Every time I think about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, I am reminded of another unsolvable dilemma documented in Tanakh.  In a dispute between two women over a living baby, it illustrates the incomparable wisdom that the Lord gave to Israel's great King Solomon in order to judge and rule over His people.  

The two women lived in the same house, and each gave birth to a son within three days of each other.   The second woman rolled over in her sleep and suffocated her son, who was born three days after the first woman's baby.  Then the second woman laid claim to the first woman's son.  As we remember, to discern who was the true mother of the child, King Solomon said to bring the disputed baby before him along with a large sword.   He proposed dividing the child in half, which was acceptable to the second woman (out of jealousy, spite, anger, resentment, misdirected grief, etc.  I am thinking that there were a lot of negative, ambivalent feelings in this second woman).  But King Solomon's plan was not acceptable to the first woman -- the one who was truly the mother of the live baby in question. The first woman cried out that the baby shouldn't be divided and the child should be given to the second woman.

The first woman knew that dividing her son would kill him.  But her maternal instincts to protect him coupled with her great love for him far outweighed any possible outcome from the dispute.  King Solomon declared that the first woman was, indeed, the mother of the boy in question and he directed that the child be given to this first woman.

I can't help but see parallels between this account and the current political debate held by the international community, the government of the State of Israel, and the Palestinian Authority with regard to disputed territory.  The first woman represents some Israelis, the second woman represents some Palestinians, and the living child is the disputed territory in Israel.  

Some Palestinians say, "Yes!  Let's divide the land!  Give us the West Bank!  Let's divide Jerusalem because there are some Islamic holy sites there that we want to protect!  Oh, and by the way, we'll protect the Christians' holy sites too, because we represent many Arab Christians!" This they say for whatever ambivalent feelings and reasons that they hold (and I don't purport to know what these are that are motivating anyone holding these opinions). 

Yet, some Israelis cry out, saying, "No!  Don't divide our land -- if you do that, we can't adequately defend our country and it might not survive!  This is the Promised Land that we worked so hard and for so long to create!  Don't divide our capital because we won't be able to protect it from external hostile forces that might come against it!  We've loved and nurtured this city from the time of King David!  We can protect Muslim holy sites, along with Jewish holy sites, along with Christian holy sites, as well as preserve this ancient historical city which we all love and share together in its heritage!"

Now, let's throw in a modern twist to King Solomon's ancient saga -- standing next to the king, there is a Child Welfare Advocate (who has a third opinion).  This additional character says, "Since there is a dispute, I think the child should belong to a third party (like the organization employing me) who has the child's best interests in mind and who can properly take care of the child! These two mothers cannot possibly care for this baby -- look!  One has already rolled onto her son in her sleep killing him!"  We can liken this Child Welfare Advocate to the UN or any of those who wish to impose an externally concocted peace solution onto Israelis and Palestinians.

What scares me the most is the possibility of an outsider coming into the picture, whether it is like this Child Welfare Advocate, or a fourth yet-to-be-identified "Neutral Party".  This outsider says, "All of you parties just can't agree on anything!  So let's just make the largest areas of contention into an 'international territory' under our auspices!"  Yet, we'd be hard-pressed to find a completely neutral third, fourth, or fifth party to step in and act as this authority.  People cannot even agree on who or what "the king" is who is supposed to hear the case and make the tough decision(s).  So, what do we do next?

Like in the story of King Solomon, the two women, and the living baby, I think the party who has the greatest love and greatest instinct to protect the disputed territory should indicate to us the rightful custodian.  In reality, I think that Israel should be in authority over the disputed areas.  Israel is the party which has invested the most time, love, effort to build up, and willingness and ability to keep the disputed land safe.  And, I don't say this lightly -- this is also taking into account all of the treaties, resolutions (at least those before the unbelievable UN assembly on 11/30/2016...), declarations, negotiated results after military engagements, etc., made concerning Israel.  I am also boldly asserting this knowing full well what Torah and Tanakh say on the subject (as well as the Koran, which states that Jerusalem was given to the Jews).  This not about any personal gain for me (which is "absolutely NONE") or about a sentimental female choosing what is right based on maudlin sympathies to maternal unconditional love. 

It also occurs to me that there should be no debate over which authority is supposed to be making this decision.  The Great King Who Is Worthy to make the decision has already done so long ago before any of us were born!  He says throughout the Scriptures that He has written His Name in Jerusalem -- if you look carefully, you'll note that the valleys in the central part of the city form a shin (the Hebrew letter representative of the Name of G_d which are placed on most mazuzot, from the phrase "Shomer daltot Yisrael" -- The "Guardian of the Doors of Israel").  Then, there is the example of His Divine Name which He spoke at the Burning Bush on Mount Sinai to the great prophet Moses.  This Divine Name is inexplicably etched in the hills west of Ramallah, and out of all the languages in the world, He wrote it in Hebrew!  There is no other place like this on the face of the planet.  

It's like when we started Kindergarten and/or Elementary School, and our teachers instructed us to "write your name on all your papers and stuff so everybody knows who the true owner is!"  But in this case, The True Owner Whose Name Is Written all over the disputed areas has promised several Hebrew patriarchs (not just Abraham) and the prophet Moses multiple times that He gave this disputed land to the Jews "forever".  

Yet, so many people enmeshed in this struggle claim to worship and obey The Great King!  I pray that all of our eyes be opened to His Truths.  This column is dedicated to all the Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, etc., who choose to live together in the Jewish State of Israel in peace.  Shalom, Salaam, and Peace to you all.  In Christianity, Jesus taught, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of G_d."  (Matthew 5:8.)

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