The general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Rev. Olav Fkyse Tveit, has said the recent agreement reached between two Palestinian movements, Fatah and Hamas, holds not only the hope and promise for a healing process within the Palestinian community but also creates the atmosphere for a seeking “a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Israel/Palestine.”

“The signing of this agreement, for an interim unity government and fixing a date for a general election in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2012, is a significant milestone and promise to forge a Palestinian consensus for lasting and just peace in the region,” Tveit said in a statement released May 10 from the WCC offices here.  

The statement comes in advance of the WCC-sponsored International Ecumenical Peace Convocation, which is being held in Kingston, Jamaica, May 17-25. Some 1,000 participants from around the world will gather for a week to discuss and explore the role of the church and religion in peacemaking.

Tveit said the Palestinian agreement comes at a significant moment in the Middle East region as it is a “time when historical trends of regional political changes are propelling new political paradigms.”

Tveit also called on the international community not to allow this opportunity to be squandered. “To realize the goal of just peace in the region, the international community now has the challenge and responsibility to accompany this process,”' he said.

“'The international community must also assume a proactive and positive role in guaranteeing the agreement be kept alive actively discouraging any external conditions that may cause a breakdown.”'