Meditation Focus # 27

Building up Peace in the Middle East

Web posted on November 24 for the 2 consecutive weeks
beginning Sunday November 26, 2000


What follows is the 27th Meditation Focus suggested by the Global Meditation Focus Group for the two consecutive weeks beginning Sunday November 26, 2000.


1. Summary
2. Special notice
3. Meditation times
4. More information on this week's Focus


After weeks of escalating violence in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, there is a possibility that both sides are now realizing not only that violence breeds only more violence but that the price to pay for not making peace is much too high and thus are considering once again how they could get back to start working again together to build up the conditions leading to peace and a reasonably satisfying settlement to their dispute. With all the bitterness and anger generated by the spate of violence they have inflicted upon each other, the souls of these two proud people now urgently needs all the assistance that can be offered through prayers and meditations from all men and women of goodwill and peace from around the world to help heal the psychic wounds they have suffered and put them back onto the path towards peace and harmony. Peace in the Middle East, and indeed for the whole world is most urgently needed if we are to focus our global attention on the many other urgent crises our world is facing with the looming threat of environmental havoc because of all the abuse our planet is taking at our hands. If the people in the Balkans are now finally able to start building a future of peace and justice together despite the years of savagery they just went through, there is no reason why the people in Israel and Palestine could not do just the same after taking the proper steps to stop the chaos of violence and restart the peace process until a satisfying conclusion for all parties involved is reached.

Please dedicate your prayers and meditation, as guided by Spirit, in the coming two weeks to help create in the hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters in Israel and Palestine the shining desire to heal their relationship with each other, forgiving all that went wrong and forging ahead towards true peace, sincere love and complete harmony within themselves, with each other and with the rest of the world, for the Highest Good of All.


After a lull of 2 weeks in our issuance of Meditation Foci, we are now considering a number of possibilities to both diminish the number of issues we are to recommend to your attention so as to achieve a higher positive impact on each situation considered by extending our global healing work for a longer period, and to offer everyone interested the possibility of actively participating to specialized task force groups that would choose a hotspot or a critical environmental or social issue to focus on continuously, on a weekly basis, until enough evidence of progress is achieved before considering another issue to focus on. This new approach would be more participatory in nature and would open new avenues to facilitate the resolution of targetted issues with a better acknowledgement of the long term involvement required to properly assist from the spiritual side of life into the fruitful evolution of our world towards an Age of Enlightenment and peaceful harmony.

We will come back soon to you with more details on this and will seek your comments and inputs through a Global Survey aimed at evaluating how participants to this global healing work assess the overall value of this initiative so far as well as the methods and forms of presentation of our material up to now. We will also invite you to become directly involved in an Advisory Group we would like to create so as to enable more people to take an active role in shaping the issues we recommend to everyone's attention and the very future of this Global Meditation Focus Group. Your personal collaboration will be vital for this survey and the other avenues of participation discussed above if we are to succeed in contributing positively as a global spiritual community towards a better future for all Life on Earth.


i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes.

ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

These times below are currently corresponding to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:

Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage 7:00 AM -- Los Angeles 8:00 AM -- Denver 9:00 AM -- San Salvador, Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 10:00 AM -- New York, Toronto & Montreal 11:00 AM -- Halifax, Santo Domingo, La Paz & Caracas 12:00 PM -- Montevideo, Asuncion * & Santiago * 1:00 PM -- Rio de Janeiro * 2:00 PM -- London, Dublin, Lisbon, Reykjavik & Casablanca 4:00 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris & Madrid 5:00 PM -- Ankara, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Athens, Helsinki & Istanbul 6:00 PM -- Baghdad, Moscow & Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Tehran 7:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta & New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur +12:00 AM -- Seoul & Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington * +5:00 AM

+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time. * means the place is observing daylight saving time(DST) at the moment


This section is for those who wish to understand in more detail the situation of this week's Meditation Focus. For those who wish to read on, we would encourage you to view the following information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision you wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of healing. We provide the details below because we recognise that the knowledge of what needs healing can assist us to structure our awareness to maximise our healing effect.


Israelis, Palestinians hold surprise meeting at border crossing
No word on results; diplomatic activity on rise
(November 23, 2000)

EREZ CROSSING, Gaza (CNN) -- A high-level meeting between Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh and Tayeb Abdel-Rahim, the secretary general of the Palestinian Authority, took place on Thursday at Erez Crossing, hours after an Israeli soldier was killed at the spot in a gunbattle with Palestinians.

Neither official spoke with reporters after the meeting, but further meetings -- between Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and U.N. Special Envoy Terje Roed Larsen -- took place Thursday, before Arafat's trip to Moscow for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

In a CNN interview following his talk with Arafat, Larsen said the meeting was encouraging. They talked about the need for "some confidence building measures to halt the current cycle of escalation. Second (we) need to restart political dialogue, and thirdly and lastly, we need to begin to address the underlying causes -- mainly the final status issues, which are issues of Jerulsalem , refugees, land, security, etc," Larsen said.


Arafat reportedly ready for resumption of talks

The explosions and killings appeared to further damage the stalled Mideast peace process, even as Arafat -- who called the Hadera bus attack an "act of terrorism" -- signaled he may be ready to return to peace negotiations. Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami said he was told by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that she had spoken to Arafat and that he wanted to resume deadlocked peace talks.


Diplomacy surges after latest Mideast violence
(November 24, 2000)


Economic squeeze takes its toll

The economic squeeze Israel has placed on Palestinian areas may be prodding Arafat in his diplomatic initiatives. U.N. Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen told CNN his meeting with the Palestinian leader dealt with the acute fuel, food, medicine, and work shortages faced by Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. "The situation is increasingly desperate and completely counter-productive," Roed-Larsen said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami said he was told by Albright that Arafat wants to resume peace talks. "It could be that there is a certain signaling of distress and a desire to get out of this cycle," Ben-Ami said. Arab governments on Thursday pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians.


More than 270 people -- the majority Palestinians or Israeli Arabs -- have been killed since the latest round of violence began on September 28.


Israel Won't Retaliate for Car Bombing
(Friday November 24)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel decided on Friday against launching retaliatory attacks for a deadly Palestinian car bombing and top officials from both sides met to explore ways to pull back from confrontation, government sources said.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak's security cabinet, holding its second session since the car bomb attack killed two Israelis in the northern town of Hadera on Wednesday, opted not to order strikes on Palestinian targets at this stage, the sources said.

``It decided instead in principle how to respond to various political and military scenarios,'' one of the sources said after the late-night meeting ended early on Friday. The source quoted Barak as saying that Israel was continuing its efforts to bring almost two months of bloodshed to a halt.

Israeli political sources predicted Barak would steer the ministers away from a strong military response, fearing an international backlash and a hardening of Palestinian positions on resuming a peace process shattered by the wave of unrest.


Arafat And Albright Confer By Telephone

Nabil Abu Rdainah, a senior adviser to Arafat, said Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (news - web sites) had telephoned the Palestinian president on Thursday and urged the warring sides to exercise restraint. Israeli media reports spoke of a U.S. proposal to establish buffer zones between the Israeli army and Palestinians at flashpoints in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


Arab governments pledge millions to support Palestinians
(November 23, 2000)

CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- Arab governments pledged millions of dollars to the Palestinian territories Thursday, to help Palestinians suffering from the violence there. Saudi Arabia said it was pledging $250 million, the United Arab Emirates said it was giving $150 million, and Kuwait said it would be giving $150 million.

Senior Palestinian official Nabil Shaath said the funds would be used to help Palestinians suffering from what he called Israel's ''war against our people.'' ''Our industrial, agricultural, transport and every other sector is in absolute jeopardy and at least 1.5 million people are absolutely without jobs, without support,'' Shaath told reporters on the sidelines of an Arab League meeting of Arab finance ministers. Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, who was at the Cairo meeting, told ministers that ''Israeli aggression'' on the territories he governs had left 365,000 Palestinians unemployed. He said that 122,000 of those were Palestinians who had worked in Israel but were ''expelled.''


Analysis: Peace in retreat (22 November, 2000)

Israel does not want to appear weak by withdrawing

The road to the next possible full-scale war in the Middle East is still long and uncertain. But the first tentative steps in that direction have been taken, with the withdrawal of the Egyptian ambassador from Israel and the decision by the Jordanians to delay the dispatch of their new envoy to the Jewish state.

All of a sudden, the stakes have been raised and key channels of communication have been removed.
The shadow of a new Middle East conflict has appeared because of radical changes on the ground in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. No longer is it a case of a spirited popular uprising meeting a stern military challenge. The battle between the Israeli army and the Palestinians is taking the form more and more of undeclared warfare.

Increasingly, out of a sense of desperation and frustration, ever harsher retaliation is being meted out in differing ways by each side to punish the acts of violence committed by the other.

Extreme alternatives

The most alarming aspect of the diplomatic action taken by Egypt and Jordan is that it underlines the degree to which the hostilities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are being conducted in a political vacuum.

Any hope of reviving the Oslo agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, or any other aspect of the Middle East peace process, seems to have disappeared. Only a radical solution seems on offer. "Either Israel will go in and reoccupy all the Palestinian territories," an Arab diplomat in Cairo said. "Or Israel will withdraw completely. There is no other option."


What is missing, therefore, is the middle ground - the scope for compromise. The absence of Egyptian and Jordanian diplomats from Israel merely underscores the fact that dialogue seems to be less and less of an option.

But the breakdown in the diplomatic process does not necessarily imply war. Rather, with the stakes rising so dangerously, the United States and the international community may yet conjure up some so far elusive measures to stop a further and more dangerous escalation of the crisis. But if not, then the gradual drift towards war could be difficult to stop.

Gerald Butt is Gulf Editor of Middle East Economic Survey

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