So I think I've found the answer to part, if not all of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Lying in bed awake far later than I ever imagined I could be at this stage, the one fail-safe solution dropped on my head like an anvil. Now for my more religious friends, this could be a less than favorable end so I caution you about the upcoming offense. To end the fight, one must simply remove the problem: blow up the holy land. Now, not being much of a religion buff, I am vaguely aware of the significance of this land to either side of the argument, and somewhat understand why some, in reading my suggestion, might be angered. I do know it holds great importance to both the Jews and the Muslims, as well as the Christians. However, much like a frustrated mother who rips a toy from her bickering children, one must remove the problem in order to restore peace, if only for the sake of the mother's aching head.
But, while I was tossing these thoughts and revelations around in my head, it occurred to me just why this land is so crucial to the parties involved. It is not simply about the religiously historic events that took place there, but what that land represents to people. For years religions have claimed this place, that item, this book as holy, as revered, as the word of God and a map for a better life. These relics offer the physical, tangible evidence that one needs in order to provide to them a deeper connection to their roots, to solidify the origins of their religions, and to reinforce their faith in their beliefs. Few people if any can go on pure blind faith alone, they need something to see, something to touch, something to tell them that what their hearts feel actually exists, that what their minds tell them actually happened.
Now, whether or not such events occurred, the ultimate question is are these land masses worth dying for? Are they worth killing for? Is one's need for that concrete evidence so dire that it is justifiable to wipe out an entire nation of people to have unmitigated access to your holy site? Is it worth giving your own life in a suicide bombing attack to prove just how dedicated you are to obtaining rights over that site? I would imagine that God, not only weary of being called down on both sides of the argument, is greatly pained by the death and destruction that has followed what may have been to him insignificant events. A child was born, as we all are, a man ascended to heaven, as I believe most of us will, and suddenly a decades-long war of devastating proportions ensued with no foreseeable end in sight. Ironic, what some have regarded as holy have blatantly disregarded religious teachings of peace and have spilled innocent blood and soiled whatever reverie the land once held. Given the opportunity, God might reach down and simply smear the land off the face of the earth, if only to end this madness and save us from ourselves.
Religion is a belief in a higher being, a higher power, something left unexplained by any other means. It provides people more resilience in dark times, it increases the healing capabilities of the ill, it offers peace of mind to those fearing the afterlife and it motivates one to strive for goodness. It fosters a connection to something greater than oneself, through devotion, through prayer, through faith. However, that connection is not achieved through inanimate objects like metal, wood, veils, water, fossils, or papers. It's not achieved through geography; countries, buildings, sites. It's achieved through the strength of your own soul and your devotion to whatever belief system you follow. It doesn't matter where you pray, or what places you visit. It doesn't matter if you're in a church, a mosque, or in the middle of a swamp. It doesn't matter if you're where Jesus was born and where Mohammad ascended to Heaven or if you're standing in the middle of a Metallica concert. If you need God, he is there. If you need to talk to him, he'll listen no matter where you are, if you want to prove your loyalty, you prove it in everyday life with people who need you, not on an expensive and time-consuming trip to Jerusalem just to say, "Look Lord, here I am".
Places hijacked by a people so desperate to be closer to God, so incapable of reaching him on their own have poisoned humanity against each other. They have laid unprecedented importance on a chunk of dirt, they have killed for it, they have died for it, and all the while, I imagine, God looks down, saying "that is not what I meant at all, that is not it, at all".