Israel and Hamas – two standards of law

Western Wall. Under a two state solution, Jews could not approach it.
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Israel and Hamas have different standards of behavior and law. That difference goes far to weigh their competing claims to the Holy Land.

How does Israel lay a claim?

Israel bases its claim to the Holy Land, or Promised Land, on a promise by God, valid earlier buys and treaties, and a direct gift of God. The Bible (Tanakh) does not even give Israel credit for its military conquests. It says that God gave Israel’s enemies into Israel’s hand.

The grounds: the tribes of Canaan made human sacrifices. That is the ugliest and most horrible thing that any society can tolerate, let alone make the law of the land. The Bible has a reason why that means so much to God: God made man in His image, so anyone who destroys man, especially as a sacrifice, incurs His wrath. That is the first death penalty in the Bible: a penalty not only against human murderers, but against man-killing beasts, too.

How does Israel lay its specific claim to the Holy Land?

The Bible makes several claims, in order. First, Abraham bought a burial-place for his family at Machpelah from the Hittites. Second, Abraham and Isaac made two separate treaties with the earliest known newcomers to Gaza, the Avvites. Third, Jacob bought a parcel of land near Shechem. Fourth, Israel went into the land after the Exodus, under direct Divine orders to clean out the human sacrificers.

The next specific claim was Judge Jephthah’s communiqué to the king of the Ammonites, in 1151 BC. (Amman, capital of Jordan, sits in the old Ammonite country.) These Ammonites were occupying the Land of Israel at the time. Jephthah wrote to the king, to insist that he withdraw his troops and ask him why they were there. The Ammonite then accused the Israelites of taking possessions that had belonged to the Ammonites. (If that sounds familiar, it should. The Arabs make the same claims.)

Jephthah proved (Judges 11:13-27) that Israelite territory had never included original Ammonite territory. Furthermore, the Israelites had settled in the land for three hundred years by then. Even if the Ammonites had a valid claim, they had waited too long to press it.

Of course, the Ammonites rejected the communiqué. So Jephthah went to war, and won.

Today, the Jews want Israel for one reason only: it is the land that God promised them. If they wanted to conquer any lands beyond the Middle East, they would feel no compulsion to return to Israel. To the contrary, they would seek the very sort of control that many accuse them of seeking, with scurrilous (and fraudulent) diatribes like The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

How does Hamas lay a claim?

Most of the covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is a review of the Koran and other Muslim traditions. But it does make a central claim on Israel, or “Palestine.” The claim is this: any land that Muslims took by force is sacred to them. And the only reason that any Muslim gives for taking any land by force is that “Allah” has ordered them to conquer the world. Their accusations against the Jews are secondary. The Jews are in their way, and they will sweep them out of the way. Everything else is incidental.

How can anyone settle the competing claims?

In a just world, even laying aside competing visions of the future, one would realize at once that the Hamas standard is a double standard. “What’s mine is mine; what’s thine is mine to take.” The Israel standard has its basis in law. The Bible is, if nothing else, a legal document. The Koran is a thieves’ manifesto. The Bible appeals to judgment; the Koran appeals to force.

Even laying this aside: notice that the Ammonite claim and the Hamas claim are the same claim.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The two claims express the same thoughts in almost the same words. And they ring just as hollow, and for the same reasons. When Jephthah sent his communiqué, Israel had lived in the land for three hundred years. More recently, at least some Jews have lived in Israel for thirty-five hundred years. The Arabs came and took the land by force—and the best that anyone can say about that is to paraphrase the Book of Judges:

In time the people of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Muhammadans and the Umayyad Dynasty and the Baghdad Caliphate and the Ottoman Empire. But they cried out unto the LORD, and the LORD raised him up judges to deliver the people.

Those judges have names that every Westerner ought to remember. You know most of their names: Theodor Herzl, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, David Ben-Gurion, and David “Mickey” Marcus. And literally hundreds of others. (Tonight, Rush Limbaugh named Binyamin Netanyahu as another such judge, and as much a judge of America as of Israel.) And someday, Israel will have a King, a King over the whole earth.

Until then, in Israel and Hamas, the Middle East offers up prize examples of justice and injustice. And all men must now choose between them.

Featured image: the Western Wall, the retaining wall of the Temple Mount. Photo: CNAV

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

13 Responses to Israel and Hamas – two standards of law

  1. Graham says:

    Are you deliberately retarded or did you practice to become that way?

    How do you tie your shoelaces each morning without someone to help you?

    Do us all a favour, study law and become an atorny, we need the laughs that morons like you bring.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Your point being?

      Why don’t you do yourself a favor and learn how to spell, for one thing?

      • Graham says:

        What. The typical response of a fool who knows his argument is empty and specious. Criticise the straw man of someones speeling. It fits your inability to reason.

        You are ignorant of Middle Eastern politics.
        You are ignorant of Middle Eastern history – the bible is NOT a historical manuscript despite what you wish to believe.

        And you are ignorant of basic legal knowledge.

        Quite a set there Terry. 3 ignorants in one go.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          On the contrary, I know all about Middle Eastern history.

          And about deliberate attempts to distort it.

          • Graham says:

            No. You know the history you have been told by the people you chose to listen to. That is not the same thing Terry.

            And why do you display intellectual dishonesty by not publishing my other comment about your double standards in criticising my speeling mistake but not being able to write English grammar correctly yourself 10 minutes later. I would cal lyou a hyporcite but I know that can’t be true.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Ah, now we get to it. You, sir, are a revisionist. You are trying to spread the same revisionist history that Hamas and other Muslim Brotherhood outfits are trying to spread. Maybe that’s whom you got it from.

            Have you even been to Israel? I have. I’ve seen the diggings, and I have walked the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I can tell the difference between a free, and an unfree, country. Can you? Do you care?

          • Graham says:

            Tosh. I am no revisionist, in fact quite the opposite. It is you that is the revisionist and you know it.

            I couldn’t give a fig what the muslim brotherhood say about anything quite frankly.

            A few diggings in the middle east do not make the bible an historical document. It makes it a book that has references to places that exist and events that happened. The Harry Potter books refer to actual areas of London but they are not historical books. I know I will not change your mind, to do that your mind would have to be open in the first place in order to look at evidence and assess it before coming to conclusions.

            You take a conclusion and then seek to distort evidence to fit your world view. You are not alone in this. The Palestinians also do it, as do some Israeis although by no means all. In fact not even the majority do.

            But hey, don’t let that stop you from thinking you speak on behalf of Jews instead of simply parroting the unconsidered viewpoints fed to you by the true revisionist you listen to.

            Now I will leave you alone. I found this site from your linkspamming on conservapedia but I have no intention of trying to alter a fundamentally closed and blinkered mind. You and your views will go the way of all small minded bigots. In the end the ‘views’ you espouse will be no more than an historical footnote.

            Enjoy your delusions of importance. The truth is you have none.

  2. Chris says:

    I simply cannot understand how the Bible can possibly be considered a legitimate legal document.

    “My centuries-old text says that I have the right to this land.”
    “I reject the claim that your text is a true account.”

    If courts of law reject contracts for minor technical points, I don’t see how such a document could possibly hold up, even under the assumption that it is a literal and accurate documentary account of something that occurred four thousand years ago.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That’s just the point: the Bible is a literal an accurate documentary account of the history of ancient Canaan. And of many other things besides. The quality control of the Bible is better than that of any other document known to literature. Mission-critical software should be this secure.

    • Chris says:

      To continue this point, what if another group was to turn up claiming to be descended from the Sumerians, and present The Epic of Gilgamesh as a claim that they owned the same region?

      Or possibly the Iranians (as descendants of the Persians) using The Iliad to claim land that they argue belongs to them.

      The idea of using ancient religious texts as legal documentary evidence leads to all manner of difficulties, unless the court is willing to dictate which religion (and interpretation of specific religious texts) is true (which is substantially beyond the scope of any court, as far as I’m concerned).

      • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

        If another group was to turn up as you describe, I would say the same thing that Judge Jephthah said: “Jews have been living continuously in that land for thirty-five hundred years. And now you show up? Where is your evidence?”

        But no one has shown up as you describe. I defy you to make that happen.

        • Chris says:

          I’m not saying it will. I’m saying that, purely legally, they would have no less of a documentary claim.

          Unless you want an international court to explicitly rule that the Bible is acceptable documentary evidence, the claims of the Bible can be treated as no more valid than those of The Epic of Gilgamesh. Such a ruling cannot possibly be made by the courts, so the documentation provided is moot.

          • Chris says:

            I must point out that I’m not saying that they don’t belong there, by any means.

            Simply that citing the Bible as legal documentary evidence is problematic for a number of reasons:

            1. It is not recognised as true by all of the groups involved with the particular case.
            2. No court can possibly rule on whether it is true or not without massively overstepping its bounds (I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a court deciding which religion/religious documents/interpretation is true and which is not – that sounds like rather severe judicial activism, if nothing else).

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