Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in the latest round of violence
between Israeli Jews and Arab-Palestinian Muslims?

In case you haven’t followed what’s been going on in the Mideast, the
latest conflict between Jews and Muslims involves who should and should
not control a gaggle of holy sites in Jerusalem.

Jews claim them (and Israel controls all of the region), but Muslim
Palestinians also claim a part of those shrines and want unfettered
control over them and access to them.

Both sides are right. Both have legitimate claims. But by fighting
each other for them, both are wrong. Killing each other on sites that
have been called the most holy of all sites is the worst insult to God
and faith in general.

I understand that after decades of violence, counter-violence, and
wars many people in the region have been so scarred emotionally that
they may feel it is impossible to reconcile differences with “the other
side.” They’re wrong.

I, too, have felt that kind of bitterness before — as we all have —
but with faith in God and in His ability to influence our lives, this
kind of irrational refusal to compromise, forgive and heal can be
accomplished. We were created with minds and the ability to make
choices; thus far, Jews and Arabs have made a boatload of bad

Is it not in the Jewish and Muslim faiths to forgive?

Do Jews and Muslims believe in a god that tolerates — even
sanctions — violence and war as a means towards solving one’s

I don’t think so; Jews and Muslims are peaceful people, so it is
troubling to see them so often warring among each other.

You may disagree and you have that right, but I pity anyone who
believes that fighting is the only way to settle the problems
inherent to the Middle East. I know with certainty, through my own
Catholic faith, that God isn’t “happy” about wars and killings being
committed ostensibly in His name over sites that are supposed to be
shrines to Him.

Martyrs are not “martyred” for religious causes when they are killed
for particularly non-religious reasons; instead, they just become
secular statistics — mere numbers on casualty lists and keep getting
longer and longer, with victims getting younger and younger.

How utterly stupid.

There are times when a people must fight — to defend themselves, to
protect themselves, or to ensure their own survival. But honestly, I see
none of that at stake in the Mideast. I do, however, see every reason
for Israel to compromise with the Palestinians and give them the access
they are demanding. I also see every reason for Muslims to, in turn,
renounce any and all future violence against Jews.

If these two groups are the rightful heirs of the Mideast’s most
religious sites — and both of them are — then it’s time for them to
end the hypocrisy, mend fences, and get on with their lives. God wants
both groups to live, not kill each other.

The Almighty doesn’t sanction wholesale slaughter over dubious
unilateral claims to sites ostensibly enshrined on His behalf. You don’t
have to be the Prophet Mohammed to figure that one out.

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