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Bishops want border open

The head of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops called this week for an immediate end to Israel's closing of the occupied territories. In a letter to Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres, Archbishop William Keeler of Baltimore, the NCCB president, said the U.S. Catholic Church is concerned about the impact of the closure on the life and work of the Christian community in the territories. Many Palestinians living in the territories, seized by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, are Christian and depend for their livelihood on jobs in Israel. Keeler's letter was sent as a new round of Middle East peace talks opened here Tuesday. Israel closed down the border between itself and the territories shortly before Easter, arguing that the closure was necessary for Israel's security interests.

_ Religious News Service

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