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Diaspora communities can help with peacemaking, Jewish leaders tell Abbas

JTA

January 17, 2012 | 10:45 am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem on December 25, 2011. Photo by REUTERS/Majdi Mohammed

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem on December 25, 2011. Photo by REUTERS/Majdi Mohammed

The presidents of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and Latin American Jewish Congress expressed hope for progress in Middle East peace at a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Latin American Jewish Congress President Jack Terpins described the positive experience of Arab and Jewish communities’ coexistence in Latin America, where they often live side by side harmoniously, during a Jan. 15 meeting in London. He said it was a model that should be replicated everywhere in order to lower tensions.

The Jewish leaders emphasized the urgent need for a permanent solution to the conflict in the region and underlined the role Jewish and Palestinian communities in the Diaspora can play.

“Jewish and Palestinian Diaspora communities have a role to play in fostering better understanding,” WJC President Ronald Lauder told Abbas.

Terpins added, “Peace, unlike war, cannot be declared unilaterally; it has to be agreed between the parties. Both communities in the Diaspora, Jewish and Palestinian, must work together to achieve a better understanding.”

Also present at the two-hour meeting was Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian Authority negotiator.

“Reaching peace with one’s neighbors is part of Jewish yearning, and I am convinced that better cooperation between Jewish and Palestinian communities around the world can help to build the peaceful future both our peoples want,” Lauder said.

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