Saturday, April 19

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Former President Jimmy Carter is meeting with Hamas officials this week. Ehud Olmert, the current Israeli Prime Minister, could not find time to meet with him. Another Israeli official, Shimon Peres, met with Carter but made it clear that he 'reprimanded' Carter for meeting with Hamas officials. The US government considers Hamas a terrorist organization and refuses to speak with them officially. I do wonder though: what has ignoring Hamas accomplished? There are different schools of thought when it comes to dealing with rogue governments or parties; some argue that they shouldn't be awarded the privilege of speaking with Western, democratic governments, arguing that meeting with their representatives somehow validates their actions. Others think that speaking with them is the only way to involve them in the political process, which can be used as a tool to help moderate them. The thinking is that if they are involved in the process, they have more to lose by not 'playing by the rules' of the process.

Either way, these can be secondary concerns for us as citizens of a different kingdom. Jesus told us to love our enemies; I think that Carter is doing that now. He told us to work for peace; I think Carter is doing that as well. It seems that there is a much better chance of bringing peace to this place if we involve all the actors. Anyone familiar with Middle East politics will acknowledge that without involving Hamas, no lasting peace can be forged. Here, views of Carter are drastically different depending on who you ask. Some skew him for being willing to even talk to Hamas; others applaud him for recognizing that Hamas needs to be included in any lasting agreement.

From here, we continue to hope and pray for peace. Speaking with your enemies seems to us closer to Jesus' teachings than ignoring them, and we hope that as we follow his teachings we can bring his kingdom in to the world.

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