THE ISRAEL REPORTSeptember/October 2000
Prayer Focus From Jerusalem - Heal Our Land
REUVEN DORONOCT 8, 2000
"On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth." [Isaiah 62:6-7 NAS]We appreciate the E-mails and phone calls from many of our friends who care and stand in prayer on our behalf. Our family is doing fine, all things considered, and going on with daily life and ministry, though not without the grief and adjustments due to the recent painful events. You have heard the news and seen the TV reports, and I am sorry to tell you that the situation on the ground here has been as bad as the media portrayed, and even worse in some places.
I was grieved when the riots broke out, but not surprised. We have long warned that we are not to be lulled by the attempts and promises of man to resolve the Middle East dilemma by human ingenuity, but rather must stay alert and watchful since we are sitting on a time bomb which will go off sooner or later. Well, it did, and I don't see relief in sight.
As Jerusalem came under virtual siege last week with blocked roads and mass violent demonstrations on all sides but the western side, transportation in our area has been somewhat stressed and sometimes risky, depending on where one travels. Three days ago I was addressing a crowd of one thousand international prayer delegates who gathered in Jerusalem in order to intercede during the Ten Days of Awe. The complex where the meeting was held was nearly evacuated due to its proximity (a quarter of a mile) to Bethlehem and to the gunfire. Obviously, prayer prevailed, and the convocation continued as planned.
All of us here have to take the situation into account as we conduct ourselves these days. Our daughter has to be careful and mindful when she takes public transportation in and out of Jerusalem (the music academy she attends is in the heart of the city). For the same reasons I canceled a planned family trip to the Golan Heights since the Galilee was temporarily cut off from central Israel. The main roads have been under siege of thousands of violent Arab demonstrators hurling Molotov cocktails, rocks, and live fire on Israeli traffic passing by Arab villages.
Indeed, the "Genie came out of its bottle," and for the first time since 1948 Israeli Arab citizens (which number nearly 1,000,000) have joined the Palestinian Arab rage against Israel. This unnerving fact, plus the intensity and breadth of the violence throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza, have shocked the Israeli public. This week, even our most dovish and compromising friends have gone through a rude awakening as to the nature of our dilemma and the bankruptcy of the political process.
I am convinced that, as painful and sorrowful as these times are, there are no short cuts to the promised peace and harmony in the region. In fact, I believe that God is working during these times, accomplishing His purpose, even as Psalm 76:10 says, "for the wrath of man shall praise Thee." The future will prove to all who have eyes to see that only a genuine change of heart will heal the region's ills, and that change, we know, only the gospel can effect as it draws man to God and He redeems and transforms our broken lives.
The living God has chosen to place the two most wounded and troubled people groups in world history, the Jewish and the Arab, together in this tiny speck of land, here to work the miracle which will touch the whole world. Ishmael still cries in the desert, broken hearted and rejected by his father Abraham (Gen 21:17), while Jacob still wrestles with the Angel of the Lord as he tries to reenter the land fearing Esau's rage and violence (Gen 32:24). Only God can heal these hearts; and His medicine, the Word and the Spirit, are our only recourse.
At this writing, Sunday morning, the situation continues to deteriorate as, in addition to wide spread "mini battles" surrounding Israeli settlements and villages throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza, our northern border, as well, has become a battle zone with mortar and automatic fire coming from Hizballa positions. Yesterday, three isolated Israeli soldiers were captured and taken captive into Lebanon, an act which will undoubtedly draw a sharp response. The relative calm which typified our northern border following the pullout of our forces from the security belt in southern Lebanon four months ago was shattered with renewed fighting.
Following these ten days of unrestrained Palestinian violence and limited Israeli military response, Israel finds herself with a collapsing peace process while facing hostile Lebanese and Syrian borders, in addition to one million Israeli Arab citizens whose allegiance is now in serious question. Prime Minister Barak, himself shaken and awakened by these events, has given Chairman Arafat an ultimatum of forty eight hours to bring his people under control, or suffer the brunt of a full scale Israeli military action which will quell the violence with force.
Having experienced the Arab, Middle-Eastern mentality, and especially when driven by religious and demonized Islamic fervor with cries of "Jihad" in the air, I fear that this ultimatum will not change the over all Arab posture. Any demonstration of restraint, patience, or sympathy on the part of Israel has historically been understood as a sign of weakness by her opponents, inviting further violence and demands. In fact, I suspect that Israel's compliant and accommodating posture during the recent years of desperate attempts to "rescue" the peace process time and again have contributed to, if not caused, the recent breakdown.
Such perceptions of a weak and compromising Israel actually encourage Arab convictions that the Jewish state is an idolatrous temporal phenomenon which can be brought to its demise with another big push, or an extended season of wearing down, as is the case now. Naturally speaking, the only wise and compassionate recourse is to respond in, and display, the opposite spirit, that of strength and confidence. The alternative will be a drawn out and costly wrestling match. The best course of action right now (short of national repentance and a return to God) is for Israel to firm up her stand and draw clear lines.
A. The Arab violence must be quelled immediately and decisively. If we had given in to violence in 1948 there would be no State of Israel today.Pushed to the corner with wide spread internal Arab unrest within Israeli cities and villages, deadly assaults on Israeli settlements in the territories, open violations of the basic peace process agreements, and heating borders, the Israeli leadership may resort to harsh military rule and curfews to restore order, accompanied with swift and decisive military responses to end the violence. I hope that the present situation will be brought under restraint before more lives are lost, yet at the same time I believe that we should be prepared for an extended and difficult season of violent eruptions, unrest, international pressures, and tension on our borders.
The participation of some Israeli Arabs in the attacks and riots against Israeli civilians and police is of grave concern to most Israelis and considered seditious, as these Arabs are citizens of Israel. The potential effect of a growing fifth column is a red line that Israelis would prefer not to consider, for that would put the majority of Israel's Arab citizens (over one million Arabs are Israeli citizens) under the shadow of treasonous suspicion. How can any government control one fifth of her population turned treacherous and unreliable? Indeed, we have a nation within a nation, and only by divine grace and wisdom can this work.
Obviously, this battle is not fought on the ground only, but also in the international arena of public opinion. Four main points are consistently pushed by Palestinian spokesmen and the media. All of them are discolored, yet are gaining momentum due to excessive repetition and the general air of deception, which saturates the entire drama.
At the risk of boring you with technical and political details I will depart from our usual spiritual "high ground," and address these points in order to arm you with the truth, which is sadly lacking in most of the media reporting. Some of the comments below were compiled from various sources, and I especially drew upon Tony Black's analysis. This is the land where "the word became flesh," and all spiritual principles and allegories relentlessly translate into earthly realities, which test the heart of all who touch them.
DECEPTION # 1: THE PALESTINIAN RIOTS ARE BUT AN EXPECTED REACTION TO A BLATANT ISRAELI PROVOCATION WITH THE VISIT OF (RIGHT WING LEADER) ARIEL SHARON TO THE TEMPLE MOUNT ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28.Not necessarily approving the timing of Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, we must remember that Israeli politicians have visited this area many times in the past, as has Sharon, without drawing such fire from the Palestinian camp. The fact is that thousands of Israelis and tourists from all over the world visit this site daily without causing riots.
Since the Temple Mount has been under Israeli sovereignty following the 1967 six-day war, Israeli police post is located on the northwestern corner of the compound, and armed Israeli soldiers regularly patrol the area. All this to say that Sharon's visit on September 28 did not introduce any new dynamics into the arena. The recent eruption of violence has nothing to do with Israeli provocation or defilement of the Islamic shrines, but everything to do with a strategic decision by the Palestinian Authority to allow the use of violence in order to gain more ground in the so-called peace negotiations.
This Temple Mount plaza is part of the area of Mount Moriah, where the Bible says (and archeology confirms) that Solomon's and Herod's Temples stood, and where Jesus taught and prayed. This area is promised to the Jewish people as the heart of their biblical inheritance, and will be the focus of worldwide pilgrimage and devotion at the end of the age. Islam has long attempted to replace the Jewish people on "ground zero," the very place where the Messiah of Israel will establish His glorious throne, and the battle we witness on earth is in fact fueled from hell itself. Don't let the winds of deception pull you into humanistic notions. Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount in her midst, is the grand prize, and her warfare will test every nation and people on earth as it is written.
DECEPTION # 2: "THE RIOTS WERE SPONTANEOUS, AND ARAFAT HAS NO CONTROL OVER HIS PEOPLE."Prior to Sharon's visit, on Wednesday Sept 27, two explosive devices were detonated by Palestinian terrorists near Netzarim, a Jewish farming community in the Gaza Strip, mortally wounding a 19-year-old Israeli army medic. Armed Arabs then proceeded to attack the Israeli soldiers present with submachine guns.
During Sharon's visit on Thursday Sept 28, three Arab Israeli parliament members who followed him led chants of "murderer, out", stirring up Moslem bystanders. After Sharon left, Palestinian worshippers began throwing stones, bottles and chairs at police, who responded with tear gas. Arafat then called Sharon's visit "a dangerous process conducted by Sharon against Islamic sacred places," and called upon Arab and Moslem states to take action to protect the Islamic holy shrines.
This was followed with a statement by the Moslem Brotherhood Movement's Central Committee in Jordan, stating, "This is an atrocious act which requires Moslem and Arab leaders to declare jihad (holy war) to liberate ... the shrines in Jerusalem," calling for "shedding the blood of those Jews if they implement their outrageous crime and establish their alleged temple in the yards of the blessed Al-Aksa Mosque." These words, as well as many other official militant statements by Palestinian leaders, were the fuel that ignited the streets.
As is often the situation, the hysteria and chaos spread like wild fire among the Palestinian communities, and riots broke out in various hot spots. On Friday, Sept 29, an early morning joint patrol of Israeli and Palestinian soldiers (part of the Oslo peace process security framework) were drinking coffee together while on break. As the Israelis returned to their jeep, one of the Palestinian soldiers, Nail Suliman, walked over to the Israeli jeep, shouted "Allahu akbar" (Allah is great), and emptied his clip into the heart of one of the Israeli soldiers, Joseph Tabaja, a 27-year old immigrant from Ethiopia, killing him and wounding his partner.
This Palestinian soldier then escaped to the Palestinian Authority controlled area where he turned himself over and was temporarily detained (pending a quick trial and soon release, as is the norm in these matters). Palestinian officials immediately issued a complaint that the Israeli forces had provoked (!) Suliman into murdering them.
I bring this early insane incident to your attention as only one example of the level of brazen deception, treachery, and twisted logic Israel is facing. The world cannot, and will not, understand that. While I do believe that Arafat has lost control over the Palestinian street as many of his people despise and disrespect him, he can, never the less, quell the violence if he wants to. But does he? Right now, according to his reasoning, he is gaining international favor and clout, while isolating Israel and cornering her into a tight spot. This, in Islamic logic, is worth the blood of many "martyrs."
DECEPTION # 3: "ISRAELIS WERE THE FIRST TO SHOOT, PERPETRATING A MASSACRE OF YOUNG CHILDREN AND RESCUE TEAMS. THEY DID NOT USE PROPER ANTI-RIOT CONTROL BUT SHOT TO KILL."As written earlier, the first riots occurred Thursday, Sept 28, on the Temple Mount after Ariel Sharon departed. Thirty Israeli policemen and four Palestinians were lightly wounded, and only one round of tear gas was fired by Israeli police. On Friday, Sept 29, just after the noon prayers as Moslem worshippers began to exit the mosques on the Temple Mount, hundreds of them tried to overpower Israeli Border Patrol guards and began to throw stones over the retaining wall down onto Jewish worshippers 120 feet below as they were praying by the Western Wall.
With over 22,000 rioting Moslems on the Mount, the situation was explosive. At that point Israeli Border Patrol reinforcements entered the Mount and began to disperse the rioters, first using rubber bullets and tear gas. This scenario has been the norm for the last ten days with violent armed Palestinian masses storming Israeli civilian communities and blocking main roads and junctions. What would any other government do to secure its citizens?
During the past days of rioting, four Israeli mobile intensive care units and eleven ambulances were shot at, damaged, or destroyed by rioting Palestinians. During an intense firefight between Palestinians armed with machine guns attacking the Netzarim outpost in the Gaza Strip, a 12-year old boy and his father were caught in the middle of a murderous crossfire. The boy was shot dead and his father was wounded. It is not clear whose bullets killed the boy, though the Israeli forces took responsibility for the tragedy, nor does that fact matter for his father and family. Some bystanders said that he was participating in the stoning of the Israeli outpost when his father came to drag him home.
So far, the Israeli forces were ordered to only respond to shootings, and that with the greatest restraint. Casualties are inevitable when violent confrontations occur, and the moral responsibility for them is upon the perpetrators and initiators of the violence. The situation might escalate yet, as Arab rioting is spilling into Israel's main cities. Jerusalem's southern neighborhoods came under live fire in the last two nights coming from a nearby Palestinian village, and our own area in the Judean Mountains west from Jerusalem was sealed this morning (Sunday, Oct 9) due to a bomb scare by a nearby mall.
DECEPTION # 4: "PEACE CAN BE RESTORED AND THE PEACE PROCESS RESUMED WHEN THE ISRAELIS WITHDRAW FROM THE ARAB AREAS IN QUESTION. ANYTHING LESS WILL LEAD TO CONTINUED VIOLENCE."Now we are getting to the heart of the matter. During the riots, Arafat and his negotiators released unofficial demands for stopping the riots. (How can one stop that which one has not started?.) These include Israeli forces surrendering all outposts who were being attacked by Palestinian forces; an official Israeli apology for having responded with force to mob violence and shootings; and total removal of all Israeli forces from the Temple Mount.
In other words, the bully mentality says: 'give me what I demand or I will continue to hurt you.' Unfortunately, we are not dealing with a rational western nation here, but with a Middle Eastern violent mentality, which is further reinforced by deep Islamic religious obsessions. Peace is every Israeli's dream, but what kind of peace? One can have warm peace with a democratic state where the majority voice prevails and secures rationale and sanity. But we are not dealing with democracies, rather with unstable dictatorships, where peace is attainable only when supported and secured by a deterring force. Not unlike the peace the US has kept with Russia during the long years of the Cold War.
THE HISTORICAL ROOTInsecurity, jealousy, and selfish ambition sadly influence the Arab mindset, and are at the heart of our present traumatic trials. How can one humanly satisfy the bottomless pit of Arab need and woundedness? After all, poverty, persecution, and social chaos are rampant in the Arab nations independent of Israel, and should be viewed as such. Hagar and Ishmael did not develop their rejected and abandoned attitude in the wilderness, rather, they were sent away because of it. As it is written concerning Hagar, ".and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight." (Gen 16:4 NASB)
Humanly speaking, Sarah and Abraham couldn't deal with the accusatory and despising spirit that came from her and her son, and a separation was necessary. Only God could deal with such hearts, and He did when He saved the lad and secured his destiny. Still, the darkness traveled down the generations carrying the matriarchal poison of ambition, jealousy, and hatred toward her mistress and her mistress' offspring.
It could have been stopped at Hagar's first encounter with the Lord in Geneses 16, when He identified her as "Sarah's maid," and questioned her flight. She was on the run even before the child was born as her heart was already poisoned with ambition and lust for Sarah's position. God, however, showed her mercy and sent her back to serve in Abraham's household. Hagar had nearly twenty years from this point of divine encounter to the moment of her casting away. Years in which she not only did not repent from her past attitudes, but nurtured her pride and hardened her heart. In effect, she resisted the God who showed her grace and mercy by resisting His plan.
Isaac was not a surprise. The witness of the divine visitation and conception was well known, and Hagar had plenty of opportunity to fall in line with the plan. But her heart was too proud. "I will ascend" was her attitude, and this seed fell into her son's heart. The prevailing spirit which still afflicts the corporate Arab soul as it relates to the Hebrew nation today is often resentment, envy, and ambition. Because of this spiritual principle the Arab people cannot accept Israel's offer of coexistence, but rather find themselves, sometimes in spite of themselves, lusting after her tiny inheritance and position with God.
Contrary to Arab propaganda, Israel isn't the source of the Arab problems; rather the Israeli Arabs enjoy a quality of life, which far exceeds the Palestinian conditions in any other Middle Eastern nation where they are dispersed and persecuted among their own brethren. In fact, some of their greatest modern day calamities and massacres occurred in neighboring Arab countries by the hands of their so-called kin. Still, the ancient wound is not healed through repentance and faith in God, and their deep cry goes on and on. Yet, only God can restore the sense of identity and wholeness of this family, and only God will.
Even Esau, with all his troubles and trials, appears to have been gathered back into the plan of God as he accepted Jacob back into the land of their fathers. It was the introduction of the spirit of Islam into the Arab tribes in the seventh century, which darkened the stage beyond repair and set the Arab woundedness firmly into spiritual and religious frameworks. Their plight now became a religion. With Islam's empowerment, the Arab ancient wound becomes a noble destiny, a divine mission to replace the despised Jew and ascend to the family's top rank.
HOW TO PRAY?The biblical priority is to pray for Israel's salvation. Rom.11: 15 says that Israel's salvation will transform the Middle East and bring life from the dead to all the peoples of the world. God has purposed to bring life to this people; the enemy has purposed to bring death. Pray that God will bring resurrection life out of death, salvation out of destruction, and mercy out of judgment.
* Pray for God to open the eyes of His people to their crucified Messiah, and that He would establish His Kingdom of peace and justice upon the earth. Remember that interceding for Israel's salvation, her entering into God's magnificent purposes, and her call to be a light to the nations - all are being opposed by the enemy. * Pray for whatever peace can be preserved, be it even a temporary one, which is based on clear-eyed discernment and courage on the part of Israeli leaders. (2 Tim.2: 1-4)Thank you for praying. Following is the prayer alert from Lars Enarson of Watchmen International, who lives in Haifa and ministers throughout Israel and the nations. His call for urgent immediate prayer is timely, and I thank you for taking his burden to heart, as we do.
From Jerusalem, the eye of the storm, we bless you.
The Embrace Israel Prayer Focus from Jerusalem is prepared regularly by Pastor Reuven Doron, director of Embrace Israel Ministries. This is provided free of charge to a select group of intercessors around the world. If you would like to be on our mailing list to receive our bi-monthly newsletter, please contact us via phone, FAX, e-mail or postal mail as indicated at the end of this transmission. Please include your name, mailing address and phone number with all correspondence. Thank you!Embrace Israel Ministries
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