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Religious History Behind Gaza War

Posted 3/5/24

To the Editor:

In the war in Gaza, now in its fifth month, there was a heart rending telephone recording of a beautiful 6 year old girl, Hind Rajah, pleading for help, “come take …

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Religious History Behind Gaza War


To the Editor:

In the war in Gaza, now in its fifth month, there was a heart rending telephone recording of a beautiful 6 year old girl, Hind Rajah, pleading for help, “come take me”, to the Red Crescent rescue service after an Israeli tank fired on and killed all but Hind of the occupants packed into a car trying to flee from the Israeli army. Two men sent to rescue Hind were also found dead in their ambulance days after the military left the area. (Google “Democracy Now.org” and find the program on Friday, February 16, 2024, for this gruesome report that went viral around the world).

Why is there is there no outrage in the United States to Israel's brutal assualt on Gaza that makes the violence on Oct. 7, 2023, by Hamas look small in comparison? Who is the greater terrorist? For every one of the 14,000 children dismembered and killed, three children survive with the loss of one or more limbs and/or permanent bodily injury.

The terms of a ceasefire offered by the government of Gaza, Hamas, through Arab mediators, seems reasonable to me and to millions of people around the world: Ceasefire, unrestricted humanitarian aid, release of Israeli hostages in exchange for release of Palestinian prisoners, withdrawal of IDF from Gaza, and a guarantee of equal rights for the Palestinian people with Hamas as a participating party. Both Israel and President Biden rejected this!

One major complicating factor against peace in Gaza, not present in the war in Ukraine, is the distorted role of religion. Christians, Jews, and Muslims acknowledge a common ancestor, Abraham. Jews and Christians descend from Abraham's son, Isaac, by Sarah, and Arabs/Muslims/Christians descend from Abraham's first son, Ishmael, by an Egyptian slave woman, Hagar. God promised Abraham and Hagar, “I will so greatly multiply your offspring [through Ishmael] that they cannot be counted for multitude” (Genesis 16:10). The same promise was made to Abraham about Isaac as told in the Bible. The story of Ishmael is told in Islamic literature and in the notes in the Christian Bible.

The point is that Jews and Arabs/Palestinians are both blessed equally by the God of Abraham and are given equal stature in the pre-1948 land of Palestine. The expressed attempt to depopulate Gaza is an affront to the covenant of God with Abraham and Isaac.

The prophecy in the book of Isaiah and in other prophetic writings provides the special role of Israel to the world. In Isaiah 2: 1-4, Israel is commanded “For out of Zion shall go forth instruction” (v. 3) which includes beating swords into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks, and setting the standard that “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (v. 4). Modern day Israel has corrupted and twisted the thrust of the true Jewish faith of waging peace, not war, on their cousins, the Palestinians.

Western countries, who have supported Israel's right to exist and defend itself, have been lied to repeatedly for 75 years by Israeli political and religious extremists into believing that Israel is God's chosen people, when actually their cousins, the native Palestinians, were equally chosen from the beginning with Abraham by God to co-inhabit Palestine these past 3000 years.

Immediately stop the killing of the Hind's in Palestine, ceasefire, and pursue justice and peace.

Paul Lehmann, 

Ordained Minister in the Christian faith


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