On the day that Arab countries are to bring a resolution calling for a “State of Palestine” to the UN Security Council in New York City, the Arab countries surrounding Israel are filled with fighting factions. IS, ISIL, Islamic Jihad, tribal killings, the numbers are staggering, even if one considers just Syria and Iraq.
Contrast to the scene in Jerusalem, Israel, where the Israeli President hosted a group of Christian religious leaders.
At this annual traditional reception to mark the civil New Year, a red carpet was rolled out at the official Presidential residence to greet the guests. At the event, President Rivlin said:
Over the past months, we have been greatly concerned, by the on-going religious persecution and restrictions on freedom of worship for minorities in the Middle East. Because of their faith hundreds of thousands are being exiled, forcibly converted, attacked, and brutally murdered. This is a war against extremism. A war, being waged against those who want to spread a message of freedom of worship and coexistence, by those who carry the flag of destruction and hatred.
This is a cause of great worry and pain for all us. We share the Psalms of King David, the words of the Prophets, and a love for Jerusalem, and the Holy Land. As we know, we are all created in the image of God. As the prophet Malachi wrote, “Do we not, all have one Father? Did not one God create us?” We will continue to live together, and build bridges of peace, here, in the land of our fathers.
May we all, Christians, Muslims, Jews, children of Abraham, together with all those of different faiths, see the fulfillment of the vision of the prophet Isaiah, that “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, and no longer learn war. Let 2015 be a year of partnership and friendship. Let it be a year of understanding and mutual respect. I wish you all a peaceful and happy New Year.
The sun was shining as the clergy left, with some slowly walking away and down Hanasi Street.
Nearby in the Liberty Bell Park, a Muslim man was bowing down to pray on the grass, as two Israeli police officers watched quietly, sitting on a bench a respectful distance away.
Would it be great if in 2015, Israel would see a bit of friendship, understanding and respect? Mahmoud Abbas knows a state is unrealistic.
Now how do we get the world to wake up and see what is really happening?
UPDATE: 1:00 Israel time
Resolution did not pass, President M Abbas may now continue to play his tragic, long suffering lead role.