My heart is filled with pain over the war between Hamas and Israel. I personally know people on both sides of the fence and they are suffering so intensely under the decision of the leaders. When I saw the first images, my thoughts went back to what I had written in my book about Hamas.
Here follows part of chapter 41 entitled ‘If Hamas Forgives the Jews.’ It is part of a conversation between the Palestinian Yousef in Jordan and his cousin Noura in America.
“Remind me, please; what exactly did we talk about?” Noura asks.
“I had said that Muslims want to take away everything from the Jews,” Yousef replies.
“Oh yes, that’s it,” Noura remembers, “they are acting just like the Edomites of old.”
“Really?” Youssef is surprised and adds, “I never knew that!”
“Have you ever read the story of King Jehoshaphat? God gave him the victory over Israel’s enemies, who had gathered to attack. Those people were the Edomites, the Moabites, and the Ammonites.”
“Indeed! I knew that God gave Jehoshaphat the victory but I never thought about who the enemy was. But…” Youssef objects, “that happened only once.”
“Not really, dear cousin, the whole book of Obadiah deals with the Edomites. God judged them because they rejoiced over their brothers, the Jews, being taking into exile.”
“Interesting. Say, Noura, weren’t the Edomites the ones who during the time of Moses prevented the Israelites from going through their country on their way to the Promised Land?”
“That’s true,” Noura confirms. “The book of Ezekiel describes it even more clearly. Listen.” Looking for the passage she has in mind, she quickly flips through the pages of her Arabic Bible. “In chapter 35, Ezekiel describes the judgment on Edom for their attempts to take the land God had given to Israel and Judah. Here, in verse 10 and 11 it says, “Because you said, ‘These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will take possession of them’—although the LORD was there—therefore, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, I will deal with you according to the anger and envy that you showed because of your hatred against them. And I will make myself known among them, when I judge you.”165
“Wow, such similarity to what the Muslim extremists want to achieve!” exclaims Youssef. “It is as if the spirit of Esau continues to live in our countrymen who hate Israel.”
… “One might then conclude that violent Muslims follow the example of Esau, while peace-loving Muslims tread in the footsteps of Ishmael.”
“That is an interesting thought, cousin,” Noura says admiringly. “Here in America, so many Evangelicals think that the Arabs are violent Islamists. Perhaps they have an inkling about the presence of Arabic Christians, but the idea that most Muslims want to live a normal life, just like them…” Noura falters. Then she sobs.
“What’s the matter, my dear cousin?”
“How different this world would be if … if all Christians truly followed Jesus’ example,” Noura stammers.
Youssef knows his cousin quite well, but at present he cannot follow her train of thought. “What do you mean?”
“Well, Jesus gave his life for sinners: for criminals, murderers, terrorists, for everyone.”
These are familiar words to Youssef, which he’s heard many, many times before. That’s why he doesn’t understand what Noura is getting at. “Youssef, just imagine, if all Christians were to love Muslims from the depths of their hearts and seek their well-being,” Noura’s voice comes softly. “Then the walls between them could be broken down. Then many would come to faith, just like God has promised. And then…” Once again Noura chokes, her emotions threaten to overwhelm her. Youssef waits patiently as she regains her voice. “… then these Muslims will start treating the Jews in the same way.”
A tear rolls down Youssef’s cheek. In his mind, he pictures the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah publicly forgiving the Jewish occupiers. Oh, if only that would happen. Who knows? That could even cause their attitude to change and perhaps one day, I would be able to return to the land of my grandfather.
Could Hamas ever forgive the Jews? I hold on to what Jesus Christ said, “What is impossible with man, is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). Let us pray that the Arabs will be so touched by God’s love that they will forgive the Jews. Then the Jews will become jealous of them (Romans 10:19) and open their hearts to the Lord and to the Arabs.