Letter: Oases of respect

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The Independent Online
From Lord Hylton

Sir: Peace and war may ebb and flow (as do the tides), empires and states may rise and fall, but Bethlehem, Hebron, the Old City of Jerusalem, Nazareth and certain sites in Gallilee remain. For Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, they are marked by prophecy, hallowed by scripture and tradition. Pilgrims of faith come to them each year, searching for the absolute and for their own identity and meaning.

The recent and deeply regrettable violence at a primary school in the centre of Hebron only underlines the need for international or supra-national control over the places holy to three great monotheistic religions. This was the intention of the UN under the 1947 Palestine partition-plan and the 1949 resolutions of the UN General Assembly.

Let us now seek ways of establishing such control. With fair and firm administration, the sacred shrines could become oases of mutual respect and workshops for the Abrahamic ethics that are so needed as foundations for lasting peace, within and around the fertile crescent between the Nile and the Euphrates.

Yours faithfully,


House of Lords

London, SW1

12 September