Eve of Destruction
Every time I hear Barry McGuire sing about Selma and Red China, I can’t help being drawn to the mess that is the Holy Land. As Israel once again retaliates for a Hamas broken truce, again, one has to wonder just when the conflict will go too far.
Depending on where one get his or her history of Israel, one can come away with completely different versions and distortions, thus making it hard to determine which side is “right”. Israel, while barely a half a century old, has been steeped in conflict for thousands of years. Roman occupation, attacks from Persia, and the Crusades, to name a few, have bloodied the landscape for one reason or another, usually religion. At the same time, it is also the land where Christ was born, where King David ruled, and the Ark of the Covenant once resided. Why, then, should we be surprised the area is in conflict again?
To be sure, electing a declared terrorist organization to lead Gaza wasn’t a smart move by the residents of the Strip. Especially knowing Hamas’ penchant for hiding among innocents when Israel retaliates. On the other hand, Israel needs to recognize the people in Gaza aren’t all terrorists, and cutting off utilities to Gaza creates hardship and perpetuates a cycle of poverty that breeds resentment and anger, despite the religious differences.
It is unfortunate that the Palestinians allow such leaders to have sway over them. Yassir Arafat would settle for nothing less than Jerusalem. The Jews, understandably, were against this, and the wars between began in earnest.
In 1948, when the United Nations created the State of Israel, it was known there would be some conflict. Wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and the Intifadas of 1987 and 2000, bear witness to how hotly contested the land is.
A thousand years ago, when Jerusalem fell to the Muslims, the citizens living there were able to get along fairly well. There was conflict between the two faiths, but nothing like what we see today. The Mohammedans built their Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount which ruffled feathers, and the Christians were more than a little annoyed because the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was nearby, but for the most part, there was peace there up until the UN made their declaration. So, while Israel may have a political advantage, there has to be an understanding that the continuing strife will just breed more resentment. The Palestinians must realize electing known terrorists and encouraging rocket attacks, and suicide bombings, against Israel must stop. The media, too must present a fair case to their viewers.
Lastly, is the spiritual angle. Jews and Christians believe Christ will return to Israel, but the Muslims ruled there for long time. From a religious standpoint, one could argue that the land should stay in Israel’s hands. But from a secular view, one has to wonder when cultural influence should take precedence. So who is right?
Unfortunately, it will probably be decided politically, which will please no party. But it is the Holy Land, and Allah, God, or Jehova, or whomever is worshipped there, doesn’t abide by political decisions.