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An urgent need to wage peace

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Editor's View

Israelis and Palestinians are caught in a revenge cycle over murders of three Jewish seminary students followed by the murder of a Palestinian teen. Riots and vigilantism have broken out on in both communities. Revenge is a dark force. Each violent act leads to more violence. It is crucial that leaders on both sides break that cycle by ensuring justice and preventing people from taking matters into their own hands. Palestinian and Israeli leaders have called for calm. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday said that his government does not distinguish “terror from terror.” That’s a start, but more is needed. Failure of a US-sponsored peace plan earlier this year removed what little hope there was that the two communities could become side-by-side nations. Without hope, there is a danger of a return of the violence that occurred during the intifadas of 1987-’93 and 2000-’05. This is not a time to let events unfold on their own. This is a time for Israelis, Palestinians, and others to aggressively wage peace.

John Yemma
Editor at Large

Why a Palestinian youth's murder lit a fuse in Jerusalem

Israeli police have detained six Jewish suspects in the killing of Muhammed Abu Khudeir after some of the worst street unrest in a decade.

Christa Case Bryant, Staff writer

Violent protests continued Sunday in Jerusalem, part of series of angry demonstrations over the death of Muhammed Abu Khudeir, a Palestinian teen. In recent days, crowds of Palestinians have clashed with security forces in Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, throwing stones and other projectiles, while Israeli police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. The protests have spread to Arab areas of northern Israel, marking the worst such political unrest in a decade. 

Muhammed was abducted in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat just before 4 a.m. on Wednesday, July 2, after going out for pre-dawn prayers. He was found burned in the Jerusalem Forest within a couple of hours. Initial autopsy results indicated he was burned alive.

From the start Palestinians have accused Jews of perpetrating the abduction and murder after three Israeli teens were found murdered in the West Bank on Monday, June 30, after a massive search effort that lasted 18 days. Their funeral was held the following day. 

Israeli police have yet to definitively assign a sectarian motive to Muhammed’s killing, but the arrest of Jewish suspects today discredit previous claims by Israelis that he was killed for being gay or as part of a family feud.

Six Jewish suspects were arrested Sunday and questioned by the domestic Israeli security agency, Shin Bet. Israel’s Channel 2 news reported that the suspects were part of an extremist cell. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his condolences this evening to the Abu Khudeir family and pledged that the perpetrators of his murder would "face the full weight of the law."

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What will happen to immigrant kids in border crisis? Obama official evasive.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused to directly answer a question Sunday about whether unaccompanied children in the recent flood of illegal immigration will be deported.

Mark Sappenfield, Staff writer

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson went on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday to send the message that the Obama administration will "stem the tide" of undocumented immigrants currently flooding into Texas.

But three times, host David Gregory tried to pin down Secretary Johnson on whether most of the 52,000 undocumented children who have crossed the border illegally and alone since the beginning of October will be deported. And three times, Johnson turned to his talking points.

"There is a deportation proceeding that is commenced against the child," Johnson said in one characteristic answer. "Now that proceeding can take some time, and so we're looking at options – added flexibility to deal with the children in particular."

Many conservatives could have easily offered Gregory the categorical answer he was looking for. To them, the material point in the current border crisis is that these migrants are breaking the law.

But Johnson's appearance on "Meet the Press" Sunday suggests that the Obama administration policy has many shades of gray, at least on the issue of unaccompanied minors.

Later in the interview, Gregory asked whether the administration's priority is to "do right by these children" or to "clamp down on the border."

Johnson responded immediately and forcefully. "There's the issue," he said. "We have to do right by the children."

Johnson said categorically Sunday that the administration would get a handle on the current crisis. "In the final analysis, our border is not open to illegal migration, and we will stem the tide," he said.

On the issue of unaccompanied minors, however, the message he delivered was carefully nuanced.

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How webcams in Syria's bombarded hospitals aid war victims

Syrian regime forces have allegedly targeted hospitals as a weapon of war. Telemedicine offers a way to guide treatment of patients in intensive care. 

Dominique Soguel, Correspondent

At a handful of intensive care units in rebel-held Syria, where doctors, medicine, and daily essentials are in short supply, telemedicine is saving lives.

Remote-operated webcams allow doctors working in the safety of countries like the United States to assess the best course of action for critical patients in Syria, now in its fourth year of conflict. They then relay their instructions to medical workers in the field. 

The telemedicine initiative was started last year by the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). It is a direct response to the shortage of doctors in Syria. In their absence, complex trauma cases often fall in the hands of nurses and technicians. 

Dr. Tamer Hassan, who heads the SAMS field office in Gaziantep, a border town that is a hub for Syrian refugees and relief organizations, runs monthly trainings for Syrian medical workers in a bid to close the gap. 

Most of the ICU patients treated are victims of aerial bombardment, mainly barrel bombs dropped from helicopters or planes. These cheap improvised devices are typically metal barrels packed with chemicals or explosives and scraps of metal. 

Working in shifts, a team of doctors scattered across Canada, England, the United States, and Saudi Arabia monitor Syrian patients in real time using three webcams connected to the ICU. The supervising medical practitioner moves the cameras to check the monitors, ventilators, and the patient himself.

Based on the data collected, the doctor prescribes treatment and oversees its implementation, counseling his juniors along the way. 

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Manhattan Beach great white attack: Was the shark provoked?

The great white shark attack in Manhattan Beach, Calif., Saturday happened when a swimmer accidentally swam toward a shark that had been hooked by a fisherman 45 minutes before and was struggling to get free.

Mark Sappenfield, Staff writer

Shark attacks are so rare that each incident is, by its very nature, unusual. But the attack by a great white shark near the Manhattan Beach Pier in southern California Saturday appeared to be the result of a particularly unusual circumstance.

Officials at the beach said the shark had been hooked by a fisherman on the pier and had been trying to free itself for about 45 minutes before a long-distance swimmer unknowingly swam into its path.

The shark "was agitated and was probably biting everything in his way, and then the swimmer swam right into the shark's line," Capt. Tracy Lizotte, a Los Angeles County lifeguard at the beach, told the Los Angeles Times.

The swimmer, Steve Robles, is in stable condition.

The Florida Natural History Museum, which keeps a record of unprovoked shark attacks, says provoked attacks come from humans touching sharks. The ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research adds: "A provoked shark attack may be defined as any physical contact with a human by a shark that was apparently precipitated by the former ... hooking, shooting, or otherwise molesting the latter."

The incident highlights the growing interface between humans and white sharks. Last month, two scientific surveys found that white shark populations were growing off both coasts as conservation efforts improve. At the same time, more people are using coastal waters not just for bathing, surfing, and – in this case, long-distance swimming – but also for kayaking and other activities.

"Each year, more people are going into the water," George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, told Discovery News. "We're also seeing a rise in numbers of sharks on both coasts."

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New Old West: The Colorado restaurant where everyone carries a gun

Big businesses like Target and Starbucks are asking customers to please leave guns at home. Not so at Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colo., where owners, staff, and many customers carry guns.

Brad Knickerbocker, Staff writer

Much of the political and philosophical fight over guns in America is about appearances and perception.

Some gun owners assert their Second Amendment rights by openly (and legally) carrying their firearms in public. If the sight of someone walking around town armed with a loaded handgun, rifle, or shotgun is startling, so be it. Point made.

Meanwhile, gun control advocates, stymied in their efforts to get Congress to pass stricter measures, have been pressuring major commercial establishments to ask their gun-toting patrons to leave the weaponry at home.

Target, one of the largest US retailers, recently joined Chili’s, Starbucks, Chipotle, Sonic, and Jack in the Box in asking customers to not bring firearms into their establishments.

Then there’s Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colo. A sign on the front door reads, “Guns are welcome on premises. Please keep all weapons holstered, unless the need arises. In such cases, judicious marksmanship is appreciated.”

Owners Lauren and Jayson Boebert carry guns on the job, as do the servers.

As the local newspaper, The Post Independent, puts it: “When waitress Ashlee Saenz takes your order at Shooters Grill in Rifle, she not only carries a pad and pen – she also packs a loaded Ruger .357 Blackhawk handgun holstered on her leg, Old West style. It’s loaded and she knows how to use it.”

Ms. Boebert said she is simply allowing customers and employees to exercise their constitutional right.

“We encourage it, and the customers love that they can come here and express their rights,” she said. “Everyone said ‘Shooters’ sounded like a bar or a strip joint. But I thought, this is Rifle – it was founded around guns and the Old West.”

The restaurant does not serve alcohol, which makes local law enforcement officials happy.

“If it was a bar, I might be saying something different. But I have no problem with it,” Police Chief John Dyer told the Post Independent. “And besides, they make a really good burger.”

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Editorial: The Monitor's View

Preventing a religious war in the Mideast

The Monitor's Editorial Board

The Sunni militant group that has created an “Islamic State” across a swath of the Middle East has begun to attack the sacred shrines of Islam’s minority Shiites. This tactic aims to incite a violent response by the perceived heretics and help unite all Sunnis behind the group’s leader, who calls himself “Khalifa Ibrahim,” or caliph Abraham, after the ancient prophet.

The attacks run the risk of igniting a wider war of religion, perhaps drawing in Iran and Saudi Arabia. This would be a dangerous course. A major war of religion has not occurred on the world scene since the Thirty Years’ War in 17th-century Europe. Wars over theology and religious traditions are particularly brutal. Each side, in claiming divine superiority and setting up certain individuals as God’s chosen, may be prone to more easily fight to the death.

A good example was the video released Saturday that shows a sermon by Khalifa Ibrahim. In it he tells Muslims: “I was placed as your caretaker.” By claiming he speaks for God to others, he in effect denies each person’s individual relationship with God. And by resorting to the force of arms, he denies that a person’s spiritual commitment should be won by peaceful means, such as invitation, grace, or by example of good works.

World leaders must persuade those Muslims eager to fight over doctrinal differences to learn from previous religious wars. In Europe, the treaties that ended the Thirty Years’ War, known as the Peace of Westphalia, set the seeds not only for modern ideas about the role of state but also other ideas that blossomed during the Enlightenment. These included a charitable tolerance between faiths, the avoidance of using state power to impose particular religious views, and achieving national unity based on civic values that transcend demonstrations.

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A Christian Science Perspective

Love is 'dawning over every nation'

Today’s news media bring to us immediate reports of trouble spots around the world. I’ve found comfort in this phrase in a hymn in the “Christian Science Hymnal”: “Love now is dawning over every nation;/ Showing true brotherhood, publishing salvation” (Margaret Morrison, No. 179). This message applies to areas of the world fraught with strife and conflict – Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, and many others.

The Master, Christ Jesus, didn’t travel far from his home in Nazareth, but his influence has been widespread since the moment he began teaching in his local Aramaic language. What he taught of God’s perfection, goodness, and love has reached every corner of the world. His love for the world was not for the comfort and material riches of the world, but it was a deep compassion for humanity’s salvation, unity, and peace.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:20, 21).

Divine Love is universal, reaching to every corner of the world. That Love embraces every single one of its children. That divine Love is at every conference table, tribal campfire gathering, and conference call designed to bring disparate opinions together for the greater good.

A key element in feeling and experiencing divine Love’s infinite blessing is to sacrifice self – self-interest, self-will, and self-promotion. This yielding of self, whether we are actually on the site of the conflict area in question or thousands of miles away, can open the way for divine Love’s infinite embrace to bring peace and salvation to the world.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote, “Individuals, as nations, unite harmoniously on the basis of justice, and this is accomplished when self is lost in Love – or God’s own plan of salvation” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 283).

The Christian Science Monitor brings special insights and perspectives that help readers focus their prayers so they can be most effective and beneficial to our world. We don’t need to be discouraged if reports of turmoil and strife in the world keep coming. We can have confidence and trust in harmony, justice, and in the power of divine Love “dawning over every nation;/ Showing true brotherhood, publishing salvation.”

Divine Love is greater than hate, fear, division. Infinite Love is just that – infinite and ever present. God is all He is, in every place.

Robert R. MacKusick

“The object of the Monitor is to injure no man, but to bless all mankind."
- Mary Baker Eddy

The Daily News Briefing is published Monday through Friday by The Christian Science Publishing Society in Boston, Massachusetts.

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