this conflict that has hurt so many innocent people. No one will be totally satisfied at the end of such a negotiation. But children will no longer suffer; economies can grow; and hope for the future will be renewed. The members of PFMEP continue to pray and work for a just peace so that the peoples of Palestine and Israel will have to study war no more.