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Is peace possible between Israel and Palestine? 

ISRAEL-PALESTINEUnless we can bring peace to the Holy Land then we will find it very difficult to bring peace anywhere else in the Middle East or to the rest of the world says Revd Philip Young.

 

Many of us are horrified by the loss of life in the area and particularly the loss of life and injury of so many civilians and children in Gaza. How can we possibly tolerate the bombing of schools and hospitals that we have witnessed over the past days?
 
We should mourn the loss of every person who dies as a result of this conflict. Every person who dies is special. Every person lost is one too many.
 
We need to press the politicians in the Middle East to stop this madness and to call an immediate ceasefire. We need the international community to put pressure on all sides to come to the negotiating table and speak peace to one another.
 
However nothing at all will change unless we have a radical change of heart on the part of those on both sides who are bent on using violence as a solution.
 
The change of heart needed is for every person living in the Holy Land to be seen as a holy person. This indeed could make all the difference.
 
Imagine killing a ten-year-old child. You are killing a holy person. That person more than likely has a mother and a father still alive. That person may have brothers and sisters. That person should have had a longer life and it has been cut short by a deliberate act of violence. What has been committed is an act of terror. A beautiful and holy person has been killed. Don’t tell us that this life was worth the sacrifice to bring about peace. That does not make any sense. This holy life has been violated by an act of violence.
 
We need to see each person as holy and wholly valuable. This has to be the starting point for any peace process. The Israeli soldier who is killed is also holy and wholly valuable.
 
If we begin to value each person then violence and killing become impossible.
 
It is also the only way forward in any peace process. Each person living has to be respected and loved. Each person is holy and valuable. If we lose the belief that human life is sacred then we become less than human and we start mistreating people. We may even start treating them like animals to be herded and pushed about. (Not that we should be mistreating animals, but that is another matter).
 
Unfortunately the people of Gaza are being treated like animals with very little respect for their living conditions. This has to change. For some of the frustrated people of Gaza to react by sending rockets into Israel is no solution.  It just gives an excuse for Israel to target Gaza and so the tit for tat continues and both sides treat human life cheaply.
 
But my point is that there are no sides. Just people who need to learn to live which each other in peace. We must help all people, whoever they are, so that they are able to live and to flourish together.
 
So please can we stop the tragedy of using violence. Each life lost is a tragedy. Let us all work together for peace.
 
We are one family and we need to live with love and respect for each other.
 
To bring peace to the Holy Land we must see each person there as holy and wholly valuable.
 
 
Philip Young June 2014
Rev Philip Young was Norwich Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Church of England from October 2012 until July 2014. He is also a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and a member of the Third Order of Franciscans (TSSF). He has decided to concentrate on spending his time writing on spiritual and political matters. He is available to give talks, presentations or to preach and can be contacted at philipyoung@btinternet.com 
 
 

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