2010-04-02 / Columnists

The Progressive

By John Paul Culotta

At this spring season of renewal and hope, we reflect on our religious roots. Passover and Easter are holy days of hope, joy, and renewal. We gather with our loved ones and remember the truth that all people desire justice, peace, and security. Our religious narratives may not be similar and yet all people feel a basic need to enjoy the creation with a dignified and rewarding life. All men are brothers we declare and yet we behave as if we are Cain and Abel.

It is also a time many of us reflect on the land from which originated the three major western religions. Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Jordan, Syria among others are part of most of our common spiritual heritage. We are all sons of Abraham. It is troublesome that so much conflict, pain, and sorrow exist in the region. It is also troublesome that to many of us we see only violence and conflict as a solution to security and land for either party in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

A few weeks ago I was in my car and on National Public Radio there was an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man promoting peace between there prospective clans. Both lost beloved sons in their fraternal conflicts. The Israeli woman begged people not to be pro-Israeli or pro- Palestinian but to be pro peace. It is amazing to me when I hear the litany of chronological complaints that each side has about the other. Their choosing of violence, segregation, and denial of common humanity will only lead to destruction, death, and may lead to international war.

How do we achieve peace? First, we must recognize our commonality. We should speak for all. In the Middle East many Christians are being forced to leave and also face discrimination and harm because many people in the region feel they are allied to the west which has benefited from the resources in the area and ruled as colonial masters in the past. Israel is also considered part of a western conspiracy to control the region. Too many governments in the west are not highlighting the persecution Christians incur. Israel is also inflaming the Moslem populations with acts that are less than conciliatory and recently Vice President Biden was forced to take Israel to task because of their unfor-tunate actions. We also are aware that international Moslem terrorists can use the unresolved conflict with Palestine as a recruiting tool. This is dangerous for the entire world. Peace must be the objective for all western governments.

If we want peace we must have justice, security, and prosperity for both the Israelis and their brothers the Palestinians both Christian and Muslim.

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