Meditation Focus #30

A Miracle for Peace in the Middle East

Web posted on January 5, 2001 for the 2 consecutive weeks
beginning Sunday, January 7, 2001


What follows is the 30th Meditation Focus suggested by the Global Meditation Focus Group for the two consecutive weeks beginning Sunday, January 7, 2001.


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


After weeks of violence and a hardening of positions on both sides as to the future of the peace process in the Middle East, the latest initiative by President Clinton has breathed a new life in this long journey towards peace of the Israeli and Palestinian people. There is still a chance that all the peace-making efforts of these past 7 years since the first historic Oslo Accord signed in front of the White House by the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will come to fruition. But the time is preciously short for a historic compromise to be reached regarding the right to return of Palestinian refugees and the formal political status of the religious site of Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, and potentially more deadly bloodshed to be averted once a new Israeli government led by Ariel Sharon is elected as it now seems likely, according to the latest polls.

Please dedicate once again your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the next two weeks to help create the right conditions for a miracle breakthrough for peace in the Middle East to occur. Hold in your mind the vision of a continued reduction of tensions and violence in Israel and Palestine, a growing support for a permanent solution adressing all the main issues at stake and the actual signing of a peace agreement that will set the stage for a new era of peace, harmony and prosperity for everyone involved and for the entire Middle East. May peace prevail in the Middle East, for the Highest Good of All.


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.

You may want first to review our previous (November 24) Meditation Focus on this topic entitled "Building up Peace in the Middle East" at


Peace hangs on thinnest of hopes - 'A miracle' is needed in Mideast

JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak sent a diplomat to Washington on Thursday to quiz American mediators on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's conditional acceptance of a U.S. formula for a negotiated peace deal.

Gilead Sher's meeting with U.S. mediators Dennis Ross and Aaron Miller, scheduled for late Thursday, could hold the key to whether Barak reopens talks with the Palestinians in an attempt to reach a peace accord before President Clinton leaves office Jan. 20.

''We have come very close on a whole set of issues, and we are just going to keep working,'' Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said. ''But the real problem at the moment is the violence. . . . It's absolutely essential for him (Arafat) to live up to the commitments that he made to try to lessen violence and get it under control.''

Clinton's drive for Mideast peace gained new life Wednesday after Arafat said he was willing to negotiate with Israel based on Clinton's formula for a settlement. That formula would allow for a Palestinian state on about 95% of the West Bank, give Palestinians some control in East Jerusalem and sharply reduce the 144 enclaves on the West Bank in which 170,000 Israeli Jews live.

But some Palestinians demand that nearly all Palestinians who either left or were expelled from Israel in 1948 have the right to return to that country. They put the number at 5 million, which includes descendants of those who left. They also want sovereignty over East Jerusalem and a different configuration of their projected state.

Thursday, foreign ministers of key Arab countries meeting in Cairo bolstered Arafat's stand on refugees. They said Palestinians have a sacred right to return to Israel after having left a half-century ago when Israel became a nation.

''There is great concern from all Arabs -- Islamic and Christian -- about the rights concerning Jerusalem and the rights concerning the refugees, and especially the right to return,'' Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa said.

But Israeli Foreign Minister Sholomo Ben-Ami said a right of return is ''totally unacceptable, and the Palestinians understand very well that if this is a demand, it will never be accepted by Israel.''

He said it would take a ''miracle'' to produce a full deal between Israel and the Palestinians in the remaining 15 days.



Israeli Meets U.S. Mediators (Friday January 5)

WASHINGTON (AP) - An Israeli diplomat resumed talks Friday with U.S. mediators, planning to meet at day's end with President Clinton at the White House. In the meantime, Israel is set to deliver a detailed response to Clinton's framework for a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.


Arafat told Clinton at the White House on Tuesday that he accepted the president's formula, with reservations. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told reporters Thursday that Israel had reservations, as well. ``Each one has a different interpretation, and we are trying to clarify'' the proposals for both, she said.


The Palestinian leader accepted, with reservations, Clinton's framework for a settlement with Israel, promised cooperation in countering terrorism and said he would make efforts to stop the shootings, the White House said Tuesday. Clinton telephoned Barak twice Wednesday, and the prime minister responded by sending Sher to Washington to quiz American mediators on Arafat's conditional acceptance of the U.S. plan.



Elusive Mideast miracle

Yasser Arafat may have breathed faint new life into President Clinton's last-ditch Mideast peace effort during his Washington visit this week. But the ''providential miracle'' Israelis say is needed to get the process breathing on its own looks less likely by the day.

Just two weeks remain in the Clinton administration, and change is certain to complicate the delicate negotiations. More ominously, Israelis will elect a new president Feb. 6, and Ehud Barak, who has been the primary driver for peace, is trailing the ultra-hawk Ariel Sharon, who plans to scuttle Barak's peace plans.

The lone hope for reviving the process is that Arafat, having missed earlier chances, will take a step so bold and convincing that Barak can seize it and win voter support.

Arafat hasn't done that. On Wednesday, he raised hopes by accepting Clinton's rough parameters for peace talks with his own interpretations. By Thursday, though, Arafat and his Arab neighbors had balked at the Clinton proposal to set aside Palestinian refugees' right to return to Israel, the central concession suggested by Clinton. Indeed, Arafat and his entourage have yet to indicate whether there were any points at all that he'd compromise on.

Barak for his part stressed that he would not relinquish Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount -- Clinton's proposed tradeoff for a Palestinian concession on refugees.

Both are left without the political cover they need to act.

Barak has no trust-building words or deeds from Arafat that he can show the skittish Israeli electorate. It favors Sharon, even though Sharon's unnecessary and provocative visit to the Temple Mount in September set off the recent round of violence.

Arafat, meanwhile, has no cover from the Arab world allowing him to take a compromise stand on refugees or other principles.

With just 15 days remaining in Clinton's term, there's no schedule for talks even to begin. In contrast, the inconclusive round of talks at Camp David in July lasted 15 days.

All of this suggests that Clinton's clock will run out without a deal. And shortly after that, the clock will likely run out on 10 years of Mideast peace building, reviving the hostility, terrorism and anti-American passions of the 1980s.

There's an outside chance that the first few weeks of George W. Bush's presidency could produce a breakthrough. Certainly, the president-elect has been supportive of Clinton's work.

But miracles of such high order are rare, even in the Holy Land.


Right of return: Palestinian dream? (Map available)
(Thursday, 4 January, 2001)

There are more than 3.7 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East and many more worldwide - and they want the right to go home.

The Palestinians say their diaspora - uprooted from their homes ever since 1948 and scattered around the globe - is the greatest and most enduring refugee problem in the world.

Whether they will be allowed to return to the land that used to be called Palestine is, and always has been, one of the main obstacles to progress in the Middle East peace process.

During the Arab-Israeli war that followed the 1947 partition of Palestine by the UN into an Arab and a Jewish state, many Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes by the advancing Jewish forces.

The exact number displaced at that time is not known but the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) has put the figure as high as 957,000.

Approximately one third of these people fled to the West Bank, another third to the Gaza strip and the remainder to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and throughout the world.



Middle East peace: it's either now or not for a long time

Concerns about oil supply will come before Israel's needs under George W. Bush's presidency, writes Mark Riley.

There was an element of threat and a touch of characteristic boastfulness in Bill Clinton's warning this week that his latest, and effectively last, plan for a Middle East peace accord was the best Yasser Arafat was likely to see for some time.

Yet Clinton's warning did not just come out of intimidation and political vanity. What has been placed on offer may seem far from ideal to both Israel and the myriad Palestinian groups, but all the indications out of Washington are that this is as good as it is going to get for the foreseeable future.


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