Maurine and Robert TOBIN, Editors, How Long O Lord? Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Voices from the Ground and Visions for the Future in Israel/Palestine. Cambridge, MA: Cowley Publications, 2002. pp. 291. $16.95 pb. ISBN 1-56101-214-9.
Reviewed by Donna YARRI, Alvernia College, READING, PA 19607

This volume contains a series of essays by Christian, Jewish and Muslim peacemakers seeking to shed light on and offer suggestions for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Middle East between the Israelis and Palestinians. These peacemakers present perspectives not typically found in the media and popular press, particularly in that, although their overall concern is for peace, the book is primarily sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians. The editors express the desire, in their introduction as they briefly recount their personal involvement in this struggle, to "rise above the usual political and stereotypical categories that prevail in the minds of many." This they have very aptly succeeded in doing.

The book is divided into three parts, dealing with the conflict from the perspective of the past (what has led up to the conflict), the present (the reasons for the seeming impasse toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict, and the current initiatives being pursued for peace by those on both sides of the struggle), and the future (hopes and suggestions for a more just peace). The essays deal with a number of interesting and varied themes, including Zionism, history of the peace process, the Christian right, suicide bombers, women peacemakers, and issues of advocacy. The essays describe both the reasons for the continuing problems as well as suggestions for how to break the continuing cycle of violence.

The book has a number of strengths. While some of the essays were a bit repetitive, for the most part they nicely complemented each other and provided a very broad and insightful perspective on the seemingly intractable peace process in the Middle East. It is a very helpful introduction for anyone who does not know much about the history of this conflict, or even about the many various players who are involved in attempting to bring about peace. In particular, the book provides a enlightening window into the Palestinian perspective on the conflict, particularly with regard to the West Bank. The diversity of religious voices that are heard also adds to the depth of the presentation. Thus, this is not a book about politics with religion as an aside, as much as it is a religious book about a serious and sensitive political issue.

This would be a very good for anyone seeking to get a better perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, particularly from a religious perspective, and also especially from the Palestinian perspective. While tracing the past, it is also forward-looking. As the title of Desmond Tutu's essay suggests, this book can be seen as a clarion call to the people of Israel, the people of Palestine, and to all God's children who are concerned with the present situation, that "peace based on justice is possible" (265).

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