Amidst all the problems in Syria and the rest of the Middle East the Palestinian crisis seems to have almost been forgotten. That was until the most recent spate of bombings and the rather graphic videoing of a Palestinian being gunned down in Jerusalem.
About three years ago I visited Israel and found it to be the most fascinating of countries. Visiting the places that I’d learnt about all those years ago in Sunday School was an incredible experience. The old city of Jerusalem has to be one of my most favourite places in the world, a vibrant mix of different cultures and religions all living, for most of the time, in peace and harmony. Sadly it is the dramatic occasions when the peace breaks down that hit the news. Staying for part of my visit in a Bethlehem hotel, literally yards from where Jesus was born, meant that I was able to visit that particular shrine before other tourists had started out for the day and, on one occasion , found myself standing totally alone at the place of the nativity. Since my visit the Christmas story has become even more significant for me as I can, literally, picture myself standing there in the cave-like stable.
We fortunate ones in the UK do not have to deal with disputes and disagreements as extreme as those being faced by residents of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, areas that are not exactly good advertisement for mediation with several high profile figures having unfortunately failed in their attempts to reconcile the different communities.
However, as we head towards the end of yet another year, there are surely lessons for us all particularly about resolving problems as they occur and not allowing sides to become entrenched in their respective positions.
If you have a family or civil dispute that needs resolving, why not have a think about mediation over the new year break? Mediating and effectively allowing peace to break out in your domestic or work environment could label the difference to you in 2016.