Saturday, April 26, 2008

Palestine: From Prophecies to Prophetic Principles

The conflict in Palestine threatens to destabilize world politics and embolden fundamentalist demands for religiously exclusive political states. The principle of rule of law has suffered immensely under the climate of fear that followed the terrorist attacks on the American homeland on September 11, 2001. Extremists in both the East and the West are working hard to deepen the divide, and turn a political conflict into a religious war. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is being used by the far right in both Muslim and Western countries to justify bigotry and to demonize people on the other side of the divide.

There is a dire need to use our creative imagination and to find a just and equitable solution to the conflict. The logic of “creating facts on the ground” and “might makes right” must give way to the spirit of the age, of equal dignity and the rule of law. It might be well the case that conflict might continue to play itself out until complete victory or complete defeat is achieved. But this would definitely be a tragic moment, as it would signal the triumph of force over morality and rationality. It would be a tragic moment, because by then, the conflict would have created overwhelming misery on all sides that no human being would be willing to contemplate.

The solution to the conflict must not be based on Jewish, Christian, or Muslim prophecies that would only inflame hate and mistrust among the followers of the three religious traditions. I should, rather, be based on the prophetic principles cherished by the three religious traditions. It must be based on the shared committed to the sanctity of human life, and the universally accepted principles of equal dignity, freedom of religion, democracy, and the rule of law.

Will prophetic principles triumph over self-styled and self-fulfilled prophecies? I am tempted by my own faith in the power of transcendental principles and values to answer in the positive. I do, however, equally believe that the answer to the question hinges on the actions of members of the communities of faith. I do hope that people of reason and deep faith do privilege the clear principles demanded by their religions and international conventions over vague prophecies interpreted by fallible and rationally limited and emotionally charged human beings.

To read the full article, titled "Elusive Peace: 60 Years of Pain and Surffering," please click on the link below: