Archbishop Bernardito Auza, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, told the UN Security Council in a July 12 debate that the time to make peace between Israel and Palestine was long overdue.
Archbishop Auza said the Security Council should accept the recommendations made on July 1 by the Quartet on the Middle East, the foursome of the UN, the United States, the Russian Federation and the European Union founded in 2002 to work toward peace in the Middle East.
“The time is long overdue to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has become increasingly unacceptable as it has become increasingly intractable,” the archbishop said. He called for the full implementation of the UN General Assembly’s Resolution 181, which called for the creation of a Palestinian state almost 70 years ago and has not been fulfilled.
Archbishop Auza also echoed the Pope’s denunciations of nations that simultaneously call for peace and supply weapons to parties involved in the conflict. He said that providing funding and weapons to non-state actors was especially harmful to civilians.
The archbishop also called for religious understanding and Track II diplomacy in resolving the conflict. Track II diplomacy entails informal discussions between non-governmental parties like religious leaders to increase dialogue and build confidence between nations.
“As a cradle of great civilisations and the birthplace of the three main monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the Middle East has the cultural, intellectual and religious resources that make it a fertile ground for civil society and track II diplomacy, including faith-based ‘informal diplomacy,'” Archbishop Auza told the Security Council.
He said that for informal diplomacy to work, religious leaders must work for peace in a time when terrorists use religion as justification.
“The more religion is manipulated to justify acts of terror and violence, the more religious leaders must be engaged in the overall effort to defeat the violence that attempts to hijack it for purposes antithetical to its nature.
Spurious religious fervour must be countered by authentic religious instruction and by the example of true communities of faith,” the archbishop said.