In a break from our regular programming, today I’m getting a little bit political.
Cause it’s my blog and I can 🙂
Now unless you’ve been living under a rock (as I often do) you will no doubt be aware that last Wednesday, Hamas, a militant fundamentalist Islamic organisation, fired rockets from the Gaza strip into Israel, and Israel of course retaliated. I’m not 100% sure on why this specific fight started, but I did read about an important Hamas military leader who was killed apparently at the hand of Israel, and that would would probably be enough to start something.
It seems to us over here, that these two countries are always at war. The news seem to constantly update us on various conflicts, and it’s very easy to become blasé about the whole thing.
Did you know though, that the fighting goes back a lot longer than 1948 and the declaration of the state of Israel as a nation? This conflict actually finds it’s basis in sibling rivalry about 2000 years BC.
Here is the story, in a nutshell
- A guy named Abraham left Haran (modern day Iran) and moved to Canaan (Israel)
- God told him that he would give Canaan to his descendents
- Abraham and his wife Sarah were barren. And old.
- Sarah gave her maid Hagar, to Abraham to have a child (perfectly acceptable custom if you were childless)
- Hagar gave birth to Ishmael
- God told Abraham his promise would come through Sarah’s child. That child would become a great nation and would inherit Israel
- Sarah gave birth to Issac
- Ishmael mocked Isaac
- Sarah made Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away, which he did reluctantly.
- Hagar and teenage Ishmael travelled to Egypt but got lost in the desert and ran out of water. Hagar hid Ishmael under a plant, out of the sun, and waited for them both to die.
- An Angel appeared to Hagar and told her that God had heard their cries, and would make Ishmael into a great nation. Then he led them to water.
Now why this story is important is because of this: The modern day Jews claim their lineage through Abraham. They are in fact, the sons of Issac.
The Muslims can also claim their lineage to Abraham. But their forefather was Ishmael. So what we have is literally thousands of years of conflict from two brothers, arguing over inheritance.
Now in the Jews mind, Israel, and particularly Jerusalem, has always been their birth right. The bible is full of many passages that claim it so, and it is to these that they hold on. I don’t know the full extent of the preciousness of Jerusalem to the Muslim, and if the Koran speaks of it’s blessedness, but it does have sacred landmarks there that are important to them.
The history of the Jews, is a sad and violent one. On many occasions they have been exiled from their home land, only to return again. The last time they were forced to leave was in AD70, with the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman empire. That was a bloody and horrible devastation. So many were killed, and most others taken captive.
After the atrocities committed against them by the hand of Hitler last century, our modern day world decided they needed to have their own home, and so gave them Israel back. A wonderful gesture that just happened to occur on the very day predicted by the biblical prophet Daniel in 550BC.
Of course this was less wonderful for the Palestinians who had made it their home. The declaration of the Nation of Israel resulted in 100s of 1000s of Palestinian refugees, the majority of whom now live in the Gaza strip.
And it is literally a strip.
41km’s long and 12km’s wide at it’s widest point, and it houses a mere 1.7 million people.
And this is where the war comes in.
One, who was the promised one, and therefore the heir to all his father’s riches including the land they battle over.
And the other, who was very much still a son and enjoyed the fruits of sonship for a while, but was then exiled because he was never the actual heir.
It’s sadly a massive case of ‘I had it first, it was given to me,’ on a giant scale.
The fact of the matter, is that no matter what our prime minister says, or anyone else, this fight won’t ever be over. We are talking thousands of years worth of anger, fighting, and faith here.And the views of the UN will not change what a Jew believes in his heart; that this is his land.
Or what a Muslim sees as injustice; he has been exiled.
The main point though is this: if both of these religions could look back to their roots, and see their faith for what it was meant to be, and not what it has mutated into, there would be no need to fight. The Jews would remember that it was their inheritance, and every time they have lost it, God has given it back.
And the Muslims would remember that when they had been exiled, God heard their cry from under the bush, and provided for them. That they were rescued from the brink of death. There is better for them than a strip of land on the edge of the sea.
This is not a war that can be solved by diplomats and peacekeepers, because it’s not just a war of borders. It’s about faith. And faith will guide your actions far more deeply than the suggestions of a world leader ever could.
Sadly, until these people choose to remember their truth, there will never be peace in the middle east.
There has never been peace in the middle east.
Just two brothers.