The picture was perfect. Four patriarchs of the Maronite, Melkite, Syrian Orthodox and Syrian Catholic churches with the catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church sat side by side on the stage on Thursday in Washington at the In Defense of Christians Inaugural Summit. More remarkable was the coherence of the patriarchs' message: Not just Christians, but all religions of the Middle East, including Islam and Judaism, need protection. The future of the region, they declared, must be found in pluralism and inclusion.
"We refuse to hate. No one can force us to hate. It's easy to say; difficult to live, of course. For us, it is very difficult."
The Times of Israel is reporting that Israel’s military legal branch is investigating five cases of alleged misconduct among Israeli Defense Forces during the recently halted 50-day Israel-Hamas conflict.
According to the news site, the cases include:
Former Israeli President Shimon Peres asked Pope Francis to head a parallel United Nations called the "United Religions" to counter religious extremism in the world today.
NCR Today: A straightforward, undisputed analysis of offenses in the conflict, whether by Hamas or Israel, will probably be hard to come by. But the U.N. is going to try.
The Gaza conflict is appearing to be at an end, but where does it leave Israel and Palestine? Where other ceasefires have failed could teach important lessons to avert a fourth conflict.
With the Gaza cease-fire talks in Egypt stalled again, efforts have shifted to the United Nations and a possible Security Council resolution. France, Germany and Britain have circulated elements of such a resolution with the critical support of the United States.
I don't know about you, but I have been deeply troubled by what seems to be an unraveling of the world around us in so many different hot spots.
Just to name a few:
1. The escalation of violence in Ukraine, including the shooting down of a passenger airline with the loss of all passengers on board
2. The continuing loss of life and violence in Gaza and Israel
Humanitarians and the people of the Gaza Strip are apprehensive about whether there will be a renewal of the truce between Israel and the militant Hamas, said a U.S. Catholic aid official.
"There's a lot of hope that the airstrikes and rockets will not start again after Tuesday midnight because of such a traumatic, terrible month," said Matthew McGarry, who directs the Catholic Relief Services' operations in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.
After months of worsening tensions, the US-Israeli diplomatic relationship has reached new lows, The Times of Israel is reporting this morning.