Searching for a Mideast Peace

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Searching for a Mideast Peace

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The Balfour Declaration (1917), the British document that formed the basis for an upsurge of Jewish immigration to Palestine, stated that nothing should be done with regard to a (potential) Jewish national home that might be detrimental to ethnic communities in the area.

Though often scarred by violence and bloodshed, words of peace have periodically been uttered during the 20th century. British historian Sir Martin Gilbert summed up the undergirding thoughts: "At its heart Zionism had striven for a hundred years for the recognition of its legitimacy by the Palestinians. The many conflicts before and after 1948, often marked by harsh and cruel actions, could not hide the basic imperative, that a way had to be found for the Jews and Arabs of the small strip of land running between the Mediterranean area and the River Jordan to find a way for each other's right to live and prosper" (Israel: A History, 1998, p. 560).

Not long before falling to an assassin's bullet, Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin appealed to the Palestinians at the White House: "We are destined to live together, on the same soil in the same land ... We harbor no hatred towards you. We have no desire for revenge. We, like you, are people who want to build a home, plant a tree, love, live side by side with you-in dignity, in empathy, as human beings, as free men ... Let's pray that a day will come when we all will say, 'Farewell to arms.'"

This clarion call for peace will be answered only by the arrival of God's Kingdom on earth. Then, in the words of the prophet Micah, "He [Jesus, the Messiah] shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid ..." (Micah 4:3-4). GN