.- The establishment of "just and lasting peace" between Israel and Palestine would probably mean more to Christians in the Middle East than to "most," said the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. In a letter to members of the order, Cardinal John Foley asked for prayers for the success of the negotiations.
Cardinal Foley voiced his hope for renewed negotiations for peace in the Middle East in a message sent to 26,000 members of the order, according to the Italian bishops' SIR news agency, which reproduced his words in part.
Admitting that the prospect of establishing a peace deal "do(es) not look very promising," he noted that "the very fact that such talks are under way is encouraging.
"All in the Middle East would profit from a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine – but our fellow Christians there would probably profit more than most, since more of them could remain in the land made sacred by Jesus Christ," he wrote.
U.S.-backed negotiations for a peace accord in the Middle East began between Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Washington D.C. on Sept. 2. The two sides will continue to meet every two weeks in an attempt to reach a compromise establishing sovereignty for the Palestinian state and security in Israel.
Concluding his letter, Cardinal Foley asked for prayers for peace in the region, particularly in the Holy Land, for the success of the current negotiations and for the "spiritual fruitfulness" of October's Synod for the Middle East in the Vatican.
The next round of talks between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders is set to take place from Sept. 14-15 in Cairo, Egypt.