"Walk the Road to Peace"
A national interfaith campaign for peace in the Middle East
On April 30, 2003, the United States announced the Road Map to Peace in the Middle East, developed in coordination with the EEU, Russia and the Office of the U. N. Secretary General. Both the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel officially accepted the Road Map, despite critical concerns and reservations. President Bush vowed to press ahead with the Road Map even in the face of violence. As of July 1 — after 34 months of deadly confrontations — a significant decrease in violence, reform within the Palestinian Authority, Israeli withdrawals in Gaza and Bethlehem, positive meetings between Prime Ministers Abbas and Sharon including their cabinets, and continued evidence of American resolve offer signs that the Road Map is developing traction.
The next several months are crucial for overcoming the bitter legacy of violence on both sides and building confidence that the Road Map can work. While polls and statements by major organizations indicate broad support for the Road Map among mainstream American Jews, Christians and Muslims, this support does not receive as much public attention as more extreme voices attacking the Road Map. In the words of the Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye, "Moderate voices have to speak more loudly. We have to shout as moderates, even though it is not our style."
Walk the Road to Peace is a sustained, programmatic and highly visible expression of moral vision and principle by American Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other religious leaders who believe working together for peace is fundamental to our faiths.
Jewish/Christian/Muslim Leadership Delegation to Washington, September 2003
- Meet with the President and key Congressional leaders to express support for the Road Map
- Help the country look forward in a positive way from the events of September 11, 2001
- Commemorate with positive action the 10th anniversary of the handshake on the lawn of the
White House between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin on September 13, 1993
- Announce the Walk the Road to Peace program
National Interfaith Sabbath for Peace, September 12-14, 2003
- Shared prayers for Peace in the Middle East, written by Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious leaders, in churches, mosques and synagogues across the nation
- Exchange visits of clergy and congregants during worship services in the different faith communitie
Release of "Cost of Peace vs. Cost of Continued Conflict" Analysis by Leading Economists, September 30, 2003
National High School Essay Contest on "Walking the Road to Peace", October 2003
- $1,000 college scholarship and trip to Washington for each of 15 winner
Publication of winning essays in local papers, religious news magazines and other venue
Week of Visits, Calls and Emails to Members of Congress in Their Home Offices, October 27-31, 2003
National Speaking Tour and Television Appearances of the "Three Ambassadors of Peace", November, 2003
- A prominent Israeli, a prominent Palestinian and a prominent former US government official
Walk in Washington of 250 Local Interfaith Walking Groups in Support of the Road Map, March 2004
- Day One: A Day of Inspiration, Dialogue and Education
- Talks by prominent Palestinians and Israelis who are working together for peace
Modeling and workshops on dialogue and cooperation
Expert briefings in preparation for visits to members of Congress
- Day Two: A Day of Action and Reflection
- Walk of 250 interfaith walking groups to the White House and the Capitol
Visits by local walking groups to their representatives in Congress and by a leadership group to the White House
Post-walk gathering to reflect on the visits and to generate ideas for local follow-up activitie
Principles for Participation
(Persons planning to Walk the Road to Peace should subscribe to the following set of principles):
- * We are American Jews, Christians and Muslims and other faith leaders who believe working together for Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace reflects fundamental teachings in our religious traditions.
* We support and take inspiration from the many courageous Israelis and Palestinians who are working together for peace both individually and in organizations too numerous to list but too little known to the world.
* We cherish the bonds many of us have with people on each side of the conflict; and we believe working for peace
requires us to listen sensitively and treat with respect voices from both sides.
* We believe peace cannot be achieved by violence but only by negotiation and active efforts at mutual understanding. We oppose terrorism and all other forms of violence.
* We unequivocally support the goal of a viable, independent Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel, with enduring peace and security for both; and we call for an immediate end to all violence.
* We support the Road Map to Peace developed by the United States in coordination with the EEU, Russia and the U.N. Secretary General; and we believe ongoing determined leadership and monitoring are needed to assure implementing actions by both sides.
* We believe progress in the extended Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from Camp David through Taba, Eygpt offers important benchmarks for mutually acceptable peace agreements.
* We Walk the Road to Peace to learn from each other and to support active, determined U.S. and international efforts to help the Arab states, Israel and the Palestinians achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace. We are committed to ongoing work to build bridges and generate broad interreligious cooperation and action for peace.
Walk the Road to Peace is co-sponsored by:
- A Different Future is a non-aligned interfaith organization of scholars, religious leaders and communications experts whose purpose is to promote peace between Palestinians and Israelis by using the full range of communications methods to amplify the voices of Arabs and Jews who are working together in mutual respect. The goal is to reclaim the public idea space from extremist elements that currently fill that space with images of hatred and violence that contribute to a sense of irreconcilable differences and hopelessness.
- The United Religions Initiative is a global interfaith organization whose purpose is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. URI membership includes 200 local, grassroots Cooperation Circles (CCs) with 25,000 members in 47 countries, including 46 CCs in North America and 7 in the Middle East. URI website currently receives up to one million visits per month.
- The U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East, founded in 1987, represents 2,500 American Jews, Christians and Muslims, including prominent national leaders of all three communities, working together based on the deepest values in the three religious traditions. The Committee arranges national and local programs of dialogue, education and advocacy in support of U.S. policies to achieve comprehensive and lasting peace between Arab states, Israel and the Palestinians.
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- Form a local interfaith walking group and register at www.walkinwashington.info.
- Urge your clergy to form an interfaith walking group
- Participate in the Interfaith Sabbath for Peace, September 12-14
- Contact your representatives to Congress during the week of October 27-31, see www.talktocongress.info for information and tips for talking to elected official
- Urge your house of worship and/or children school to support participation in the student essay competition
- Make a tax-deductible contribution to any of the sponsoring organizations (see websites for instruction)
- Questions? email or call ADF at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-974-7339, URI at email@example.com or 415-561-2300, or USICPME at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-652-4285