Israël & Hamas: A Solution based on lessons from the past
The current conflict between Israel and Hamas is part of a long history. Israel’s determination to wipe out the organisation Hamas and Hamas’ determination to wipe the nation of Israel from the world map is deeply rooted.
The Jews find their origin as people in their forefather Abraham, who was called by God to leave his home in Ur to a land God would give him. Several centuries after his death, God told the descendants of his grandson Jacob to enter the land He had promised Abraham. God told them specifically that the land was His and that they were to live there as His guests – strangers on earth (Leviticus 25:23).
Soon after the Israelites entered the land, they were attacked by surrounding nations, ranging from the Philistines in the coastal region (which today comprises Gaza) to the Edomites and Ammonites and Moabites on the east and south of the Jordan river (part of today’s Jordan). Later, the Arameans in the north-east (part of Syria) frequently attacked them as well. Remarkably, the Ammonite and Moabites came from Abraham’s nephew Lot and the Edomites were direct descendants of Abraham’s grandson Esau. They all wanted to possess the beautiful land that God had given to Jacob’s descendants and, throughout the following centuries, made many attempts to conquer the Israelites. Each time, however, they were eventually defeated, even if they succeeded for a season to control parts of the land.
God warned all these nations through His prophets that, if they continued to aggress against Israel, they would cease to exist as nation. Indeed, in the period from 400 BC – 100 AD all of them disappeared as unique peoples. Whoever survived the Babylonians and Greeks and Romans, assimilated with the nomadic Ishmaelites in the region and became known as Arabs.
It is noteworthy that already before the Israelites entered the land given by God, Egypt attempted to decimate them near the Red Sea. God miraculously saved His chosen people and turned things around so that the Egyptian army drowned in the sea.
Centuries later, at the height of the Persian kingdom, another attempt to kill the Jews was thwarted. Haman the Agagite, probably a descendant of the Amalekites, who had also been an age-old enemy, initiated the attempt. Again, God arranged history and Haman lost his life. Just before he was killed, his wife and friends warned him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.” (Esther 6:13).
On two other occasions, God miraculously saved the Israelites from a much stronger enemy, without them even fighting! In the days of king Hezekiah of Judah, the Assyrian army took over the land and laid siege to Jerusalem. Hezekiah and the people put their trust in the Lord and in the words of the prophet Isaiah. Then, in one night the heavenly Angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers (2 Kings 19:35). In the days of king Jehoshaphat, the Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites made a surprise attack on the land. However, God caused a confusion among them and they killed each other, so that the Israelites were saved without even having to fight against them (2 Chronicles 20:22-23).
God’s acts of protection can be seen as His commitment to His promise to Abraham. He had said to him, “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse (Genesis 12:3).
Sadly, with the disappearance of the Edomites and other peoples, the enmity against Israel didn’t stop. In the 2nd Century the Roman Emperor attempted to remove all references to the nation of Israel, by renaming the land Palestine and renaming Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina.
In the 7th Century, the area was conquered by Muslim warriors, who declared the territory to belong to Islam. The inhabitants of the land were given the choice between converting to Islam or death, except for the Jews and Christians. They were permitted to live, if they paid the special Jizya tax.
According to trusted Islamic sources, the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, has foretold that a time will come when no Jizya can be paid anymore. Upon the return of the Messiah, the Jizya will be abolished, meaning the Jews and Christians will have to either become Muslims or be killed. In the end, the Muslims will kill any remaining Jew, with the help of speaking trees and rocks. If a Jew hides behind a tree or rock, it will say, ‘Muslim, here is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.’ (1)
The anticipated killing of the Jews is adopted by Hamas in their Charter, issued in 1988. (2) It proclaims that Israel will exist until Islam obliterates it, and jihad against Jews is required until Judgement Day. Compromise over the land is forbidden. The documents promote holy war as divinely ordained, reject political solutions, and call for instilling these views in children. Although the wording has been softened in 2017, the recent actions by Hamas adherents, shows that the original intentions are still alive among them.
Though most Muslims will not claim to want the death of all the Jews, anyone who takes their religion serious will be expected to agree that this is the ultimate plan of God according to Islam.
Can there be any solution?
I propose actions for three groups: Jews, Muslims and Christians.
Message for the Jews and the government of Israel:
Stop bombing Gaza, in order to stop Hamas from executing her convictions. Even if all Hamas adherents are killed, the ideology will live on in others.
Instead, turn to the God of your forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and put your trust in Him, just like Moses, Hezekiah and Jehoshaphat and many others did. The land you’re living in belongs to Him and He will protect you, just like He did in the past. (3) He may even protect you without you having to lift a weapon! As He spoke to the Jewish leader Zerubbabel many centuries ago, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
God’s promise to King Solomon still holds for you today. “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV)
Message for the Muslims and for Hamas:
Stop fighting against the Jews, because you are going to lose. The land belongs to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the Creator of heaven and earth and there is no god greater than him. You will not be able to wipe out the Jews because God will protect them and you will die.
Instead, repent and begin to love your enemy, as the Messiah has taught us. Bless the Jews instead of cursing them. Then you will flourish as nations. No human can naturally love his enemy, but when you ask Jesus the Messiah to do it through you, a miracle will happen.
Message for Christians:
The conflict between Israel and Hamas is more than a human conflict. There are spiritual powers in the unseen world who are opposed to God and His purpose. This is not a battle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore, put on your armor and pray for both peoples and their leaders to come to know Christ as their Lord. God reveals himself to those who do not ask for Him and lets himself be found by those who do not seek Him (Romans 10:20).
When you speak about the conflict, you don’t have to choose sides. When Joshua met the commander of God’s army near Jericho, he asked, ‘Are you for us or for our adversaries?’ (Joshua 5:13). ‘Neither,’ he replied. God loves all of His Creation and wants all of them to be saved. May the evil be overcome by good (Romans 12:21).
For more information about the history of Israel / Palestine, see Who are the Palestinians?
For more information about the Islam, see Is Islam a religion of peace? and The true believers – who are real Muslims and Christians?
(1) https://sunnah.com/bukhari:2476, https://sunnah.com/ibnmajah:4077, https://sunnah.com/muslim:2922, https://sunnah.com/muslim:2921a, https://sunnah.com/muslim:2921c, https://sunnah.com/muslim:2921d
(3) Other miraculous acts of saving by God: An army of only 300 soldiers overcame an uncountable enemy (Judges 7:19-25). One time, God intervened by causing large hailstones to fall on the Amorite armies (Joshua 10:10-11). Another time He intervened with thunder, bringing confusion to the Philistine army (1 Samuel 7:7-12).