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Church leaders appalled by violence in the Holy Land

 The Presidents of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland made the following statement yesterday: As Presidents of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, we are saddened by the stark contrast between the Bethlehem of our carols and the violence of the Holy Land today. We are appalled at the new levels of violence, whether perpetrated by Palestinians protesting against occupation or by the Israeli Defence Force. We affirm the right of the Palestinian people to their own national leadership, stand with the European Union in its continued support for the Palestinian Authority and call for an end to actions designed to undermine is effectiveness and the position of its Chairman, Yasser Arafat. We reiterate our belief that peace and security, for both Palestinians and Israelis, can only be achieved by political processes. We therefore call for a return by all parties to the Mitchell Principles - End the Violence, Rebuild Confidence and Resume Negotiations. Signed The Rt Rev Mario Conti (Bishop of Aberdeen Roman Catholic Church in Scotland) The Rt Rev John Neill (Bishop of Cashel Church of Ireland) The Rt Rev Barry Rogerson (Bishop of Bristol Church of England) The Rev Nezlin Sterling (General Secretary New Testament Assembly) Sr Eluned Williams (Methodist Church, Wales) Churches Together in Britain and Ireland co-ordinates the work of its 33 member churches and liaises with ecumenical bodies in Britain and Ireland as well as ecumenical organisations at European and world levels. Its work includes Church Life, Church and Society, Mission, Inter Faith Relations, International Affairs and Racial Justice. It provides a forum for joint decision-making and enables the churches to take action together.