Bishop Kikanas on urgent need for peace in Holy Land

2012-01-12 Vatican Radio

Bishop Gerald Kikanas of Tucson, Arizona will be returning from a pilgrimage of North American and European bishops to the Holy Land with a message for the U.S. Congress: do more to ensure the success of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

Bishop Kikanas, who is also chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services, was in Jerusalem as part of the Holy Land Coordination group’s annual fact-finding tour of the region that ended Thursday. He told Philippa Hitchen that despite disappointment over renewed, Jordan-brokered peace negotiations, we as Christians “can’t give up hope” in a dark situation.

Kikanas points to the growing polarization of provocative conservative elements of society and the more moderate voices as a worrying trend and says peace now has assumed greater “urgency.”

“It’s important for the international community to encourage and challenge the partners here, Palestine and Israel, to open negotiations as begun in Jordan and to seriously find a way to a resolution to this issue that has been so prolonged in its effort to try to reach a solution. Because negotiation is clearly the only other alternative. The alternative to negotiation would be renewed violence and that would be tragic for all the people here in the Holy Land.”

Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s interview with Bishop Kikanas: