Email L. Henry Platt, Jr.
PEACE IN PALESTINE: A RECIPE
In order to build a meaningful peace in Palestine, we must first examine what we have, where we as citizens of one world are, and how this all came together. If three men are murdered in Jerusalem at the time of morning prayer, the cost of buying a new car may increase before the sun sets in Honolulu. The land of Palestine has been in flux for over five thousand years (the time when Damascus was first established as a city). During this time countless hundreds of other cities and peoples have waxed and waned - too frequently leaving no more than a small tel in the plain.
The peoples of Palestine are one people; they have shared the same land, and they have intermarried during these same five thousand year. The only difference is that they have called themselves by different names: Medes, Persians, Turks, Israelites, Egyptians, Hittites, Amorites, Babylonians, and so many others as to fill this page. All of these peoples lived together (or at least within twenty or a hundred miles or kilometers of one another) during these five thousand years. Many cities and kingdoms have come and gone, but only Damascus has remained for more than five thousand years. Jerusalem has stood for four thousand years, but great King David reigned in Hebron for seven and a half years before he wrested Jerusalem from the Hittites, who had been the strongest regional government for the preceding seven or eight centuries.
Solomon assumed the throne of Israel after his father, David, died. During Solomon's reign, Israel reached its zenith. King Solomon controlled all of Palestine, and he received tribute of much gold and silver. He negotiated a marriage with a daughter of the Pharaoh (of Egypt). He built a great temple in Jerusalem, and he built a resplendent, grand mansion for himself and his wife. He judged with equity, and he accumulated enormous wealth. This fame and renown were celebrated across three continents, and he was probably the most powerful man on earth at that time.
Five hundred years earlier Abraham had lived in this land. He had migrated from Ur of the Chaldees (Mesopotamia - today - Iraq) to Palestine. During a time of famine he traveled to Egypt, but he returned to Palestine. From that time and that plaice all the peoples look to Abraham as their Patriarch.
In those days Abraham and his wife, Sarah, had no children. After the years of childbearing had passed, Sarah offered her personal servant, Hagar, to bear an heir for him. The son she bore was named Ishmael, and he is reputed to be the patriarch of all the peoples who aren't descended from Isaac. After the birth of Ishmael Sarah became jealous of Hagar, and Abraham was forced to discharge Hagar so she was no longer servant to Sarah; Hagar was free to go with her son Ishmael.
In the years after Hagar and Ishmael had departed, Sarah did miraculously conceive and bear a son, Isaac, for Abraham. Today the Jews cite their ancestry to Abraham through his son, Isaac, and his son, Jacob. The maternal lines of these men included many Hittites as well as other indigenous peoples. This all demonstrates that the peoples of Palestine are indeed one people.
Not only are the people of Palestine one people; they are also members of one large religion! Just as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are all Americans; so, Moslems, Christians, and Jews are all monotheists who worship the God, the One True God who led Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees into Palestine and then onward into Egypt. God led Abraham back to Palestine, and he flourished. Some of Abraham's descendants returned to Egypt and increase in numbers. This great company of Abraham's offspring eventually left Egypt (and slavery) with the Divine help and direction of God.
Let me jump forward to the fortieth year of the reign of Caesar Augustus. At that time Jesus of Nazareth was born, and with him a new faction of Yaweh's followers began to grow. The Jews of that time were not all united in their worship of God, but when Jesus was crucified in the eighteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, a now congregation of believers began to wander from the temple worship of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Eventually the followers of Jesus became sufficiently differentialized from the established Jews, and they assumed Jesus's title and became known as Christians.
Not all of the Peoples of Palestine shared the land with grace and magnanimity. Like so many people of so many lands and generations some became dysfunctional. As dysfunctional individuals are wont to do, a significant portion of the people began to focus and project religious differences as causes and contributing factors in the individual's malaise and personal shortcomings. For the most part the peoples of Palestine lived together in relative harmony, but below the surface the unsuccessful inhabitants of the region occasionally voiced their frustrations.
In the beginning of the seventh century of the Christian Era an astute young camel trader in the city of Mecca became aware of the disharmony among some of his clientele. It saddened Mohammud that these Christians and Jews should be at odds with each other. Soon he was preaching that there is only one God between camel sales. He didn't sell as many camels, but he did attract the attention of an older woman. After Mohammud married this independently wealthy, older woman, he was able to concentrate more of his energies on preaching that there is One God, and that His name is Allah. Mohammud also taught that Allah has a hundred names. (I teach you that The Creator has more than ten thousand names!)
In the year 622 A.D. Mohammud fled from Mecca to Medina. It is from the date of that event that Mohammud's followers count their calendar. So now in the cradle of our civilization (from Egypt to Mesopotamia [Iraq]) there are three major religions which worship the same God using different names and different ceremonies. It is one religion. Moses taught us to respect the needs and rights of strangers within our gates. Jesus taught us to love one another and our neighbors as ourselves. Mohammud taught us to surrender ourselves, our needs, and our frustrations to Allah (God, Jehovah, Great Spirit, Author of coincidence, etc.)
The Peoples of the whole earth need to learn to discern between the peacemakers and those dysfunctional individuals who continually stir up strife and discontent among God's children, and we are all God's children.
Now that we have agreed that the Peoples of Palestine are all one people, it is good to remember that although lofty principles are wonderful, and that they provide us with pure and altruistic goals, that the mundane vicissitudes of daily life require more specific rules and laws for the conduct of business, commerce, and fraternity among people with several slightly differing cultures.
It is therefore imperative that a government and national state derive, create, and administer a government complete with police, armed forces, and concomitant laws and ordinances for an orderly economic and commercial life of the inhabitants. Peace and concord are the foundation of prosperity, but hatred and strife bring desolation.
In Palestine there are several nations, and they include Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon. Three of these have had their names chiseled into the tablets of history for more than three thousand years. King Solomon established peace with Egypt and married a daughter of the Pharaoh. Solomon built his temple using the cedar and fir trees of Lebanon, and he became close friends with King Hiram. Even today the various government leaders of Palestine can all sit and discuss mutual needs and concerns in a civil manner.
Unfortunately, there are unhappy inhabitants of the land who are either unwilling of unable to trust the government of the land which they inhabit. Also, unfortunately, there are instances where the government of a place has not fulfilled its obligations to the inhabitants thereof. Both of these failings contribute mightily to the hatred and strife which have crippled Palestine for so many centuries.
Confucius teaches that peace in the heart begets peace in the family, peace in the family begets peace in the city, peace in the city begets peace in the nation, and that peace in the nation begets peace in the world. Moses, Jesus, and Mohammud tried to promote peace among the people, but, alas, there are still today those unhappy individuals who can see only one solution: "C'est la Guerre."
Many volumes have been written and published on the answers to the questions of relationships between people and their government. Instead of making an attempt at limited suggestions here, I suggest that any group should begin considerations with serious studies of the preamble of the Constitution (of both 1787 and 1972 ), the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the balances of the Constitutions (of both 1787 and 1972). Those documents are not THE answer for Palestine, but their study will provide a basis, a foundation, and. a starting point to mapping out peace.
© L. Henry Platt, Jr.