God Has Already Spoken
As direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are launched this week, it will be critical that the talks address the religious dimension of the conflict. This has been given only scant attention thus far, despite the fact that it has, and will continue to have, a tremendous impact on the ultimate outcome of the negotiations. Religious radicals – both Jewish and Muslim – seek to transform the Israeli-Palestinian dispute from a territorial and national conflict to a religious one, fueled by the conviction that God bequeathed the land exclusively to one faith. It is a view that prevents rational discourse between the sides and leads to the conclusion that agreeing to a two-state solution to the conflict would be tantamount to defying God's will. However, it is time that leaders on both sides – with the assistance of the United States – begin to challenge those who purport to seek God's will to consider that Jews and Muslims may be intended to share the land after all.