I frequently speak to church groups about pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I speak as a pilgrim, but the conversation often turns to politics. Inevitably someone will ask about our denomination’s position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. There’s no simple answer.
An established interfaith group is in danger of disintegrating as major American Jewish groups and prominent mainline Protestant churches differ over U.S. aid for Israel—a long-standing argument that the group was established, in part, to diffuse.
In Jordan, reports are mixed as to just how good relations are between the Muslim majority and the Christian minority. What's clearer is that the stronger divide is between native Jordanians and the many Palestinian refugees.
The two locals we spent the most time with, our tour guide and our bus driver, represent both differences.
A two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine crisis has been growing more and more distant. Prospects suffered yet another blow last week when a government commission in Israel recommended that all Israeli settlements in the West Bank be declared legal.
One of the few things Western observers of the Middle East tend to agree on, regardless of whether they lean toward the Israelis or the Palestinians, is that Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad has done an excellent job as administrator of the Palestinian Authority.