“I’ll plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I’ve given them. (Amos 9:15)
Abraham, the patriarch, did not send away the Egyptian slave girl, Hagar and her son Ishmael simply because he did not love the young girl and the boy. As a friend of God he followed the order given by his friend, the Mighty God of Israel to do so. One can imagine the sleepless nights the old man had when the slave girl and her handsome young boy went out there into the desert to a place they did not know.
As a young boy who became so attached to his younger brother, Isaac, I can imagine the pain he had in his tender heart when he said good bye to old man Abraham.
Hagar might be happy to leave because the nagging by her madam, Sarah was too much and so she might have seen the order for her to leave as a welcome opportunity. And like Abraham, the slave girl, Hagar too believed in the God of Israel since she was a witness to all what God did to Abraham. She knew God will be with her and the son wherever she went. It was all about faith and as I wrote the other time, faith is like a rock amidst shifting sand.
Grandma Sarah might be happy as well because the continuous rivalry ended with the departure of Hagar and her son. When Sarah was not having a child, her heart was heavy and now that she had Isaac her heart was full of joy so with Hagar and her son or without Hagar and her son, her prayer was answered by God so she was joyful. God knew why He ordered Abraham to send away Hagar and her son. He told Abraham that in Isaac will He build his covenant but he will bless Ishmael. That was enough consolation to Abraham who could not defy the Mighty Lord of Israel.
True to God’s promise, He built his covenant in Isaac and today the twelve tribes of Israel are the descendants of Isaac.
Through the twelve tribes of Israel, Christianity is spreading like wildfire across the length and breadth of the whole world. Nobody can doubt that. But what nobody can also not doubt is that God blessed Ishmael as He promised. Hagar and Ishmael happened to dwell on the desert but whatever they grew flourished. The sheep they reared became fatter than those reared on fertile soils. As the years rolled by, God blessed Ishmael more with oil and today the world’s largest producers of the Black Gold are under the belly of the lands that Ishmael and Hagar dwelled.
So why the perennial and unending feud between the two sons of Abraham? Actually the fight is not necessary between Isaac and Ishmael but between two Abrahamic faith, Islam and Christianity. Now who is to blame? I blame the United Nations. From time immemorial, the Palestinians, decedents of Ishmael were living peacefully on their land as nomads and farmers. They were content with their lot and had no quarrel with any one.
Jews on the other hand were scattered around the world until the Second World War when Hitler callously murdered more than six million Jews during the Holocaust. Palestinians had no hand in the Holocaust and as such they are not to blame in anyway. And the Jews know that very well. After the wish-to-be-forgotten Holocaust, Jews were scattered further and lived without a homeland.
Through a resolution passed by the United Nations the State of Israel referring to Palestine as the rightful home land of the Jews was created. On 14th May 1948, David Ben Gurion declared independence for Israel. Then Jews all over the world started trickling into Palestine. At first the Palestinians received them as their brothers but before they could blink an eye the Jews took over Palestine and started expelling the Palestinians from their homeland. That is what the Palestinians refer to as Al Nakba (The Catastrophe). Since then there has been no peace. Other Arab states like Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon etc joined the Palestinians to fight for the liberation of their motherland. There have been about six wars between Israel and their Arab neigbours and in all these wars the Israelis were the victors, leaving the Arabs who are in a great majority to lick their wounds.
The recent rocket attacks by the Palestinians and Israeli bombardment should awaken the world to come into reality that even though the Israelis have the right of existence, the Palestinians too have the right to statehood. If the Palestinians and the Arabs for that matter think they can drive the Israelis from where they stay that is wishful thinking. The state of Israel has come to stay and no force can drive them from the place. They have the arms, technology, scientists and above all bravery and resilience to survive. The Holocaust has thought them a lesson and as they say in Israel, “Never Again!”
What the Palestinians can do to save the situation and prepare a comfortable future for future generations is to abandon the rocket attacks, suicide bombings and stone throwing and negotiate for the two-state idea which has been trumpeted by world leaders for many years. During the recent fight about two hundred and seventy Palestinians were killed whiles only twelve Israelis were killed. So what is the sense of the continues fighting? If the Palestinians think they will get world sympathy if more of their people continue to die, that to me is a fallacy if not sheer unnecessary bravado.
You see, if Jacob and Esau could reconcile, I do not see the reason why the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael cannot do so after centuries of antagonism. Nothing can be more painful than somebody cunningly taking away a blessing that belongs to you. Jacob did that to Esau but Isaac, their father, knowing how the heart of Esau bled after realizing that the blessings which belonged to him has been taken away by Jacob with the connivance with Rebecca, their mother, told young Esau that “Even though your younger brother has stolen your blessing, if you persevere, you will prosper” and that came to pass. Palestinians should take this as a consolation and forget everything and seek for peace as they continue to crave for statehood. Please no Havana cigar today because the spirit of the Lord has come upon me!!!
By Eric Bawah