I read with interest Bill Morrison’s recent letter stating Israel is entitled to lay claim to much of the Middle East, including parts of Egypt, all of Lebanon and Syria, half of Iraq, and the northern half of Jordan, because of a biblical covenant between God and Abraham
Morrison quotes scripture which reads “Unto thy seed have I given this land.” This suggests Abraham’s children are entitled to the promised land. However, the scripture has been narrowly interpreted to exempt all descendants of Abraham except those who are specifically descendants of Isaac’s son, Jacob. This interpretation would disinherit and dispossess most of Abraham’s children and their descendants, including his son Ishmael and all six of his sons begat by his second wife, Keturah.
There is more to the Bible than the narrative of the Chosen People and the birthright covenant. This includes the Ten Commandments and the instruction of Luke 6:31 to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
To blindly support Israel’s apartheid policies against Arab Bedouins and Palestinians in occupied territory would violate several of the Ten Commandments and the instruction of Luke 6:31. In addition to that, Israel’s settlement construction and population transfer in occupied territory violate international law, Geneva Conventions, the United Nations Charter and obligations of existing peace agreements Israel has already signed like Oslo and the Road Map.
Without regard to validity of the birthright narrative itself, logic suggests if the Promised Land belongs to the Jewish people, it would be appropriate to determine if a majority of the worldwide Jewish population agrees or disagrees with Israel’s apartheid and ethnic cleansing policies in occupied territory. These policies are designed to prevent a Palestinian state and ultimately displace or drive out Palestinians. While its policies indicate a desire to repeat the biblical conquest of Canaan, Israel cannot exterminate or drive out the Palestinians as Joshua did in the Old Testament.
Palestinians seek freedom and self-determination in their own state under UN resolution 181. They have a right to protest and lawfully resist Israel’s illegitimate occupation. When they do, Israel labels them as terrorists, beats them, arrests them, jails them and often shoots them.
President Donald Trump is a famous dealmaker. He probably won’t give Israel everything it demands without appropriate matching concessions. Those concessions must produce a just and fair accommodation for two states before Israel’s ongoing settlement construction closes the window of opportunity.
Zionists say anyone opposing Israel’s settlement construction and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in occupied territory is anti-Semitic and “hates Israel.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Support for a two-state solution comes not only from recognition of international law and human rights for Palestinians, it comes also from love of Israel as a secure homeland of the Jewish people.
In the absence of a credible, negotiated peace agreement creating two viable states for two peoples, Israel will eventually be neither democratic nor Jewish. To avoid that, we must demand justice, peace, and coexistence today.