I’m no expert on the forever ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. I’ve read books, opinion pieces from both sides and taken an audio class all attempting to comprehend why there is so much violence in that area of the world. I’ve come to recognize two things: (1) it helps to understand the history in order to understand what motivates everyone and (2) as long as we focus only on the history, we will never move to a peaceful future.

There’s been a lot of news coverage lately about President Obama’s stance with Israel and his recent low-key meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In addition, a number of pro-Israel groups are using the opportunity to promote their agenda — calling for petition signing, writing your congressman, making donations to their organization and their putting out press releases bashing Obama’s efforts. A friend sent me an e-mail being distributed by one of these organizations asking me my opinion. Without getting into the particulars of the political issues they raised nor judging their position, I simply pointed out that their organization has a specific political agenda and the language of their e-mail was consistent with that agenda. I also pointed out that their desired solution only took into account the needs of one side and that a better solution would be one that worked for everyone.

Let me be clear here, I do not have a political agenda that favors one side over the other. If I have any “political agenda” at all, it’s to suggest that we release our old limited political positions and seek solutions that benefit all humanity.

The old path in the Middle East that has been followed for so many years is one of “win-lose” mentality. This is true, whether we talking about Israel and Palestine or any of the other middle eastern conflicts. Occasionally, there have been some minor efforts to placate one side or the other, but generally no matter what the solution, there is the appearance that one side came out ahead. This old path has overly focused on the past… the holding onto hurts from perceived past wrongs… clinging to strict religious beliefs at all cost… believing that solutions come only in holding power “over” others and so on.

There is a new path that lies ahead of us… one that can take us to peace… one that works for everyone. The idea is simple, the implementation much tougher. The characteristics of the new path are:

  • We honor and understand the past as a means to understanding the motivations of all sides.
  • We seek first to understand everyone’s position, before stating our own.
  • We release our attachments to solutions that favor one side over the other.
  • We release the need to point blame at any one person or any one side.
  • We let go of the need to fix the past, before focusing on the future.
  • We vigorously seek solutions that work for everyone, true win-win answers.
  • We hold firm in our vision that peace, prosperity and harmony can be attained in a manner that honors all religions and all peoples.

In the words of John Lennon, “you may say I’m a dreamer.” You can say I’m naïve. You can say anything you want… but I ask you this: what kind of world do you want to live in? Do you want to live in a world where some people win while other people lose? You want to live in a world that continues to foster hatred and violence? I don’t.

I’d rather be a naïve dreamer, who holds hope that we can create a world that works for everyone. I hope you do too. If you do, what one thing can you do today will move us to that vision?



Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!