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Palestine, Pain, and Peace

Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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Some days, I read about the pain, and just pray and wonder. Can any good follow? Sadness fills the Middle East, especially Palestine, where Christ walked, taught, died, and was raised. Here Christians, Jews, and Muslims live – and die – together. The sadness is deep, even for those who try. Yet in sadness seeds of hope often lie.  

In 1898, a poet named Richard Watson Gilder penned a collection of poems, entitled “In Palestine.” His poems trace his travels, faith, and want for peace.

The first poem, like his book, is called “In Palestine.” He describes standing on the Mount of Olives, as later my feet did – where Christ stood, seeing what Christ saw.

“At last, the very land whose breath he breathed, the very hills his bruised feet did climb! On this Mount, he stood, as I do now…with the same surprise, into the startling blue he gazed, same quick human wonder struck his holy vision …Something within me trembled. This picture once was mirrored in his eyes.”

So, 125 years ago, as in centuries before his poem, people pondered the region’s meaning, a giant hand reaching out, hopeful but never closing, on a lasting peace.

In his poem, Gilder says what we might say: “This troubled country, troubled then as now, wild and bloody… this is His own land.” The irony was palpable.

Here is where the greatest hope of Mankind touched down, where Heaven and Earth met, where God Himself walked among us. Here is where the fiercest religious convictions ever held lived and live, and yet … no peace.

For those who think this is just about faith, maybe it is, perhaps peace always involves faith. But there is more to all this. There is science, too.

Recent, credible, genetic, incontrovertible studies show local Christians, Jews, and Muslims across the region are – beyond the “Blood of Abhram,” almost cousins. The data is all out there, profound, provocative, and hard to disavow.

Thus, one study: “Investigations based on binary Y chromosome polymorphisms suggested a common origin for Jewish and non-Jewish populations living in the Middle East,” and a “recent study of high-resolution microsatellite haplotypes demonstrated that a substantial portion of Y chromosomes of Jews (70 percent) and of Palestinian Muslim Arabs (82 percent) belonged to the same chromosome pool.” Imagine that.

Does it matter? Should it? Yes, perhaps it does and should.  It demonstrates how sadness works, how division is seeded, rooted, and grows – of human making, two children born and swapped at birth more alike than different, yet … no peace.

So, in all the sadness, where is the hope? You may say, “Fine, human differences have torn the region apart, religious differences shredding it now, but where – in all of that – is hope?” The question is timely, and it answers itself.

A region with so much intensity, so much to protect, so much history and blood in common, so much passion for being right, cannot be forever defined by hate. This region, where Christ walked and taught, revered by all faiths, cannot be left to rot.

If there is anywhere a history of struggle and hope, transcendence, and rising above what pulls us down, going from hopelessness to something far better, it is here.

So, what needs to happen is about hope and faith in a time of darkness, resurrecting faith in what is possible, the belief that with an effort the hellish state to which Man has again reduced things is reversible; that men with differences can live in peace.

Is that so hard, hard to conceive? It has been, and sometimes is. But the goal is worth aspiring to, worth reaching out for, and trying to close upon, leaders need to do that.

Wrote Gilder: Humans are “hated, shattered, spurned .. But faith that lives forever is not bound to any outward semblance… or fear of never-ending pain. True faith doth face the blackness of despair … It loves where all is loveless; it endures in the long passion of the soul … for God.” He might have added, for God and peace.

Point: Only when things are truly dark, when hope seems nowhere, death, fear, and hopelessness abound, do we gain strength, work for the peace within; and like a person, only a region wracked can cease – to look for peace. Some days, I read about the pain, just pray and wonder.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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Jeri
Jeri
3 months ago

Could someone somewhere show me a map of Palestine, a country with borders and an established government? While I’m at it, could someone somewhere please tell me why Egypt is building a wall to keep the Palestinians of Gaza out? And, why will none of the neighboring Muslim Arab countries take in their Palestinian brothers and sisters? Clarifying the answers to these questions would go a long way in helping the world understand what is going on in the Middle East. Sincerely and anxiously awaiting some insight.

Bruce
Bruce
3 months ago

Of course they’re all related! The Bible says that. This isn’t about blood, this is about them believing Muhammad when he said to kill everyone who isn’t Muslim. Nowhere in the Bible does God say to kill, or even mistreat those who donot follow Him. Yes, Jesus walked there, but the ones who started this war are Muslim and bent on killing everyone who isn’t Muslim. THAT is why Israel must leep fighting until Hamas and their allies have no fight left in them. Biden needs to stay out of it because he cannot balance on this fence he’s on and still be right. I fully support Israel.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
3 months ago

If it weren’t for oil, no one would actually give two s-ts for the Middle East. Does Hamas build infrastructure, schools, hospitals, or markets for the people? Nope, they build miles of tunnels to attack Israel from. The only way to peace is to eliminate the threat. Not negotiate with it!

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
3 months ago

Very thoughtful writing Robert – the matter of Faith I do believe is connected to the root of many concerns mentioned in this message. My interpretation of the story of how Christ calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee symbolizes the idea of Faith being at the foundation , and from the true understanding of the value of Faith qualities such as Courage develop – and other good practices follow . To rebuild — mind , body and spirit when life has taken a change , to appreciate the power of Faith and how guidance according to the will of God flows like the strength of a river , the reverence , the sense of being part of the miracles ,part of the mysteries that help to stimulate our incentive to learn ,to understand .With Respect for the messages of Love, Truth and Hope that are gifts from God.
..

Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
3 months ago

Bomb the Palestinians into non-existence. Every since the Muslims attacked Palestine and killed all the Christians the Muslims have done nothing but attack Israel.

Bumb everything to rumble and them make the whole place and booby trapped no mans land.

Michael y
Michael y
3 months ago

flavius josephus did not exist, he’s a fictional character from a tv show, fuk flavus Josephs

John Shipway
John Shipway
3 months ago

So………how does all this chromosome talk figure in with Israels holocaust against the residents of Gaza?
How will the Israels survive now that they have lost their “pity forever” stance with THEM being the recipient of genocidal practices? That is gone now so I guess Israel will have to survive on the proceeds of……….well, scorpion ranches.

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