(Naim) Ateek Proposes Ecumenical State: Palestinian Suggests `Shared Land'

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Ottawa

A prominent Palestinian theologian says that a good starting point to achieve peace in the Middle East would be for all sides to accept that the land is God's gift to all people -- Palestinians as well as Israelis.

Canon Naim Ateek, founder and head of the Sabeel Ecumenical Theology Centre in Jerusalem, told an audience at St. Paul University that a shared land could lead to an ecumenical state embracing two nations -- Palestine and Israel -- and three religions -- Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

"The only peace that can endure is that based on U.N. resolutions, international law, and an inclusive theology of the land," Mr. Ateek said. His presentation was one of several talks he gave during a recent tour of five Canadian cities.

Describing the tour as part of his own non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, he appealed to North American Christians to support peace and justice. "You live in a democratic state. You can help us by lobbying your government to help the international community construct a lasting peace that recognizes the dignity of the Palestinian people," he said. …