Armenian Jerusalem
This project has been supported by the Gulbenkian philanthropic Foundation, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and members of the worldwide Armenian community. Reproductions of the genealogical documents [domar’s] are courtesy Photo Garo, Jerusalem. Copyright © 2007 Arthur Hagopian

Leading figures among the Armenian and Greek Orthodox ecumenical

movement in the US have joined a pride of other leaders of Christian,

Moslem and Jewish religious and lay organizations and institutions, pledging

to mobilize support for peace in the Middle East.

            Armenian   Archbishop   Vicken   Aykazian,   the   Director   of   Ecumenical   Affairs   for   Armenian Orthodox   Church   in   America   Father   Mark   Arey,   the   Director   of   the   Office   of   Ecumenical Affairs   for   the   Greek   Orthodox   Archdiocese   of   America,   believe   time   is   running   out   for   both Israelis and Palestinians.             The   loose   umbrella      of   the   US   National   Interreligious   Leadership   Initiative   (NILI)   for   Peace in   the   Middle   East   ,   which   includes   Theodore   Cardinal   McCarrick,   Archbishop   Emeritus   of Washington,   Imam   Mohammed   Magid,   President,   Islamic   Society   of   North America,   and   Rabbi Peter    Knobel,    Past    President,    Central    Conference    of    American    Rabbis,    warns    that    the possibility   of   a   two-state   solution   to   the   Israeli-Palestinian   conflict   was   waning,   and   urged "immediate,   sustained   U.S.   leadership   before   darkness   falls   on   the   hopes   for   a   peaceful resolution."            Among   the   other   leaders   are   Kathryn   Mary   Lohre,   President,   National   Council   of   Churches of Christ (USA) and  Richard Stearns, President, World Vision US.             Aykazian   was   in   Jerusalem   last   week   to   participate      in   the   elections   for   a   new   Armenian patriarch   and   had   been   one   of   the   contenders   for   the   position,   and   had   he   won,   his   voice would   have   carried   further:   the   Armenian   Patriarchate   of   Jerusalem   is   one   of   the   three Guardians   of   the   Christian   sanctuaries      in   the   Holy   Land.   The   other   two   are   the   Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and the Catholic (Franciscan) Custodia.             The   group   believes   the   most   viable   solution   to   the   Arab-Israeli   conflict   is   a   two-state agreement   that   provides   for   a   secure   and   recognized   Israel   living   in   peace   alongside   a   viable and independent Palestinian state.             "With   the   support   of   the   international   community,   Israelis   and   Palestinians   can   achieve   a lasting peace.  A new dawn is possible," they said in a statement they released.          Mourning   the   lives   lost   and   shattered   during   the   recent   violence   that   gripped   the   region, the   group   warned   that      what   had   been   seen,   over   the   past   years,   "will   keep   happening   if movement towards a viable two state-solution continues to stagnate."             As   things   stand   now,   "the   status   quo   is   unsustainable   and   dangerous   to   both   Israelis   and Palestinians,"    they    conceded,    but    stressed    now    is    not    the    time    for    "another    cycle    of recriminations.  It is time to break the cycle of violence with bold initiatives for peace."             "The   current   dangerous   stalemate,   including   the   legacy   of   past   failed   peacemaking   efforts, undermines   our   security   and   that   of   others,   destabilizes   the   region,   fuels   terrorism   and extremism,   allows   continuing   Israeli   settlement   expansion,   and   prolongs   Palestinian   disunity.           These   realities   and   the   absence   of   negotiations   threaten   to   kill   the   prospect   of   a   viable   two- state peace agreement, the only realistic solution to the conflict," they said.             They   urged   strong   and   determined   action,   proposing   a   peace   of   the   brave,   because   as people of faith, "we proclaim that we should never underestimate what is possible."             "We   know   the   challenges   are   daunting,   but   we   believe   a   bold   new   initiative   for   an   Israeli- Palestinian   peace   settlement   should   be   an   immediate   priority   of   the   new   [US] Administration in   2013.      We   fear   the   opportunity   for   a   peaceful   resolution   is   rapidly   waning   and   the   current stagnation encourages the rejectionists on both sides," the statement said.            They   noted   that   the   US   "has   unique   leverage   and   credibility   in   the   region"   and   that   no   past progress   towards   peace   has   occurred   in   the   Arab-Israeli   conflict   without   U.S.   leadership, facilitation or staunch support.               "Once   again,   we   need   active,   fair   and   firm   U.S.   leadership   to   help   break   the   current deadlock and to achieve a two-state peace agreement now before it is too late," they added.             They   pledged   to   mobilize   the   strong   support   that   exists   in   churches,   synagogues   and mosques across the US, in the push for peace.             "Twilight   is   upon   us;   but   the   hope   for   a   new   dawn   remains.      Let   us   together   bring   the   new light of hope and work for negotiations leading to a final status agreement," they added.