is an international issue that has so far eluded human wisdom to solve it. It
is impossible to reason and come to terms when emotions are entangled with the
From the Palestinian view point there is no justification for
the plight and sufferings of the Palestinians. They were evicted from land
their ancestors have lived for thousands of years where their parents and grand
parent’s graves are located. None of the Justice codes of the present day civilized
countries can justify what has happened and is happening. So this is an issue
that has evaded human wisdom so far in solving it. Eminent diplomats and
statesmen sincerely tried to crack this nut with all the ammunitions in their
arsenal, and of no avail.
Before we can get to the root cause of the difficulty in
solving this problem, we have to turn to lessons from history. The solution to
the problem depends on the answer to the question, to whom does the land
belong? What is the criterion used to determine ownership. The land belongs to the person who is the
cause behind it. Who is the cause behind it? Is it created or just formed
through Big Bang. Scientists admit that
nothing comes from nothing, and there must be a reason behind everything. With
this argument we have to admit that God must be the reason behind the land. Now
you might ask who created God. Our knowledge of God is limited to what is
revealed to us by God. If you have something in your mind and you do not want
to reveal it, there is no way to find it out. Same way the mystery is
unsearchable for the time being.
Based on a person’s knowledge, understanding and experience,
one can believe either way. But the truth is only one no matter what a person
believes. Our faith can change as our
So if the land belongs to God, the owner has every right to
give it to anybody. If you learn history, God gave this right to different
cultures at different periods in History. Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians,
Greeks, Romans, and the ten empires that came after the Roman empire, the last
being the British empire are all cultures God used to hand over this right of
ownership. God is the author of history, and God allowed each culture a certain
point in time to rise, reach its zenith and decline and set. Vestiges of all
these cultures are still around us, cherishing and nourishing the memories of
their glorious past. If they try to go back to the old boundaries, it is racing
against time, and of no use other than bloodshed. None of the ruling cultures in
the countries of the world today are inhabitants of the land they are ruling.
Their ancestors moved in from elsewhere, and subdued the inhabitants that came
their earlier. Some are trying to rewrite history and prove that they were the
original inhabitants of the country to establish a claim for the land.
Now what claim the Israelites have on the land that they
claim as their own? God let the Canaanites rule the land initially, and then
removed the Canaanites and gave the land to Israel for a certain period.
Assyrians captured the northern kingdom and took the Israelites captives and
settled them elsewhere in the kingdom. They brought other races and settled
them in the Northern kingdom of Israel,
and the mixed race was called Samaritans. Next God allowed the Babylonians the
rulers of the world. They took the Southern kingdom
of Judah captives and took them to Babylon and settled them there, and brought other races
from elsewhere and settled them in Judah. Next God made the Persians
the rulers of the world, and Cyrus allowed the Jews to come back to Judah and
settle there. Romans were the rulers of the world next. In AD 70 Titus
destroyed the third temple built by Herod the Great, and Jews were scattered
all over the world to be a blessing for others, to literally fulfill the
prophecy to Abraham, “Thou shall be a blessing”. Before that Christ was born in
the family of Abraham and spiritually all the cultures of the world are blessed
with the faith in Christ for victory over death, and for eternal life. After
the Romans God allowed the children of Ishmael, Abraham’s son through Hagar the
Egyptian maid to be rulers of the world through first and second Caliphates.
Now you can see that God allowed different cultures to rule
over others. Did God give the land to the Israelites to hold on to it for ever?
The answer is No. If so, they wouldn’t have to live in distant places as
slaves. So their argument that in Bible the boundaries of their land were such
and such, and so we have a right to the land will not hold any water. Do you
allow the Persians and Italians to go back to their old boundaries?
Now what claim the Palestinians have on the land they lived
before? God in his mercy allowed their ancestors to live there for thousands of
years while the Jews were evicted from there. They have no permanent right to
this land. Land belong to God, and God can give it to any culture God wants, no
matter how close one culture try to hold on to it.
This understanding will take the pride away from both groups, and help to untangle the emotions attached to the issue.
Now after thousands of years, God allowed the Jews to come
back and settle in the land through evens in history. God is the author of history. The
Palestinians and Jews are cousin brothers. The Palestinians are children of
Abraham through Kethura and Ishmael. The only difference is that they are of
two different religions.
What is the tradition of Abraham to resolve a conflict
between him and his brother’s son Lot? Instead
of fighting over the land and killing each other, Abraham was ready to make Lot happy and settle the issue. Both got their share of
the land. They didn’t kill each other.
Abraham was of the noblest character. He stands way up for
us to reach in his character. When the king of Sodom ask Abraham to keep all the plunder
that he brought back after defeating the enemy kings, Abraham’s reply is
strange. I will not take a string or sandal from it, lest one day you say that
I enriched Abraham. Abraham had so much faith in God that his life was secure
in God. Now insecurity is rampant everywhere. Even if the whole world is under
control, still some are insecure and want more possessions and wealth. The root
cause is a lack of faith in God and His provisions.
Palestinians need to settle the issue by negotiating with Israel with the
understanding that it is God’s hand that allowed them to settle in the land. Israel needs to
consider Palestinians as brothers and look to Abraham, their great Grandfather
and his tradition to resolve this conflict.
If I have to sleep peacefully, I need to make sure that my
neighbor is not hungry. Same way if I
provoke my neighbor, I can loose my sleep.
States can take the initiative to compensate
the Palestinians with the help of other nations. Make sure that their
reasonable hopes and aspirations are fulfilled. Bless others to be blessed. Be
a blessing to others for your generation to be blessed.
I like to conclude with a story my father told me when I was
eight years old. This is a story familiar to Jews.
Ornan (Aravana of Bible) and his brother were doing joint
farming. Wheat was harvested and divided equally on the threshing floor.
Ornan’s brother went home to rest leaving his brother to watch for the wheat.
While his brother was gone, Ornan said to himself. ‘My
brother is younger than me. He has more wives and children. Since he is very
proud he will not accept if I offer a portion from my share of wheat to him’.
Without anybody watching, Ornan took a portion of the wheat from his share and
transferred it to his brother’s share.
Now, Ornan’s brother came back. Leaving him to watch over
the wheat, Ornan went home. Ornan’s brother said to himself, ‘He is my elder
brother. He has helped me on many occasions. If I give him back he will not
take it’. Without anybody watching, Ornan’s brother took a portion of the wheat
and transferred it to Ornan’s share.
Heaven was keenly watching this strange behavior- a moment
Heaven and Earth, or the vertical and horizontal met together.
They started to move the wheat to their homes. After a while
they noticed that the quantity of wheat was not coming down. When they remove
wheat, the same amount was still left there. Now they were forced to reveal
what happened, and the wheat stopped multiplying.
It is here that Psalms 133 is fulfilled. “It is very good
and pleasant when kindred live together in unity! It is like the precious oil
on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down
over the collar of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the
mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore”.
It was on this threshing floor that the first temple that
Solomon built. In the book of Chronicles it is recorded that King David took a
census of the people from his own pride to show his majesty. 70,000 people
perished. David saw the angel of God standing on the threshing floor of Ornan
(Aravana) the Jebusite with drawn out sword against Jerusalem.
Prophet Gad approached David, and asked him to build an
altar on the threshing floor of Ornan. David bought the land from Ornan and
built an altar there and sacrificed to the Lord and worshiped. Solomon built
the first temple on this threshing floor. It is believed that this is the spot
on Mount Moriah that Abraham sacrificed his son Isaac.
God pointed the Holy land to David to build
Hope one day the Israelites and Palestinians will come to
terms, and live in peace as brothers. Skill in action is in removing the
emotions from the issue. Then things can be viewed in its right perspective.