Special Meditation Focus

Middle East Crisis & Update on the Conflict in Macedonia


Web posted on March 31, 2001 and beginning Sunday, April 1, 2001



Hello

What follows is the a special ongoing Meditation Focus beginning Sunday, April 1, 2001.

MIDDLE EAST CRISIS

1. Summary
2. Meditation times (***Please note the new meditation times***)
3. More information on this Meditation Focus
4. Update on the Conflict in Macedonia




1. SUMMARY

In view of the fast-deteriorating situation in the Middle East and the urgent need for spiritual assistance to offset the mounting tensions and negative energies that may result into a much graver crisis if left unchecked, the time has come to once again focus our collective healing abilities and the power of divine Love in spiritual activity on an ongoing basis until mutual tolerance, forgiveness and hope shine again in everyone's heart, and until a negociated settlement is reached to bring about lasting peace and tranquillity in the Middle East. We must never give up hope that such an outcome can be achieved, for amidst the greatest darkness and hostility always reside the seeds of change and spiritual awakening that once properly nurtured can and shall lead to the most joyful and life-enhancing situation for everyone concerned.

Here is a brief summary of the latest developments in the Middle East which, as we should always remember, are but the outer manifestation of underlying forces and collective karmic circumstances that are being currently played out in this area of the world, with connected influences from and consequential impacts on the rest of the world.

Following the recent formation of a coalition government in Israel by newly elected prime minister Ariel Sharon who came to power with a professed desire to bring back security to the people of his country, and with the significant financial assistance just provided by other Arab leaders in support of the Palestinian Authority of Yasser Arafat during a recent Arab Summit, following also the hands-off policy towards the Middle East adopted by the new American administration which will no longer take an active peace-making role to help bring about a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine, there has been a mounting defiance and willingness on both sides to resort to ever greater acts of violence in response to the perceived antagonism and hostility of the other party. The past few days have seen some of the worst outbreaks of violent popular unrest in the Palestinian territories and repression by the Israeli military forces in a futile attempt to quell the seven-month long new Intifada (uprising) fanned by the pent-up frustrations of ever increasing harsh living conditions imposed by the Israel government, notably through a tight blockage of the Palestinian territories and an almost round-the-clock military-enforced curfew in Hebron. The risks of an ever greater escalation of violence that could set ablaze the whole Middle East cannot be downplayed, and not only restraint but renewed efforts on both sides to rekindle the peace process must urgently be the chosen exit route out of the logic of fear-based hatred and war that now tragically pervades so many minds and hearts in this area of the world.

Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming weeks to help create in the hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters in Israel and Palestine the true, shining desire to seek a peaceful solution to their current difficulties. Let us all use our divinely-given power of co-creation with God to manifest in the Middle East, and everywhere else, the conditions that will lead to a new era of love, peace and unity on Earth, for the Highest Good of All.

IMPORTANT: As of this Sunday, April 1st, several countries will start again observing daylight saving time. Please make sure to verify the time chart below so as to join the Sunday global meditation rendez-vous at the correct time.




2. MEDITATION TIMES

i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes.

ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE TIMES WILL CHANGE THIS SUNDAY FOR SEVERAL CITIES LISTED BELOW

These times below will be corresponding to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT, starting Sunday April 1st:

Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage * 8:00 AM -- Los Angeles * 9:00 AM -- Mexico City, San Salvador & Denver * 10:00 AM -- Houston * & Chicago * 11:00 AM -- Santo Domingo, La Paz, Caracas, New York *, Toronto *. Montreal *, Asuncion & Santiago 12:00 AM -- Halifax *, Rio de Janeiro & Montevideo 1:00 PM -- Reykjavik & Casablanca 4 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, London *, Dublin * & Lisbon * 5:00 PM -- Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Geneva *, Rome *, Berlin *, Paris * & Madrid * 6:00 PM -- Ankara *, Athens *, Helsinki * & Istanbul * & Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Baghdad *, Moscow * 8:00 PM -- Tehran * 8:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta & New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur +12:00 AM -- Seoul & Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington +4:00 AM

+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time.
* means the place is observing daylight saving time (DST) at the moment.

You may also check at http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/full.html this Sunday to find your correct local time if a closeby city is not listed above.




3. MORE INFORMATION ON THIS MEDITATION FOCUS

This section is for those who wish to understand in more detail the situation of this week's Meditation Focus. For those who wish to read on, we would encourage you to view the following information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision you wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of healing. We provide the details below because we recognise that the knowledge of what needs healing can assist us to structure our awareness to maximise our healing effect.


From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010330/wl/mideast_friday_dc_10.html

Israel Says Will Be More Aggressive Against Uprising (Friday March 30)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli soldiers killed six Palestinians in fierce confrontations in the West Bank and Gaza, underscoring what Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer called a gloves-off policy toward an uprising now in its seventh month.

``We have started to respond. There had been a policy of (Israeli) restraint...which in my view is over,'' Ben-Eliezer told Israel's Channel Two television on Friday, the bloodiest day in Palestinian areas in months.

Passions were inflamed by a week of Palestinian bomb attacks, Israeli missile strikes on security targets in Gaza and the West Bank, and demands by U.S. President Bush that the Palestinians in particular do more to halt the violence.

``I am trying to make the other side understand it would be worthwhile to return as quickly as possible to the negotiating table and that it will achieve nothing through violence, which I will fight,'' Ben-Eliezer said. But he added: ``If you think we have a magic formula -- we don't.''

Stepping up pressure on Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to end the uprising, Israel banned his Gaza-based ministers from crossing its territory to attend a weekly cabinet session in the West Bank, forcing the meeting's cancellation.

The Palestinian government nonetheless issued a statement accusing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government of committing ''a brutal and shameful crime against Palestinian people who took to the streets'' in the latest protests.

The unrest also coincided with largely peaceful ``Land Day'' rallies by Israeli Arabs on the 25th anniversary of the killing of six of their brethren by Israeli security forces during demonstrations against government expropriation of their land.

Gunfire Echoes Across West Bank, Gaza

Troops shot dead five Palestinians during stone-throwing protests in the West Bank city of Nablus, where some 10,000 people took to the streets, witnesses and local hospitals said. A joint funeral was planned for the five in Nablus on Saturday. Another Palestinian was killed by an Israeli bullet to the head in Ramallah, also in the West Bank, after 1,000 people marched on an army checkpoint, witnesses and doctors said.

In Hebron, Israeli tanks and machineguns blasted away at Palestinian neighborhoods in the most intense fighting in the divided West Bank city since the start of the uprising. Violence also swept through the Gaza Strip, where stone-throwers and armed men confronted soldiers and fierce gunfire echoed late into the night.

The Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said 119 Palestinians were wounded, six of them critically, by Israeli rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition in the West Bank and Gaza. At least 365 Palestinians, 13 Israeli Arabs and 69 other Israelis have been killed since the start of the uprising.

``Sharon's government, which rejected all Arab and international efforts...to resume peace talks, has decided to carry out a 100-day plan to bring the Palestinian people to their knees by force and aggression,'' the Palestinian leadership statement said.

Asked on television if he would consider sending troops into areas Israel handed over to the Palestinians under interim peace deals, Ben-Eliezer said: ``I will not rule anything out if they try to misuse territory which we agreed in advance was theirs.'' Such action would require the approval of an Israeli cabinet that includes the center-left Labor Party, Sharon's main partner in the coalition government.

``Hit Deep Within 1948 Lines''

``When they enter Palestinian cities, we will hit them deep inside the 1948 line,'' said Marwan Zaloum, head of gunmen belonging to Arafat's Fatah faction in Hebron, referring to territory inside the Jewish state. ``We tell them, welcome, the winds of Paradise are blowing,'' he told Reuters.

Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said a cabinet meeting that was to be held in Ramallah was canceled after Israel banned the passage from Gaza of 12 participants. ``Israel is not letting the Palestinian leadership pass through Israel because (anti-Israeli) violence is promoted by this leadership,'' said Yarden Vatikay, spokesman for Israel's military-run Civil Administration in the West Bank and Gaza.

The Palestinian government, in its statement, lashed out at the United States for using its veto this week to block a U.N. Security Council resolution which would have created an international observer force to protect Palestinians. ``This decision represents a clear encouragement to Sharon's government to pursue his military plan and aggressive war against our peaceful people,'' it said.

Arafat said on Thursday the uprising would continue ``until the Palestinian flag is raised on the walls, churches and mosques of holy Jerusalem.'' He vowed defiance despite Israeli air strikes on Wednesday that hit facilities used by his elite security forces in Ramallah and Gaza. His home in Gaza was also hit while he was attending an Arab summit in Jordan.

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From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010330/wl/israel_palestinians.html

6 Palestinians Killed in West Bank (Friday March 30)

JERUSALEM (AP) - Reviving the mass protests of the early stage of their six-month-old uprising, thousands of Palestinians battled Israeli troops with stones and guns in a ``day of rage'' Friday and drew heavy Israeli fire that killed six demonstrators and injured more than 130. It was the deadliest day in six weeks. CLIP

Friday's protests capped a tumultuous week of suicide bombings, shootings and rocket attacks. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said the Palestinian uprising would continue, and Sharon said Israel was preparing for a long-term confrontation. CLIP

Israel's defense minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, has said that Israel would send forces to ``any place we feel is endangering us,'' though Israeli troops have not entered the Palestinian-controlled areas - 40 percent of the West Bank and two-thirds of Gaza - in the past six months of fighting. Under interim peace accords, the Palestinian areas are off-limits to Israeli security forces. CLIP

``Land Day'' Protests

Meanwhile Palestinian hospital officials said Israeli troops had wounded 11 demonstrators with live bullets during disturbances that erupted after a demonstration on Saturday attended by hundreds in Gaza City to mark ``Land Day.''

``Land Day'' marks the killing of six Israeli Arabs by security forces 25 years ago during demonstrations against government expropriation of their land. Israeli Arabs had marked the anniversary on Friday.

Saturday's protests took place in the shadow of comments the previous day from Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who said Israel was ending its ``policy of restraint'' in dealing with the Palestinian revolt against Israeli occupation.

Passions have been inflamed by a week of Palestinian bomb attacks, Israeli missile strikes in Gaza and the West Bank, and demands by U.S. President Bush (news - web sites) that the Palestinians in particular do more to halt the violence.

The State Department on Friday denied Palestinian claims that Washington had given Israel's military crackdown a green light.

But most dailies across the Gulf on Saturday accused the Bush administration of encouraging Israel to step up violence by vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an international force to be sent to protect Palestinians.


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From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010331/ts/mideast_leadall_dc.html

Palestinians Bury Dead, Israel Warns of Tough Stand (Saturday March 31)

(Reuters) - Palestinian mourners called for revenge on Saturday as they buried six of their own killed by Israeli troops, defying warnings by Israel of a new gloves-off policy toward an uprising now in its seventh month. Thousands marched in the West Bank town of Nablus at the funerals of five Palestinians shot during stone-throwing protests on Friday, one of the bloodiest days in recent weeks. CLIP

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Annan Critical of Israel at Arab Summit (March 27)
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010327/wl/mideast_summit_dc.html

Here are some relevant quotes:

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the summit that Israel's ``collective punishment'' had fed Palestinian anger and despair and urged an early resumption of peace talks. In his toughest language yet on Israeli military and economic measures, the U.N. chief said the world had every right to criticize Israel for occupying Arab land and for its ''excessively harsh response'' to a Palestinian uprising. CLIP At least 349 Palestinians, 67 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have been killed in the violence. CLIP Annan, attending his first Arab summit, urged Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks. ``There is no solution to be found in violence, and no sense in postponing the day when the parties return to the table,'' he said. ``Blockades and closures have paralyzed the Palestinian economy, isolated the West Bank and Gaza, and prevented the delivery of medicine, food and fuel. ``Collective punishment has cast a pall of anger and despair over the already tense occupied territories,'' he added. But he reminded the Arab leaders that the Jewish state had a right to exist in security within recognized borders. The gathering, the first ordinary Arab summit since the 1990-1991 Gulf crisis, has drawn 14 heads of state and Arafat.

See also Mideast Fact-Finding Panel Angers Sharon
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/26/world/26MIDE.html

Full Coverage BBC Middle East Crisis at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/in_depth/middle_east/2000/mideast_peace_process/default.stm

Full Coverage also at http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/World/Middle_East_Peace_Process/




4. Update on the Conflict in Macedonia

Note: Although the situation appears to be improving in Macedonia, you may still continue to hold a vision of peace for this country and of constructive, positive dialogue between the ethnic communities in Macedonia during this coming week.

From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010330/wl/balkans_fighting.html

Macedonia Says Offensive Is Over (Friday March 30)

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) - Government officials declared on Friday that a government offensive against ethnic Albanian insurgents was over, saying Macedonian forces have regained key border areas with
Kosovo. Spokesman Antonio Milososki did not indicate whether the end of the offensive was simply a pause in fighting on the government side. But he suggested negotiations with ethnic Albanian factions were ahead in the struggle to keep the country together.

``The political battle is still to come,'' he told reporters. ``We must preserve Macedonia as our common country.'' The Slav-dominated Macedonian government has refused to negotiate directly with the rebels, whom it considers terrorists fighting to split up Macedonia, but appears willing t talk to moderate ethnic Albanian political groups. The rebels insist their fight is not separatist but an attempt to gain more rights for the ethnic Albanian minority - nearly a third of the country's population.

The rebels did not immediately comment on the government claim of military success. They said earlier they were regrouping in the hills around Tetovo, Macedonia's second-largest city. The announcement of end of the offensive appeared in part due to increased international pressure on the government to negotiate with the ethnic Albanians. CLIP

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From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010331/ts/balkans_fighting.html

Fresh Clashes Erupt Along Kosovo (March 31)
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) - Ethnic Albanian rebels and Macedonian forces exchanged mortar and small-arms fire early Saturday along the Kosovo border, the army said. CLIP

From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1209000/1209506.stm

Q&A: Macedonia conflict (Monday, 26 March, 2001)
BBC News Online provides a guide to the key facts behind the escalating conflict in Macedonia

In-depth coverage at http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/World/Former_Yugoslav_Republic_of_Macedonia/




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