The situation is difficult in Israel, in the Palestinian Territories, in Jerusalem. It is easy to chip up and segment the country, the region. To speak of “occupation” or at least it is trendy, it may not be that forward. What kind of war is going on, this can be also quite difficult to put a word, an adequate term or name. On the other hand, there are human beings everywhere. The week has been harsh, full of hardships. There are young people both sides. In some regions, e.g. in the North, in Haifa and other places, they do know they live together or often side by side. There are facts that can be dangerous, frightful. Don’t think that the Jews alone are frightened or threatening, the Arab side is definitely not at ease with the situation whilst all kinds of “in between” communities are waiting. Some Christians would presume that having passed two millenia in the country, they have seen how the powers come and go, change, take this part of the land then the other parts and collapse and disappear… they would say they are still here. Things change. Old “paternalism” is always present and harms in return: Israelis and Arabs can make it, quite on the long term, not in one, three or ten years. It will take decades and far more in my opinion and of course I am not a prophet but not alone to feel we are to be patient over some centuries… Not kidding. On the other hand, the Old City of Jerusalem will not turn to be under “foreign” control, definitely not, nor the Temple Mount. This is the constant and responsible answer Israel can show to many nations that are embattled in their own contradictions. Colonialism is over and it has to be in the Middle-East.
Together with other “tank-thinkers” in Israel and abroad, we are convinced that the US and European Coalition AND also Russian forces will not get to a real ending of the war situation in the region. Short-term “victories”, some sort of cease-fires maybe reached and come to some kinds of agreements. The real answer will come from how the local people will re-distribute their own identities and projects to reshape the maps. This may cost a high price to some nations that think they can maintain their properties in the Holy Land as a whole, a high cost for the denominational organizations, either the traditional local Churches from the very beginning of Christendom. They know, even if each one carefully keeps silent, they are “done” the way they had lived over the ages, with internal disputes.
Here comes Islam again and facing the Christians just the way Jewishness and Israeli identity will connect and regulate the presence of the Christian people. Calls to come and visit the country as tourists or pilgrims will not really help the Christian communities on the long-term. They are present with the consent of the (Jewish) Israeli rules and regulations. There will always be a lot of Christian pilgrims – maybe far more when some Churches will open up and accept their faithful to visit Israel. Some Church representatives may think they act as “international controllers and observers” for human rights. This is also a part of the local dream: they can be in the country, it does not mean they can manage the huge turn that is coming up. It now depends on all – in particular Israel – to show how they can uplevel the standards of living for the benefit of all the inhabitants. Tonight, let’s pray for all,