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MIDDLE EAST: Israel, Palestinians, and Jerusalem

Miles Seeley, who has spent his career in the Middle East, writes:

"I sincerely hope the report is correct and that Shultz is urging serious consideration of the idea of a special status for Jerusalem. I spent a fair amount of time in the city when the Jordanians controlled the Old City. I also had both friends and employees who were Jerusalem natives. When I first heard of the concept of a special status, it was as if a lightbulb had gone on in my head, and I said, "Of course!" It would not be easy, given Jewish and Moslem sensitivities, but it might be the only way to ensure every religion's rights.

By the way, the most beautiful church services I ever saw and heard were on Christmas Eve in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Three services were held at once: Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox. They were separated by nothing more than hanging curtains. Standing at the entrance, it all blended together somehow and was eerily beautiful. On our way back to Amman, we were in the lowest part of the Dead Sea Valley when it suddenly began to snow!!

The driver, an Arab, stopped the car, jumped out and held his face up in the falling flakes. He told us this had only happened once before in the last hundred or more years; and it was a special sign from God (Allah). It all seemed a special night indeed."

Ronald Hilton - 7/29/00