Tension ran high this week between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a plan to expand settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Britain, France, Sweden, and Germany all criticized the plan and urged Israel not to move ahead with construction. Israel’s moves come following the Palestinians’ successful campaign to be recognized by the United Nations as a state. As both sides ratchet up the rhetoric, some government officials wonder if the new developments have made further peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials impossible.
It’s worth remembering that God’s care, protection, and guidance extend to each of His children -- regardless of nationality, geography, or a history of (or absence of) conflict. And no matter where in the world you live, you can play a role in finding a solution to Israeli-Palestinian tension by praying. Prayer is a powerful, active response to situations like this. It allows everyone involved to drop prejudice and fear, and paves the way to solutions that bless everyone -- maybe even fresh solutions that haven’t yet been considered.
“An ‘Abigail approach’ for Israel and Palestine” shows how those interested in resolving conflicts in the Middle East can find a lesson in the story of Abigail, who mediated a seemingly intractable dispute between her husband Nabal and the future king David. Abigail and David each responded to a spiritual message of peace and humility, and this same message can reach those on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today.
“Untying the settlements knot” focuses on how prayer can play a role in mediating land disputes, especially where the West Bank and East Jerusalem are concerned. The author explains how we can think about “home” in a more spiritual sense -- as the recognition that God has boundless room and love for His children, which allows us to see beyond a view of territory capture and recapture that causes displacement and fighting over “home.” God also gives mental independence, humility, and integrity to all those seeking a solution to the conflict.
Peace between Israelis and Palestinians can seem impossible, especially since the religious and cultural roots of the conflict go so deep. But the power of prayer goes deeper still, dissolving resistance and gently leading those involved to a healing solution. God’s care for His creation, including Israelis and Palestinians alike, knows no bounds.