"We will work for a future where the lives, dignity and rights of both Palestinians and Israelis are protected and respected," declared the bishops.
They insisted that all religious leaders, including themselves, must be more courageous and responsible in their positions of leadership.
The civil leaders of the countries that make up the Holy Land "need to summon the will and find the ways to take courageous steps for justice and peace" and leaders of other world nations have "inescapable responsibilities" to bring it about.
"We pray that the Lord may indeed give strength to his people and bless his people, all his people, with peace, especially in the land we all call holy," they stated.
Using the words of Christ himself, the bishops urged people to "Come and see," making pilgrimages to Holy Land sites.
In the joint statement, they encouraged people to continue visiting both for their own benefit and for that of the local Christian community. As the disciples were changed by going, they said, "our time in the Holy Land has changed us as well."
The names of nine bishops from places like England, Albania, Iceland and Canada were on the document. Not physically present for its release was the U.S. representative, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, who left early because of the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson.
In an interview with Vatican Radio on Jan. 13, Auxiliary Bishop William Kenney of Birmingham, England said he was "very happy" with how the meetings went this year."
"We've learned an awful lot about the relationship of the local church to various institutions within society, which has been very useful," he said.
The "most pressing need" for people there at the moment is for peace, he said. Following the meetings, Bishop Kenney thinks that all of the bishops have "a renewed sense" that more contact with governments and Israeli ambassadors in their respective countries is necessary.
He also said that publicity is important, "to make people aware of the situation here and that crying need for peace so that ordinary people can live their lives."
(Story continues below)
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