Because the land of Israel-Palestine is the home of all of the Abrahamic religions -- Judaism, Christianity, Islam-- it is considered by many followers of each of these religions as the "Holy Land," a sacred and holy place where prominent religious figures inspired by God (David, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Mohammad, and many other prophets) lived and died, changing the course of world history.  It is the destination of thousands of people from all across the globe eager to visit identified "holy" sites to give homage to their God and to receive spiritual blessings and inspiration.  

This region also has grave geopolitical significance (particularly regarding military strategy and natural resources) for political powers such as the United States, Russia, and the European Union.  Political/military control (occupation) of the region has changed hands throughout history, often accompanied by violence towards and oppression of its occupants.   Since its establishment as a state 70 years ago as a refuge for Jewish people, who had for centuries experienced prejudice and persecution, and then endured the horrors of the Holocaust, Israel has had predominant control of the region, with the 4th most powerful military in the world and significant political, military, and financial support from its strongest ally, the United States.  Since its inception in 1948, however, Israel has pushed its designated boundaries by systematically and illegally, according to international law, moving its population into the Palestinian Territories, creating Israeli "settlements"  and claiming Palestinian land as its own.  

History has repeatedly shown us that power can be used for good and for harm.  If power is used unwisely in Israel-Palestine, not only are relations between peoples of the region adversely affected, but relations between and among other nations, ethnicities, cultures, and religions are affected. And rather than cultivating conditions for peace, conditions are created that foster despair, hatred and violence.  If power is used wisely, change can be directed towards the benefit of all, minimizing harm and creating conditions for the security and well-being of all.

As stated by Israeli Buddhist leader Stephen Fulder, "We need to expand the view. This war is a frenzy of violence that comes because of peaceful actions and directions not taken before. The current suffering and violence prepares the ground for the next war. It is a constant chain, and we can try to prevent suffering and violence at any link of the chain."

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