Check Your Premises

By Bud Hancock

Definition of the word premise: (a) A proposition upon which an argument is based or from which a conclusion is drawn, (b) something assumed or taken for granted.

“Contradictions do not exist.  Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises.  You will find that one of them is wrong.”  Ayn rand from her novel, Atlas Shrugged.

In the Middle East, there are many ongoing conflicts, but the one that is the most controversial, the most discussed and argued over is the ages old conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbors; in this conflict, there is, or at least seems to be, a glaring contradiction.  While examining the latest anti-Israel UN resolution that was passed by the Security Council on 12/23/2016, I was reminded of the quote by Ayn Rand in her classic book, “Atlas Shrugged”.  Ayn Rand stated that there are no real contradictions, only an error in the premises of those who view what they perceive to be contradictions.

On May 15, 1948, Israel became, again, a nation, existing on some of its original land given to Abraham and his descendants by God for an eternal possession, as outlined in the Book of Genesis.  Since 1948, when Israel was formed as the Jewish State by declaration of the United Nations, there have been numerous wars between Israel and her neighbors, some involving arms and soldiers, others ‘wars of words.’ In each of the armed battles, Israel has been the clear victor.  For a very small nation (about the size of New Jersey) it would seem impossible for all the outcomes to have favored the Jewish State, but historically this is the accurate fact.

However, in the war of words, the outcome of the many battles has not always favored the tiny nation.  It certainly appears that most of the nations of the world, specifically those belonging to the United Nations, hold the world-view that Israel is in violation of some international law that forbids them from building in the land promised to them by God.  The UN Security Council resolution just passed (Resolution 2334) reinforces that world view and firmly illustrates what seems to be a contradiction. 

In my view, the real contradiction is based on the premise that a “two-state solution” is reachable in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, based on the ‘lofty statement’ and declaration of the members of the UNSC. The so-called solution has been discussed, nearly ad infinitum, and pushed to some degree, by nearly every government leader, diplomat, journalist and pundit for many years, and is still as elusive as ever.

If, as I believe, the failure to find a solution is the quintessential contradiction, then it is time to examine the premises.  The world view premise, as held by the many nations of the UN whose stance resembles open anti-Semitism, is that a solution can be reached if they consistently, and continuously pressure Israel to accept THEIR idea of a solution. 

The premise is based on their belief that what they decide as a group in the ‘hallowed assembly’ of the UN building automatically becomes “international law.” Hence, they use the same tactics to try to enforce their view on Israel.  Knowing the small size of Israel, compared to the giant nations of Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States, as well as the multitude of Arab nations in the US that despise Israel, one would think that they should have achieved their objective of a two-state solution years ago, the very fact that they have not suggests that their premise is questionable.

The premise of this distorted world view is that their ‘unified voice’ has more power and influence in the world than the voices that oppose their solution; it also presumes that, just because they voiced it in the UN Forum makes it irrefutable.  They view tiny Israel from the lofty height of the UN and deem the esteemed international body as having the responsibility, or worse, the right, to determine the future of a sovereign nation, regardless of its size, and regardless of how that nation received the land and its title deed.  Regardless of the validity of their premise, they appear to have made the decision to adhere to it and are not perceiving any consequences of their decision, either to themselves, their various populations, or to the world.

The other premise involved in the apparent contradiction is that of the Jewish people of Israel themselves, but more importantly, the person who granted them the land on which they now live for an eternal inheritance.  The Ancient of Days, Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob declared this and it is recorded for our benefit, indeed the benefit of the whole world, in the Book of Genesis.

Genesis 15:18 records the words of Almighty God when he made a blood covenant with Abraham (Abram) and stated: Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” 

God continues in verses 19-21 to name the inhabitants of the land that were to be given into the hands of Abraham.  Nowhere does God mention a separate state for any people within the boundaries of the land which He gave to Abraham and his descendants.  This is enough for me to state the conclusion, in my opinion, that a ‘two-state solution’ within those boundaries is NOT an achievable solution.  The premise upon which my conclusion is based is the settled Word of God, recorded in the Book.

So, we now have two opposing premises that appear to constitute a contradiction.  On the one hand, we have  the premise shared by most of the nations that make up the United nations body, a premise that says they have the right to determine the outcome of the centuries-old conflict between Israel and her neighbors.  Their premise also seems to indicate that Israel has the responsibility to obey their dictates.  On the other hand is the premise as stated by God in Genesis that the land in question irrevocably belongs to the descendants of Abraham. 

Even when God was angry with Israel for their disobedience to His commandments and removed them from their land, dispersing them throughout the world as punishment for that disobedience, He had already prophesied in many instances that He would bring them back to the land promised to them.  The Jewish diaspora began shortly after the Romans destroyed the Holy Temple and Jerusalem in AD 70 and continued until May 15, 1948.

The very fact that the Jewish people, who for nearly 2000 years during the diaspora, maintained their ethnic and religious identity and returned to the very land from which they were disperse is proof that the Hand of God was involved in their lives all along. 

In view of the apparent fact that the world view holders who presented their ‘resolution’ at the UN do not seem to believe in God, at least not the God of Israel, we need to compare their premise to that of the Ancient of Days to determine which premise is more valid.  For any person who claims to be a Christian, and who believes that the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New testament, is the forever-settled Word of God, this determination is simple.

It only requires an examination of the proof of land ownership presented to the UN by the ‘so-called’ Palestinians, which is, and always has been, a distortion of history, recorded by many scribes in many languages. Beside the settled word of God in the matter, there are so many archaeological proofs of the history of the Jewish nation and its connection the land of Israel, now being erroneously claimed by the Palestinians, as to make their premise totally worthless. 

The mere fact that so many godless nations have chosen to align themselves with the enemies of Israel in an attempt to have us all accept their distorted version of history, and regard their decision as an end to the conflict by forcing Israel to divide the land promised to them by God, and especially Jerusalem, the city where God placed HIS great name, is enough to refute their premise as having any validity. However, there are many who all themselves Christians who have obviously decided that the “new history” presented by the Palestinians gives legitimacy to their claims.

One very important consideration, and the one that is frequently overlooked, or ignored is the statement made by God of the consequences of dividing “HIS land”, and especially the city of Jerusalem; those consequences are recorded in Zechariah 12:3, which says: “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” 

To any Christian listening to the voice of the UN that declares the Jewish people to be “occupiers” of  the land belonging to the Palestinians, I have two warnings: (1) Be very careful whose word you believe and cling to.  If you name yourself as a Christian, you must choose the Word of the God of Abraham as the truth and cling to it.  2) If you say that you do this and still see any contradiction regarding the conflict between  Israel and her enemies, CHECK YOUR PREMISES, YOU WILL FIND THAT ONE OF THEM IS WRONG.