|[Ecumenical News International] Jerusalem --A group of Christian and Jewish leaders from the United States has pledged to work together towards Middle East peace despite disagreements over issues such as Israel's West Bank barrier and divestment.
The 16 Jewish and Christian leaders made the visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories to calm tension created by disagreements over recent decisions by a number of mainstream Protestant groups in the United States.
Several Jewish groups described the decisions to re-examine investments in companies seen as helping Israeli occupation as well as criticism of a barrier to separate Israelis and Palestinians as being one-sided and anti-Israeli.
The delegates said after their five-day visit that it had succeeded at strengthening ties and proving that "Christians and Jews can work together to seek peace even when there is disagreement on specific policies and solutions".
"As a result of these days," delegation members said in their statement, "we will now be even more effective advocates for a secure, viable and independent Palestinian state alongside an equally secure State of Israel."
The Jewish delegates included leaders from the American Jewish Congress and the Anti-Defamation League, which has been particularly critical of decisions by prominent US Protestant denominations including the Presbyterian Church (USA), the US Episcopal (Anglican) Church and the United Church of Christ.
The Christian delegates included leaders from the US National Council of Churches, the Presbyterian Church and the Alliance of Baptists.
The delegates undertook to mobilise their religious communities as well as ordinary people to support the establishment of a Jewish and Palestinian state side-by-side in peace.