For over 50% of humanity and three major monotheistic religions this piece of real-estate matters. We’re talking about Israel-Palestine or what many have called the Holy Land. The world’s Christian and Muslim populations combined are 3.6 of 6.8 billion of the world’s population. While much smaller, the 13-14 million Jews are deeply linked to the Holy Land. This is where Jesus walked the earth, Muhammad received his night visions, and Moses the 10 commandments. This is home to the longest standing, unresolved, refugee crisis in history that has also significantly reshaped and influenced the demographics and histories of Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Israel of course, and even far away countries like Chile which has over half a million Palestinian refugees. What happens here to both Palestinians and Jews is watched closely by the entire Muslim world, to a lesser extent the Christian universe, and very much by the world’s 14 million Jews. Just to understand the dynamics of how pivotal this piece of land is to the entire world (Israel/Palestine is a little smaller than the state of Maine or 2 and half Road Islands), the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem in 2018 was cited as the cause of a subsequent terrorist attack by the Boko Haram in Nigeria. What happens to a butterfly in the amazon is important, with reverberations across the planet. In more explicit ways, what happens here, while perhaps marginal in our minds in the United States, continues to strain relations between the West and the entire Muslim world, pulling at the seams of possible peace and resolution to this conflict, while affecting the lives of Palestinians and Israelis for multiple generations. The trauma is real. While the intensity of the conflict ebbs and flows, the impact seems to only increase over time with several generations of grieving families going unaddressed, misunderstood, and clearly not healed.
Our two movies, and now this study guide, “From Peacetalkers to Peacemakers,” are our efforts to begin to help audiences begin to understand, and then address the challenges presented by this conflict. We also hope that healing and a much-needed reconciliation between peoples will one day characterize this place. We work with many organizations already living into this reality. People who recognize the image of God in their “other” and choose to be friends instead of enemies. We need more of this. Please consider joining this movement for peace.