By Marc Gopin
War has been made holy by the families of Abraham, and the monotheistic religions of those families, for many centuries. But, argues Marc Gopin, peacemaking was made holy too, through a variety of cultural and religious practices that have been virtually overlooked by scholars and activists alike. In fact, the tragic use of religion in perpetuating and inflaming the Palestinian/Israeli conflict represents only one understanding of the great Abrahamic traditions. New readings, withequally ancient roots, are now emerging, and their authors are gathering more courage to bring them before their respective communities. Marc Gopin here presents and examines these exciting new readings, and argues passionately for a far greater integration of Middle East peace processes with thereligious communities of the region. The religious peoples, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, must become a part of new paradigms for coexistence between Israelies and Palestinians. And these new paradigms must include the unique ways in which monotheistic peoples develop social relations, heal old wounds, and transform enemies into allies. Drawing on his own personal experience with religious-based peace initiatives in Israel and Palestine, Gopin writes movingly of the individuals and groups thatare already attempting such reconciliations. It is imperative, he says, that an alliance be forged between secular and religious methods of peacemaking. The combination of these methods, Gopin believes, will yield a rich and creative model for the reconciliation of ancient enmities among Jews,Christians and Muslims.