The Holy Land: Reconciliation for the common good

"No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear." Edmond Burke, 1775 British statesman and scholar. In his argument before Parliament, Burke sought to temper the Imperial power of King George III and end...

“No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmond Burke, 1775 British statesman and scholar.

In his argument before Parliament, Burke sought to temper the Imperial power of King George III and end the standoff with the American colonies. It was time to end the fears on both sides and allow “reconciliation for the common good.” The Imperial said “No!” Fast forward some 240 years and we see the same refusals to allow “reconciliation for the comnmon good.” Now 21st century”No” is again endemic not only within our own goverment but also between our ally Israel and Palestine, and in the larger Middle East nations with the ISIS challenge. Today’s new voices for revolution in the Middle East. Africa, Latin America, and Asia differ, but still call for Burke’s prescient admonition. The current “downtime”in the ceasefrre negotiations and forced Intervention between Israel and Palestine,is an ideal opportunity to intentionally focus on how to foster reconciliation for the comnmon good. If “the fences” in the Holy Land can be taken down there is new hope for our primordial “peace on earth.” In a recent hour-long TV interview on PBS, Moshe Ya’alon, Defense Minister of Israel after his visit to the UN Assembly said, “We cannot trust the Arab-Muslim world including ISIL.They refuse to allow us to exist as a nation. It is their policy” to detroy us.” It has become more clear to Israel that there is resentment regarding the ever expanding economic, political, and military power of Israel and its western world view allies. The Muslim world

can not compete with the education, scientific-technical expertise and global production and marketing advantage. The greater Muslim world is thus severely disadvantaged in terms of modernity and relies more on the moral superiority of the one true God, Allah of the Muslim Quran. Extreme jihadists resent their lack of western type weapons and justify all measures to get them. The underlying concept here is anger and loss of national esteem in dealing with the new globalization and westernization of economics, education, health care, military power. Thus the “ West” is now primarily dealing with the disparity in most regards between the global “haves” and “have nots.” What are some “here and now” steps to build bridges to close this poverty gap in the Holy Land. How can this be done without raising historic security fears expressed by the Israeli Defense Minister?

Category # 1 would be to consider some way to obtain justice reparations awards for loss of homes, livelihood, land to the displaced Palestine citizens. This would require some form of organization and funding from other nations and individual donors. Similar multifunded projects were part of the US Marshall Plan after WWII in Europe and similar to past and present Native American Reservations members. The current Intervention Task Force could obtain that authority. Also in this category include building of schools, Tech schools, health clinics, recreation venues, housing projects, business developments and infrastructure items as roads, sewage and water, parks, libraries, more public transportation options. Many of the above could be readily tied to new opportunities for people to people reconciliation and common good outcomes.

Category #2 -Expand the K-12 , Tech and higher education to include curriculum on diverse cultures,languages,and history. This would include teachers, staff and administration from other cultures and religions. Sports teams would schedule other schools in different parts of the Holy Land. Urban and rural schools and organizations would have shared work projects and retreats and travels/exchanges to other parts of the Holy Land, Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the United States.


Category #3- Involve both within the HolyLand and external specialists groups, to engage participants in training for reconciliation. A prime example would be the University of Minnesota, Center for Restorative Justice and PeaceMaking. They have teams that do small group and nation healing and reconciliation. (They have done projects in Northern Ireland, and the Middle East.) There are also such teams from the World Council of Churches, The United Nations World Refugee Center, The Arab League. This is just a starter list available. The many colleges and universities in Israel and Palestine can expand their curriculum to include more Muslim ,Jewish, Christian and world faith programs.

Category #4. Many Non-Profit International Community Service organizations

have local and national chapters in the Middle East including Palestine and Israel. Even today joint teams of Jews and Muslims are rebuilding Gaza. There are already Rotary Clubs in Israel (48) and Palestine (6) who can have outreach programs to involve reconciliation people to people common good projects. Add to this global level units of Lions, Kiwanis, Jaycees, Women of Today, Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Clubs, 4H, Volunteer Fire Groups, Food Banks, Boy and Girl Scouts, League of Women Voters. All of these and far more stress service for their community and leadership training and global perspectves on world peace. Yes, there is an awesone opportunity to build an inclusive lasting model of hope, aspirations, and peaceful progress for this 21st century.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein

“We grow great by dreams.” President Woodrow Wilson

(Tom Faix is a retired Marine Corps Reserve officer and semi-retired college educator and consultant who lives in Detroit Lakes.)

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