What is this Middle East initiative?

The initiative connects people who are interested in peace and who come from the three major religions: Jews, Christians, and Muslims. We've tried diplomacy; we've tried might. Why don't we try asking God what he thinks and try to work through people of faith?

What exactly will you be doing?

Listen and listen more and listen more, and then respond. There's no roadmap for this. We're trying to seek God in this, and we're trying to follow what he wants us to do. There's a lot of helplessness and a lot of hopelessness in the Middle East when you start talking about the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

To accomplish much, this will have to be a long-term project.

The initiative runs for only 10 months. But it's going to have to go well beyond that. One major commandment of the three religions is to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We're not under any illusions that we're going to solve the problem. It hasn't been solved in 50 years, or it hasn't been solved in 2,000 years. Maybe we can start preparing the way.

Should religion have been a component of the peace process much earlier?

It should have been done a long time ago. I don't think you can solve anything in the Middle East without having a strong spiritual sense. When you look at some of the major conflicts in the world in the last 50 years, the church played a major part in resolving them.

Do you sense God at work?

I sense it. We have a tendency to think, Let's get some leaders together, and let's get some laws together and maybe some money together, and let's go solve this problem. The fact is we often forget to check with God.

Related Elsewhere:

The new Middle East Initiative will be coordinated by the Center for the Study of the Presidency. Ambassador Tony Hall issued a statement about his role in the program.

In 2002, Weblog commented on Hall's appointment to the U.N.

Christianity Today published a profile of him in 1997.

The Dallas Morning News interviewed him about his book, Changing the Face of Hunger.

Hall spoke with PBS about his faith and world hunger.

Peace Corps (Hall was a volunteer in the 60's) has an announcement about Hall and his new position.

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