Jerusalem (Fides) – Take immediate steps to end violence and restore security cooperation, rebuild reciprocal confidence, return immediately and unconditionally to meaningful negotiations. A call has been made on all those who advocate peace in the Middle East, Palestinians, Israelis, people all over the world to support a Fast for Peace beginning on March 25 until the goal is reached, to convince the Israeli and Palestinian governments to stop all forms of violence from both sides, to return back to the negotiation table and implement the Mitchell Plan.
The initiative begins with the spring holidays of Easter and Passover, and at a time when there is pressure from the United States and the European Union to resolve the conflict. It will take place at the Bethlehem check-point between Bethlehem and Jerusalem and wants to be a demonstration of unity being organised by a group of Jews, Muslims and Christians.
The Fast for Peace has been planned by Prof. Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University; Father Raed Abusahlia, chancellor of the Latin Patriarch Jerusalem; US born Linda Livni, a writer from Jerusalem. Other organizers are Prof. Dan Bar-On, Ben Gurion University; Dr. Philip Veerman, Defense for Children Israel; Samil Taha, Palestinian businessman and Prof. Avraham Sela of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In a message welcoming world wide adhesion, the organizers say "we believe that until this conflict is resolved none of us are free. The Fast for Peace is our method of demonstrating our desire to change direction, to return to the promise of peace and bring a speedy end to our suffering". They conclude by saying "Let our message be clear: we are starving for peace". "We are happy to see the recent proliferation of peace activities as these are the voices of peace which we hope will continue to grow until the melody echoes throughout the world."
Meanwhile the Israeli peace movement Peace Now, after carrying out an investigation, says that since the election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in February 2001, in the West Bank 34 new areas for Jewish settlements have been identified. (Fides 22/3/2002)