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President Joe Biden has proposed a cease-fire in the war between Hamas and the Jews of Israel. However well-intentioned, no cease-fire will lead to peace in the Holy Land.

Since 1948, neither military power nor diplomatic encouragement has brought about reconciliation between Palestinians and the Jews of Israel. There can be no peace until there is first trust between these two peoples.

Such trust can never be created through war. Nor, when mistrust is ancient, tribal and supported by religious convictions, can diplomacy ever create enough goodwill and desire for reconciliation to end a religious war.

Further, international law — sovereignty for the Jews over the state of Israel; a two-state solution, a one-state solution; international conferences; resolutions of the United Nations — has failed. International law is helpless to end this conflict between peoples over their differing visions of God-given rights to be free of oppression.

We need a fresh start with a very different approach to seeking peace.

We should again listen to President Abraham Lincoln's insight in his second inaugural address: Each "pray[s] to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. … The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes." And: "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh."

And we should heed Lincoln's call for reconciliation in his first inaugural address of 1861: "The mystic chords of memory … will yet swell … when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

Both Jews and Palestinians believe in the God of Abraham. The Jews of Israel look to his covenants with them through Abraham and Moses for their rights in the Holy Land. They call upon him for defense and he has responded as promised. Israel still stands.

But their God has not given them victory; their state is still in peril.

On the other hand, the Palestinians — at least Hamas as stated in its 1988 covenant — expect the God of Muhammad to give them victory and rule over the Holy Land. That God had not seen fit to answer their prayers as they expected. The war goes on and the Palestinians are not winning.

If religion, then, has given rise to the conflict, neither war nor diplomacy will end it. Only religious faith will turn swords into plowshares as the Prophet Isaiah predicted.

The Qur'an actually provides a pathway for such reconciliation between the religions. In Surah 3:112 the God of Muhammad revealed that Muslims could make covenants with Jews and thereby create a collaborative community.

The Abrahamic tradition is one of covenanting: God made covenants with Noah and Abraham and with Moses; Jesus made his new covenant of salvation for all persons; Mohammad made covenants to respect and protect Christians and Jews.

The book of Genesis tells us that at Beersheba, Abraham made a covenant with King Abimelech over a well and thereafter lived in the land of the Philistines for many days.

Therefore, the Caux Round Table on May 15 at the Pontifical Institute for the Study of Arabic and Islam in the Vatican called upon Palestinians and the Jews of Israel to covenant with one another following the example of the Prophet Muhammad to live in peace each seeking with good faith the best interests of the other as children of the one God that each worships independently of the other.

The prophet's covenants have been forgotten, overlooked by all for 1,300 years. With encouragement from Pope Francis, we have used our good offices to bring together Muslim and Catholic scholars to review the extant copies of covenants made by the Prophet Muhammad.

We have found these recensions not to be forgeries.

In his covenant with the children of Israel, the Prophet Muhammad promised "you and all the generations that come after must know that the Jews are safe and secure. They have obtained the protection of Allah, my protection, and the protections of Muslims until the end of the world. … Their synagogues belong to them and they are to live in the towns of Muslims. Who ever takes away any of their rights, even if it be as much as the weight of an atom, will have to be accountable for it on the Day of Judgment as his destination shall be Hell. … If anyone of the children of Israel is in distress, then it is obligatory for his Muslim neighbor to cater for his needs."

Supporting the provisions of the covenant made by the Prophet Muhammad with the children of Israel, the Qur'an also reminds us in Surah 5:20-21 that Moses as an agent of the God of Abraham said to his people "O my people, enter the Holy Land (al-Ard al-Muqaddas) which God has assigned for you, and do not turn back, lest you return as losers."

The Qur'an introduces the God of Abraham as "the compassionate, the merciful" and reveals that we have something of that God's spirit within each of us (15:29). Thus, Palestinians (and I would say all Jews as well) should not overlook that compassion and mercy are parts of their moral constitution.

Qur'an admonishes us that the God of Abraham and Muhammad wills no injustice to humankind (3:108).

Thus, well-disposed to others, we are instructed by Qur'an to keep the balance (Mizan) and not allow ourselves to fall under the sway of intolerance and extremism (42:17; 57:25; 55:7).

Should we not keep the balance but replace it with our own prejudices and judgments, we risk substituting our own fancies for God's preferences. This is the sin of putting another (ourselves) in the rightful place of God, of being idolatrous (4:48, 116).

What if today Pope Francis were to witness a covenant of mutual respect and protection between Jews and Palestinians that had been signed by 100 leading imams and rabbis?

And, what if, such a covenant were then to be made available for signature by faithful Jews and Muslims in any mosque or synagogue?

Stephen B. Young, of St. Paul, is global executive director of the Caux Round Table, an organization dedicated to promoting ethical capitalism.