One of the criticisms of America's determination to disarm Iraq according to its UN obligations is that it would detract from America's "war on terror" or "war on terrorism" (in quotation marks because they are both sloppy syntax and sloppy policy). Is terror a verb or a noun -- the state of being terrorized, or the act of terrorism? If people who aren't blown up are terrified by the idea that they might be, is that terrorism? Do we fight terror with Valium? How do we know when we've won and can stop fighting? Six months without a bomb? A year? If victory is time dependent, the initiative remains with the terrorists. If they attack after we declare victory, the victim government will have to minimize its response, lest it be accused of endangering the "peace."
President Bush wisely chose the formulation, "the war against terrorists and the states that harbor and support them." Terrorists need the attributes of states -- sanctuary, training grounds, money, passports, diplomatic status, et. al. And states need the attributes of terrorists -- the ability to kill without leaving a return address for retaliation. A war against both acknowledges the symbiosis and the need to break it. It also suggests that victory will come when leaders find it in their self-interest not to provide the attributes of statehood to terrorists.
In Pakistan, once a safe haven for terrorists, the government decided that the risks of that support are now greater than the risks of cooperating with the US; hence the capture of Khalid Shiekh Mohammed. Pakistan is not perfect, but neither it nor Afghanistan now provides easy sanctuary for terrorists. The more states that make the decision (with or without US military intervention) the closer we are to victory.
Yasser Arafat's PA, on the other hand, has both the attributes of a state and the plausible deniability of terrorists. And yesterday's horrible bus bombing in Haifa reminds us that Israel has been largely engaged in a "war on terror" (preventing or punishing individual acts of terrorism) rather than a war against terrorists and the states that harbor and support them (ensuring that leaders don't support terrorists, and changing leaders if need be).
The President bears some responsibility for this state of affairs. "You are with us, or you are with the terrorists," he said. Yet, although he bows in the direction of regime change for the Palestinians, he couples that with promises of changed Israeli behavior for something less than victory for Israel. "For its part, the new government of Israel, as the terror threat is removed and security improves, will be expected to support the creation of a viable Palestinian state, and to work as quickly as possible toward a final status agreement. As progress is made toward peace, settlement activityÉ must end," he said.
No. The formulation "as progress is made," implies that the Palestinians can get by with less than is required of Saddam, or even less than is required of Pakistan. Arafat had the same opportunity to make a choice that the Taliban had about support for terrorism and that Saddam had about disarming. He made the wrong choice as they did, and the consequence should be meted out to him by Israel as it is to the others by the United States. And the President should support Israel's war. It is the same war.
The following Bible teaching by ICEJ Executive Director Malcolm Hedding is addressed to Christians pondering how to approach the looming war in Iraq.
We face very critical times. It has not escaped anyone's attention that meter-by-meter we are moving towards a possible conflict in this Middle East region. Within many churches there is mounting resistance to a war against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Churches then want to know the stand of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem on this all-important matter.
Our response is neither for war nor for peace. Interestingly, our response has to be a biblical one. It sounds good to say, "we are for peace and for love" because it seems so consistent with a biblical or Christian viewpoint. But certainly that is not the viewpoint of the Bible in its entirety. So how do we respond to these events and where should we be as a people in terms of our position on it?
One of the most profound passages of the Bible concerning conflict is found in Jeremiah chapter 18. In this context the prophet is threatening war against Israel by God Himself because of Israel's disobedience and rebellion against the revealed will of God. The principle, however, is what I wish to highlight. Notice how the Prophet speaks in Jeremiah 18:7 "The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to pluck up, to pull down and to destroy it, (this is God speaking!) If that nation, against whom I have spoken, turns from it's evil, I will relent of the disaster I thought to bring up upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build up and to plant it - if it does evil in my sight, so it does not obey my voice, so I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it."
Here we have God Himself threatening to dismantle nations in terms of their unrighteousness. The passage clearly gives us the criteria upon which God engages nations. In the Book of Joel we have another reminder of God's action in war. There are times when God calls for war. This is why as Christians we cannot address this matter simplistically. To say, we are on the side of peace is not Christian, and to say we are on the side of war is not Christian. The truth is that we are on the side of the sovereignty of God. That is Christian.
In Joel chapter 3 we find some remarkable words - they are a play on what we read in Isaiah chapter 2, where it talks about the last days, after the consummation of the age and the introduction of the millennial reign of the Messiah. In these verses the Bible teaches that nations will beat their swords into plowshares and into pruning hooks, and year-by-year they will ascend to Jerusalem to hear the word of the Lord. In the Book of Joel, the Prophet plays directly with what he has heard in terms of Isaiah's prophetic utterance. Notice what he says in Joel 3, especially verse 9: "Proclaim this among the nations, prepare for war! (God is speaking) Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, and let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears." (So he reverses the words of Isaiah.) "Let the weak say, I am strong..."
How many of you have ever sang that song? - "Let the weak say, I am strong." How we have rejoiced in it! Well, this was actually God telling nations to prepare their tanks and their missiles for war - it has nothing to do with you as a Christian, pushing out your breast saying: "I am strong in Jesus". It has everything to do with nations annihilating each other with weapons of mass destruction! I am sorry that I have to challenge the context of one of our favorite songs.
Joel continues, "Let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble and come all you nations and gather together, gather all around. Cause the mighty ones to go down there, Oh Lord!" It is a call to war; it is not a call to any kind of spirituality within the Christian church, though it is often quoted in this context. This, of course, is misguided.
Then there is the passage in Matthew, which Christians and even the world love to quote. According to Matthew chapter 5, where Jesus begins his preamble to The Decalogue known as the Beatitudes, we are to be peacemakers and will be blessed for doing so. Note verse 9: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." This is also often taken out of context. It is true that as Christians, we are concerned about peace, and we do recognize that the Bible calls upon us to pray for peace. There is no question about that, but this passage has little to do with the great issues relating to conflict between nations.
We know from the Book of First Timothy that the Word of God exhorts us to pray for peace. Why should there be peace in the world? Is it just because God wants nations to dwell safely and securely within guaranteed borders? Of course not! That is not the teaching of the Bible either. But you would think, if you listen to much of the rhetoric in the Christian world, that we should just pray for peace, and nations can live as they wish to live, and be what they want to be. But in fact it is not. Let's first read: "Therefore I exhort first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercession and thanks be made for all men. For kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (I Timothy 2:1-4)
So in fact, we are not just for peace. We are not "shalom at any cost" people. Yet the Church tries to walk in step with the world agenda for peace. Isn't that amazing?
So why do we want peace? As Christians, we want peace for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the reason why we pray for peace and for those in authority. We want stability and peace in every land, so far as it is possible in the sovereignty of God, because He knows more than we do, so that all men can be reached with the knowledge of the truth and be saved. Conflict in the land makes it impossible to preach when everybody is in their bunkers, ducking missiles. They are not going to come to a preaching service.
So again, the type of peace we look for is, first of all, that peace which brings reconciliation and peace between individual people. That is the context of Matthew 5. Living out your life according to a "born-again" ethic, where you are a peacemaker because you are a son of God. You reach out to those around you; you heal wounds; you bring back the lost, battered sheep. You overlook a multitude of transgressions, because what people do to you is not important. You live by your conscience, which should be pure and clean in the sight of God, so you can overlook a lot of things. If somebody says something about you, so what? You know that your conscience is clear and your heart is pure. So you can say, "I forgive you". That is what God did with us. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. So at that level it is quite a challenge for us, isn't it?
This is the context of Matthew 5; it is a "born again" ethic; a preamble to the Decalogue, whereby He is giving us a brief summary of what it means to love your neighbor as yourself, and God with all your strength and might and soul.
On the other hand, we differ when it comes to the issue of war and peace. Therefore, if you ask me whether the ICEJ is for war or for peace, I would say: "I don't know". I know that in the sovereignty of God there are times when He calls for war. I see that clearly in the Bible. I also know that nothing can happen in the world outside of God's sovereignty. And the more I wait and see what is happening and the more I see that this thing is inevitable, the more I have to say it must be in the sovereignty of God, otherwise it could not happen.
I lament war, just as the Word of God does. It is a regrettable, divine instrument of correction, and God Himself says that. He wants to build up a nation and not tear it down. But wickedness sometimes overflows and in areas of the world, even in places we would not consider to be wicked, we will yet see some amazing things. God will tear down even nations that we thought would possibly be the righteous ones, the good ones.
This is the world we live in. As a Christian, I pray for peace, even in Iraq. Why? So that there may be an opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel. I also understand that if wickedness is so great that God in His sovereignty will tear the nation down, my trust and belief is that through it all, in the aftermath, the Gospel may be preached more freely. My value-system is completely different to that of the world and I commit myself to the biblical revelation on peace and war in this matter.
Therefore we as a ministry cannot take an extreme position - we are not just for peace in the nations. Nor are we just for war in the nations. It may appear confusing but in the end, our faith and trust is in a sovereign God. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." (Psalm 24:1) Nothing can take place in the world without reference to the sovereignty of God.
In our days it appears that God is calling for a sword against Iraq. This is a fearful thing. We should be praying for the people of Iraq. Most important is the fact that they need to hear the wonderful message of Jesus. This is why we want peace there and so we should be praying in that way. This is also why it is so difficult to be simplistic about these matters.
At the more personal level, this also means that we should have peace in our hearts, because the Bible affirms that God is in control of all things. Therefore we have to ensure:
1. That we are living in the perfect will of God for our lives. This is the only and safest place to be. This does not mean that we live in an area that is outside of conflict. You can be in the most peaceful part of the world but, if you are outside of the will of God, you can be in a very dangerous place!As we enter a season that may well witness conflict in our region, let us realize that we have nothing to fear. Let us pray for Iraq, for the proclamation of the Gospel in that land and for the will of God to be done. If this type of peace is the fruit of war then it may just be that the God of Heaven is calling for spears and swords. May God help us to live as we should and may we, with fear and trembling, recognize that His judgment is always with repentance and salvation in mind!
He is one of the world's most notorious terrorists, responsible for the deaths of thousands of men, woman, and children. He's plied his trade in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Bombings, hijackings, and assassination - he's mastered them all.
The United States has enough evidence to indict him for the kidnapping and brutal murder of two American diplomats. The United States knows his exact location. The United States can arrest him and bring him to justice whenever it chooses.
His name is Muhammad Abd ar-Rauf al-Qudwah al-Husayni, better known as Yasser Arafat.
In March 1973, Palestinian terrorists seized the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, during a diplomatic reception. U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel and Charge d' Affairs C. Curtis Moore were among those taken hostage.
The terrorists, who identified themselves as members of Black September, demanded the release of Sirhan Sirhan, the murderer of Robert Kennedy. When President Nixon refused this demand, the American diplomats were taken to the embassy basement where they were brutally tortured and killed.
The National Security Agency intercepted direct communications between Yasser Arafat and his operatives in the Khartoum office of al-Fatah that indicate Arafat had both planned the attack and ordered the executions.
While Arafat publicly denied any complicity in the murders, he discussed them during a private dinner with Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in May 1973. The dinner was also attended by General Ion Mihai Pacepa, who later defected to the U.S.
Pacepa later wrote that "Arafat excitedly bragged about his Khartoum operation" in an article published in the Wall Street Journal.
American administrations have been reluctant to pursue murder charges against Arafat due to political considerations related to the Cold War and the Middle East.
In 1986, U.S. Senators tried to force the Reagan Administration's hand by calling for an indictment against Arafat for the murders of Noel and Moore. Below is the text of the Senate letter sent to Attorney General Meese:
February 12, 1986The Reagan Administration, like their predecessors, declined to pursue murder charges against Arafat out of fear of inflaming the Arab World and its affect on the Cold War.
Now that the Cold War is a distant memory, perhaps justice can finally be served. Based on the available evidence, Arafat can be indicted on charges of first-degree murder - a crime with no statue of limitations. Or will we again allow other factors to enter into this decision, making a mockery of our laws and our stated commitment to eradicate terrorism.
Thomas W. Murphy is a freelance writer from Phoenix, Arizona.
"The whole world should know!" Israel’s leaders proclaim.
Over two years ago, on September 27, 2001, flames and smoke arose from Joseph’s tomb in Shechem. An Arab mob armed with pick axes entered the site and proceeded to smash the stone building until it crumbled into a heap of stones. Prayer books and religious items were strewn about and desecrated, and then set aflame. One picture in the media displayed a young Arab trampling upon a holy book. The crowd, seething in its hatred, jeered in delight at the spectacle of the Yeshiva Od Yosef Chai located at the site, in flames.
Some time within the last two weeks, that hideous act of desecration over two years earlier was completed as Arabs entered the Joseph’s Tomb and smashed the stone marking the grave into pieces. Photos taken at the scene reveal the tombstone as a mere pile of stones.
Minister Natan Sharansky called upon Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to publicize the act of desecration: “If we would have razed the grave site of one of the founders of Islam, billions of Muslims would have taken to the street. It’s inconceivable that the world should not know about this travesty.” The ministers concurred and stated that they will release the photos. Thus, the world will see.
The photos of course reveal nothing that has not been demonstrated innumerable times before. Once again, voices are raised in indignation to an obvious miscarriage of justice announcing that, “the world should know”. But Minister Sharansky, has the world not already seen enough violations since Oslo to reshape its opinion? What will they suddenly see now?
To say that the Palestinians violated agreements by allowing mobs to destroy this sacred place is so superfluous to the point that it is ridiculous. Obviously, such agreements will be violated. How many times does one cry foul?
What do the photos prove? What the Palestinians do to religious sites. There are already dozens of rolls of film displaying such disregard for other sites. The whole world already saw the footage of the attack on Joseph’s tomb two years ago. The question beckons, who allowed the Palestinians control over Joseph’s tomb so they could destroy it? Furthermore, on the subject of sacred sites, who allowed the Waqf of Jerusalem to ‘renovate’ parts of the Temple Mount of Jerusalem, doing severe damage to remains of the Temple, while casting aside priceless ancient artifacts of the Temple Judaism’s holiest site outside into heaps? Blame is sometimes a double-edged sword.
The despicable desecration of Joseph’s tomb gives Israel’s leaders another attempt to prove to a world, which for the most part does not seem to care too much (unless the story is about a blood libel at Jenin), that Palestinians do not honor their agreements, and are bent upon the goal of Israel’s destruction. The Israeli government may show pictures and proclaim Palestinian guilt, but ultimately it left the site to the ‘protection’ of the Palestinian Authority and was no doubt aware that such desecration was at least conceivable if not foreseeable. That, the world might notice.
The issue at hand is about a sacred site, yet it is also about national pride, and more importantly security. If Israel does not act to protect a sight of such significance, it will be perceived by its enemies as unable or unwilling to do so. Such brazen acts of destruction, if not strongly discouraged will beget more brazen acts.
Minister Sharansky! Do you want to impart a message that will get the world’s attention? Proclaim that the people of Israel have had enough of the lies of Oslo and that the charade is over. Tell the world that you are recommending that the IDF right a wrong and re-enter Shechem to rebuild Joseph’s tomb.
Larry Domnitch is an author and educator who resides in Efrat.
“I believe it is the moral duty to intervene when evil has power and uses it. If Europe were to apply as much pressure on Saddam Hussein as it does on the United States and Britain, I think we could prevent war.”—Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, saying that although he abhors war, he believes the world community must confront Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Wiesel added that the Holocaust could have been avoided if the world had intervened in 1939. (Jer. Post, Feb. 28)
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