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U.S. supports instability in the Middle East.
Religious dialogue, outreach, apology,
and cooperation
during 2018:

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2018-SEP-17: United States removes U.S. hundreds of millions of dollars from Middle East peace programs:

In an apparent effort to preserve unrest and violence in Israel and Palestine, the Trump Administration removed money that had been allocated for various Middle East peace projects, including:

  • $10 million for peace programs between Israel and Palestine,
  • $25 million to fund hospitals in Palestine,
  • An unknown amount for UNRWA, a United Nations refugee agency that supports Palestinians, and
  • $200 million for humanitarian and development help in the West Bank and Gaza.

A U.S. embassy official said that the money had been reallocated to programs between Jewish and Arab Israelis and "high priority projects elsewhere."

Tim Rieser, a foreign policy aide to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), said:

"Senator Leahy regards the decision to cut off funding for the West Bank and Gaza as a sign that this White House has failed at diplomacy.

This is not a partisan view. It’s the view of those who recognize that you don’t advance the cause of peace by cutting off programs that are designed to promote tolerance, understanding and address shared problems." 1

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2018-OCT-08: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders call for a Peace Caravan to Israel:

Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Alissa is the secretary-general of the Muslim World League. He suggested that leaders from all three main Abrahamic religions travel to Jerusalem in what he called a "Peace Caravan." He said:

"They should be Muslim, Christian, and Jewish, and they should visit all the holy sites. They should meet everyone and find common ground, and they should provide fertile ground to find solutions for peace. ... They will be more influential without a political agenda because they are independent. ... This visit is not from Saudi Arabia. It comes from the Muslim world, the Christian world, and the Jewish world. It has no relevance to any country whatsoever. ... The chief role of this conference is to keep extremists from taking any advantage of any intellectual holes that they can use to promote their extremist ideologies and have the opinions of well-established scholars [suppressed]. The extremists are not happy with this conference. We encourage civilized dialogue with the United States, and this does not make the extremists happy. We are here to thwart this extremism."

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive president of the New York Board of Rabbis, agreed, saying:

"Peace can’t be reached by more fighting. Palestinians are not going anywhere, and Israelis are not going anywhere, and therefore a way has to be found to allow these two peoples to live together."

Marwan Faouri, secretary-general of the Global Forum for Moderation said:

"The peace caravan can help bridge the hate gap that exists on both sides."

Michael Coppotelli, the associate superintendent of schools in the Archdiocese of New York signaled his desire to include the next generation in the effort. He remarked:

"“We need to find a way to train children so that they can fill the caravan for peace. This can only be done through education." 2

Webmaster's comment (bias alert):

I feel that this is a superb idea. People in the region will see Jews, Christians and Muslims being able to cooperate together on a common peace goal. I also feel that the Peace Caravan would be even more successful if it included representatives from other main world religions, like Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. and persons of no organized religion, like Agnostics, Atheists, and Deists.

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2018-OCT-10: World Center for Dialogue launches Islamic-Jewish council to fight extremism in Europe:

The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz World Center for Dialogue in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has organized an Islamic-Jewish council to promote coexistence and oppose religious extremism. The initial meeting was held on OCT-08, with the participation of the European Council, the Municipality of Amsterdam and a number of international institutions. 3

The themes of the agenda included:

  • The Dutch model of coexistence;
  • The protection of the religious practices of our societies, in Europe;
  • The experience of Muslims and Jews, in Europe, with followers of other religions and cultures;
  • Challenges and obstacles; and
  • The best ways to promote solidarity among communities and achieve common goals.

The Center hopes:

"... that the Islamic-Jewish Council (IJC) platform will become a sustainable and just milieu for joint action to promote Muslim and Jewish humanitarian co-operation and cooperation: to promote humanitarian co-operation and improve cooperation between Muslim and Jewish European communities and their relationships with European political and religious orientations." 4

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "U.S. Slashes $10 Million from Israeli-Palestinian Peace Program," Christian Headlines, 2018-SEP-17, at: https://www.christianheadlines.com/
  2. Scott Slayton, "Leaders from Three Major Religions Call for 'Peace Caravan' to Israel," Christian Headlines, 2018-OCT-08, at: https://www.christianheadlines.com/
  3. "Saudi Arabia's World Center for Dialogue launches Islamic-Jewish council to fight extremism in Europe," Arab News, 2018-OCT-10, at: http://www.arabnews.com/
  4. "World Center for Dialogue Co-found Islamic-Jewish Council, in Europe, to Counter Extremism," Saudi Press Agency, 2018-OCT-10, at: https://www.spa.gov.sa/

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Copyright 2018 vy Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted on: 2018-OCT-10

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