Letter to Prime Minister Harper on Israël and Hamas

Monday, January 26 2009

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Most Rev. V. James Weisgerber, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), urges Canada to help foster the necessary dialogue to allow lasting peace in the Gaza Strip.

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

It is with relief that we welcome the news of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.  As the break in hostilities remains fragile, we ask the Government of Canada to use all diplomatic means necessary to encourage both parties, as Pope Benedict XVI has urged, to “take up the thread of dialogue in justice and in truth.”

Such dialogue can only take place if a climate of confidence and respect is established between the different parties.  Negative prejudices, perceptions founded on hate filled ideologies promoted by certain groups on both sides, as well as a constant looking back on problems of the past serve only to maintain a spirit of frustration and vengeance, leading inevitably to an impasse.

Canada can seize this unique opportunity to remind the concerned parties to negotiate in the spirit of the Oslo Accords, signed in 1993, and to ensure Israel’s right to live in peace and security and the right of Palestinians to live in a viable and internationally recognized state.

We encourage you to play an active role in the initiatives proposed by members of the international community so that the populations affected by the conflict may return to a way of life that will completely restore their dignity.

Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for the attention that you will give to our request.


Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber
Archbishop of Winnipeg
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops