Some might call this hope naive... others might call it intolerant. I call this hope Truth and Truth should be pursued with vigor and persistence, no matter its cost, no matter the reaction.
Salim Munayer is the Executive Director of Musalaha:
Musalaha is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians as demonstrated in the life and teaching of Jesus. We endeavor to be an encouragement and advocate of reconciliation, first among Palestinian and Israeli believers and then beyond to our respective communities. Musalaha also aims at facilitating bridge building among different segments of Israeli and Palestinian societies according to biblical reconciliation principles.
Philosophy of Reconciliation:
The history of the Middle East is a study in conflict, a chronicle of conquerors and pilgrims, of prophets and saviors. The realities of our current situation are complex religiously, socially, politically and spiritually, and still we greet one another with the word “peace.” Is it possible for those Palestinians and Israelis who desire to remain true to their Palestinian or Israeli identity, history, and nationality, to also live as neighbors free of hostility, bitterness, and fear?These questions are part of the struggles that Israeli and Palestinian believers must also face. Reconciliation has become a central issue within the body of the Messiah here in the land, and believers are being compelled to deal with it on many different levels. Nineteen years ago, Musalaha (which means reconciliation in Arabic) was established by Salim J. Munayer, PhD when he acted upon his vision to see true peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Since then, an executive board of an equal number of Palestinian and Israeli community and church leaders have led this ministry of reconciliation in taking steps twoards overcoming these mountainous obstacles. It is our belief that Christ’s death and resurrection are the foundation of reconciliation, and that forgiveness and healing can only come through following His example and obeying His word. We hope to emulate and teach Christ’s model of forgiveness, mercy, and love, breaking down the walls of enmity that so easily embitter and ensnare.Do read the rest of what's found at the link. It's intriguing, it's interesting, it's truly the only hope that remains for a lasting peace. Yes, I wrote it, I believe it, I stand by it.
Christianity Today has published a letter written by Mr. Munayer in the wake of the recent violence in the region:
What we see is that individuals who have been active in Musalaha for more than 2 years are writing statements to each other, such as the following:
"Brothers and sisters in Jesus, In this time of trials and tribulations, let us not lose sight of what Jesus came to the earth to teach us. And that is Love. The greatest power that conquers all. Only God's love can teach us how to love and forgive our enemies, even if they trample you under their feet. ... I pray that the Lord shows all of us what love really means through His eyes and that He brings comfort to those with shattered hearts. Much much LOVE to everyone!" – Deborah Holtz, Israeli participant
"Hi brothers from the other side of the wall, are we both doing the same mistake, by watching and listening to the media that is making us look only at our people? I hope not, for I have done that, and look at me making sure only my people are doing well and praying for them. For I am sorry that I am doing that, and I am sending the message over the walls with no rockets attached to tell you I pray for you and for the people in Israel and for you leaders as well and same for mine. Let's all step out for the light that we have needs to be shine in these dark moments. – Saleem Anfous, Palestinian participant
Our women's coordinator in the Palestinian Authority also wrote to her former classmates from the Tel Aviv University in Israel telling them she was praying for them.
We understand that this is another cycle of violence that doesn't solve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. We see a difference between now and the reactions of people from 2009, including from our staff.
People are weary of the price on human life from both sides and the pain it causes. The escalation in violence only brings more pain, hurt and revenge, but people are aware of the ulterior motives in this new cycle of violence.
Many of our Israeli participants are living in areas where rockets are landing and many of our Palestinian participants have family members in Gaza so it is very personal and traumatic.
There is a sense in the country that we are stuck and that we are not moving forward. This is a time for us to bring a new paradigm for both the believing community of Palestinian Christians and Israeli Messianic Jews, and also the entire country. We hope and pray that people will listen and respond to this new paradigm.
Salim J. Munayer, Phd
It's a cause worthy of prayer.
H/T to Frank Weathers.