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Where is God in all of this This Holy Land often seems anything but holy Incitement blinds both Muslims and Jews with hatred of the other bumper stickers on some Israeli cars read No Arabs no problem while hard-line Palestinian demonstrators call for the end to the Jewish State How can these peoples be reconciled in the midst of so much hatred Thankfully we believe in a God who can calm storms heal incurable diseases and raise people from the grave Nothing is impossible but all is tainted by our sin Reconciliation begins first with the admission of wrongdoing--on both sides Both Judiasm and Islam teach tolerance The Quran repeatedly demands that Muslims respect the other people of the book--Christians and Jews followers of the other two monotheistic religions And the Torah commands When an alien resides with you in your land you shall not oppress the alien The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you you shall love the alien as yourself for you were aliens in the land of Egypt I am the Lord your God Lev 1933-34 NRSV Christians also have an important role in this conflict Many religious groups advocate for unequivocal support for Israel based on the violence perpetrated against it and on historical and religious understandings and misunderstandings At the same time they decline to question the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and the hijacking of Palestinian lives Instead we must discern right from wrong with prayerful and compassionate consideration While participating in the Middle East Studies Program through Calvin College I had the unique opportunity to examine the wide spectrum of viewpoints both historical and current in this conflict The other students and I were not presented with a right way of thinking but instead were asked to formulate our own opinions based on study briefings discussions and prayer I decided after my initial experience here to
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