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TURNING POINT:  Brothers’ War

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 15 October) — A land area known as Palestine is the bone of contention in the current atrocities between Hamas and Israel. It is the root cause of the recurring hostility between the Palestinians and the Israelites.

Hamas, a militant Palestinian group, insists that Palestine now occupied by Israel is historically owned by Palestinians and that Israel has no right to possess and occupy it. Thus, Hamas vowed to drive the Israelites away and erase the state of Israel from the map.

For the Israelites, on the other hand, Palestine is the Promised Land, Canaan, given by God to the descendants of Abraham.  Abraham was the Patriarch of the Hebrew nation which is later known as Israel. Abraham actually resided in Canaan, quite a barren land, before he and his sons moved to Egypt because of a severe drought. His descendants stayed there for 400 years, became a prosperous nation, but later enslaved by their host, until the exodus.

The Israelites found out that the Promised Land where their father Abraham came from was now progressive and was occupied not only by native Canaanites but also by Philistines. The Philistines were invaders from Crete across the Aegean Sea. They first occupied the coastal region north and south of a trading port what is now Gaza, but soon dominated Canaan and adjacent areas, the entire domain of which is later known as Palestine. Over time, the Israelites subdued the Canaanites and the Philistines and established kingdoms of their own – the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. The two kingdoms were wiped out by the Babylonians.

What are now known as Palestinians are not the not descendants of the Philistines, where the term Palestine is clearly derived. The Philistines or Cretans then, like the Greeks and other people in the neighboring areas, worshipped many gods; whereas the Palestinians who are generally Muslims who, like the Jews, worship only one all powerful and all- knowing God; and both claimed that they descended from Abraham. 

Religion is generally hereditary.  The worship of one God as accordingly introduced by Abraham to the polytheistic civilizations of his time was transmitted to his descendants from generation to generation. The belief distinguished them from other people.

So it would appear that the Palestinians and the Israelites are brothers. They came from the same family and are now fighting over an inheritance – the Promised Land. 

The Promised Land is supposed to be a land of peace and abundance not a land wracked by bloodshed, wants, suffering, and sorrow. Because they could not live together as one, then they have to yield to the necessity of living separately as two nations and co-exist as two independent states in the Promised Land. Huge efforts should be exerted by all concerned to return to and hammer out the two-state solution of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

May God who made the promise intervene to stop the internecine conflict from becoming a global war!

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is a retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental)

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