Jackson is heading a U.S. religious delegation on a five-day tour of the troubled region and is holding talks with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders. He met Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres on Sunday, and planned a Monday meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who has been shunned by U.S. President George W. Bush's administration.
Jackson said upon his arrival Saturday that he disagreed with Bush's position on Arafat. Jackson said Palestinian despair and Israeli fear were two central factors fueling violence in the region today, and spoke of a need for mutual respect. "Israelis promote their military machine out of fear of suicide bombings," said Jackson. "But Palestinians have known only occupation, malnutrition, and despair. If one is driven by fear and the other by despair, then there must be a third driven by hope."
Jackson said his nine-person delegation sought to provide hope to Israelis and Palestinians who could no longer envision peace in the Middle East. "Those with dream deficit disorder must not be allowed to crush those with a dream surplus," said Jackson. ``If Israel and Germany can get along today, then the impossible is possible. As bloody as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been, it has not been as bloody as the Holocaust was."
Rulah Khoury, a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem, attended the service with her husband. "I liked what he said, but I think that we need more than just words," said Khoury. "In the last two years we have gone back 100 years in our progress."