CAPE TOWN, Nov. 9, 00 ( - Because
Christians, Jews, and Muslims see the Middle East as the
"Holy Land," the South African bishops' conference (SACBC)
called for peace talks to end the conflict on Thursday.

Archbishop Wilfrid Fox Napier of Durban, SABCBC president,
said, "The present impasse in the peace process needs a
fresh concerted international effort to re-establish trust
between the parties to the conflict. The restoration of a
climate of trust is crucial to the resumption of dialogue."
The SACBC urges governments to seek international mediation
via countries or persons acceptable to the parties in the
Middle East in order to restore confidence in the peace

Moreover, the bishops demanded that the South African
government cease approving arms sales to the Middle East.
"As an honest broker, the government cannot promote
peaceful negotiations on one hand, and make weapons
available to the warring parties on the other," they said.
The group Human Rights Watch recently issued a report
entitled, "A Question of Principles: Arms Trade and Human
rights", in which it denounces South Africa for announcing
restrictions on the arms trade, but failing to enforce its

The bishops of South Africa concluded with a call for an
end to the use of "excessive force by the Israeli
military," withdrawal from the occupied territories, and
recognition of the Palestinians' right to
self-determination. They also asked the Palestinian
authorities to recognize the right of Israel to exist
within secure borders and in terms set out by the United