In Why Religion Matters, Huston Smith argues for the importance of having and articulating a worldview. “Life’s problems press so heavily on us that we seldom take time to reflect on the way our unconscious attitudes and assumptions about the nature of things affect the way we perceive what is directly before us.”
Sharonism, the Gaza pullout and the birth of Kadima, the new Israeli centrist party, are expressions of an evolution in internal Israeli thinking, just as the political victory of Hamas is an expression of an internal evolution of Palestinian thinking in response to corruption and lack of progress. Taken by themselves, these are healthy evolutions. The problem is that none of these developments evolved in conversation with the enemy next door. There is no peace without conversation, secret or public, nor will there be realistic internal debate that will yield peace or coexistence with enemies.
Before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict plunges even further into its cycle of violence, we should pause to examine one day in July when peace almost broke out. After weeks of intense discussions, diplomats from the European Union and the U.S.
A popular Middle Eastern joke insists President Bush’s recent speech on a Palestinian state was delayed for a few days, waiting for a translation from the original Hebrew. The joke reflects Arabic anger that U.S. policy is driven by what the current Israeli leadership thinks is good for Israel.
The most distressing reality for Americans observing the Middle East is not the deadly struggle between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. What is most distressing, and even chilling, is the fact that no candidate for the U.S. presidency dares to display any awareness of the Palestinian perspective.
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