A few weeks ago, I penned an article I called, "The incalculable cost of Palestine."
Spelling out the de facto price that would be paid for the creation of a Palestinian state on the biblical heartland of Israel, I said that among other things, its birth would:
I argued that it would also "shatter the biblical foundations on which much of Christianity stands."
The article provoked a divided response: Some thought it was "wonderful" and "anointed," others wondered whether I had fled my faith or spent excess time in the Jerusalem sun. Quite clearly I had committed the cardinal writers' error of assuming most my readers were on the same page, so to speak, and would therefore know where I was coming from.
I'd be grateful if those I thus abused would forgive me, and would follow through the rest of this article as I try to clarify and re-stress what I was really saying before.
Actually, I am thankful for the opportunity to so quickly revisit this subject, for I believe it lies at the heart of the Middle East conflict. Not until it is recognized and fully engaged will we Christians who are deeply concerned for the future survival and prosperity of the Jewish homeland be truly effective in our efforts to help secure her.
"The incalculable cost" was written as a "what if," a wake-up call. I wanted to startle the reader into realizing what is actually at stake concerning Israel's fate. My intention was to strip away the layers that blur and fudge the issue, and bare the core for those who have spiritual eyes to see.
Let me stress my personal starting point: I am a Bible believer. No philosophy, no revolutionary scientific theories or discoveries, no pleas for "reason," no scoffing, no threats, no bribes, no "enlightenment" - nothing will change what I believe. For me, forever, the Bible contains the divinely given words and wisdom of the Creator of all things. He cannot be wrong. He cannot change. He cannot be ganged up on, outnumbered, out-witted or out-maneuvered. He is God. And there is no other.
This Being, Who alone has the right to do so, and Who knows the end of all things from the beginning, designated the swathe of land between the River of Egypt and the Euphrates as the national home of the descendants of the man He renamed Israel.
In the pages of the Bible, He is referred to 16 times as the God of Abraham, 8 times as the God of Isaac, 22 times as the God of Jacob, and more than 200 times as the God of Israel. He states categorically and unequivocally that the aforementioned land is His personal possession. And He tells first Abraham, then Isaac, and then Jacob that He has given this land to them and their descendants after them, in this bloodline, "as an everlasting possession."
He has given it to nobody else - not to Esau, not to Ishmael, not to the Arabs, not to the Palestinians. The land belongs, only, to Israel. Others may live here of course, but only Israel may be sovereign.
In order to have this land, Israel needs to enter and take possession of it. The ancient forebears of modern-day Israel were commanded to enter and possess it, and the prophets foretold a day when their descendants would be brought back to the same land, and be settled in it once again - this time forever.
[Ed note: The LORD is not hesitant to use the word "settle" to describe His replanting of the Jews in their land; I too, therefore, choose to use the words "settle," "settlement" and "settler" - without apology and without shame.]
This instruction to settle, and justification for settling, is predicated upon the biblical promise and injunction. That is to say, it is the Bible that imparts to Israel the right and the command to be in this specific land, and to rule over it.
Throw away the Bible, and Israel loses that right. At best, what they are then left with, in the aftermath of the 2000-year effort to annihilate the Jews, is the right to a haven state somewhere in the world - for example in Uganda, or, as Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin suggested just this past weekend, in Europe.
The Bible is the ONLY document that gives the Jews the inalienable right to this land. The Balfour Declaration, League of Nations and United Nations rulings, white papers and "peace" treaties - all of these are contestable and open to alteration or reversal if enough of the world's nations decide it should be so.
For Bible believers, the Bible alone has the authority to back the claim to this land as the Jews'. And, to get to the crux of the matter, the Bible specifically and intentionally singles out the very part of the land that is today on the chopping block for a Palestinian state as the heart of Israel's "eternal inheritance."
For it was in Samaria, at Bethel, where Jacob (Israel) lay sleeping when God said to him: "[T]he land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants." (Genesis 28:13 cf. Jeremiah 31:5) He was not lying on the beaches of Tel Aviv but on the rocky slopes of the central "West Bank."
Daily, for more than 2000 years as they wandered among the nations of the world, the Jews have been reminding God of His promise to restore them to this very land - the land of the Patriarchs - to Jerusalem, and to the Temple Mount. Their belief in Him and in His promises sustained them through the darkest history imaginable. It gave them reason to hope when it seemed futile to do so. It was a goal, an aim, in fact a beacon, holding their identity and their eventual future out before them - something real and promising to strive towards.
Through unmentionable horrors, to the very doors of the gas chambers, the Jews clung to their belief in the Author of the Bible, the One Who founded the nation and gave it its land: "Sh'ma, Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Ehad" - "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One."
It was this faith that enabled Israel to resist all efforts to absorb them as a people, to render them extinct as a race. And the faith was, and is, inextricably in God and in His promises of this specific part of the land universally called the "Occupied Territories."
It doesn't take rocket science to grasp what a devastating blow it would be to this, for so long, tenacious people should the physical embodiment of what they have been clinging to for fully half their existence as a nation, finally and irretrievably be taken from them.
We should not fool ourselves either with pious proclamations about God being able to restore it all again. Certainly from the world's point of view it will be irretrievable. Once Palestine is declared a state and officially welcomed into the world community of nations, there can be no going back. For the Gentile nations there will be celebrations and rejoicing. For Israel, the birth of Palestine will spell catastrophe.
Oh, those Jews who have long ago traded in their belief in the Bible and its God won't bat an eyelid. In fact, their dream of being fully accepted by the Gentile nations - of becoming just like them - will appear closer to realization than ever.
But in the Diaspora, it was seldom the eviscerated Jew who carried the flame of Am Yisrael intact through persecution and out the other side. It was those who had faith; those who had a reason to believe in God, and in His promises to restore them to their land.
Which brings me to where I was before:
Being a publicly professing Bible-believer, I naturally never intended to communicate a belief that the Jewish people could be eradicated, or that the hope we true Christians are living in could be taken away from us. I wanted to communicate the calamitous nature of the threat.
I am convinced that not until we recognize the extent of this peril will a fire be lit under us to try to counter it.
When I wrote, I was caught up in that tension that exists between God's foreknowledge of all that will come to pass, in this case Israel's assured survival into eternity, and in the part we have to play to bring it all about.
Some people believe that we need not concern ourselves overly much about Israel's future because God has it all in control. Yes He does. But I believe at the same time that we are a part of that unfolding picture that He has ever open before Him, and we can either rise to fulfill our destiny and help Israel fulfill hers, or we can decide to "leave it all up to Him."
I believe God is looking for those who would "stand in the gap" for Israel at this time. (Ezekiel 22:30). Standing in the gap means interceding in prayer on Israel's behalf before the Lord, as Daniel did. (see Daniel 9). But I believe it means more than just praying, and then chastising Israel from afar for not being able to stand up against international pressure and claiming all its land. Standing in the gap for me means we are also to stand between Israel and our Gentile rulers who choose to deal with the Jewish people and their state in an unjust way.
To play our part, or to leave it up to God? The following example may help to further clarify this question:
It's almost universally believed that, but for the Holocaust, Israel would not have been restored to life. Had they not felt so guilty for abandoning the Jews to the Nazis, the nations of the world would never have permitted the re-establishment of the Jewish state.
Should Christians, aware of Israel's prophesied future restoration, have therefore sat quietly by (as, to their eternal shame, so many did,) because it was all "foreknown," all "predicted," and they knew it would all "work out" in the end?
Just as - had we lived then - we should have done everything in our power to save the Jews from Hitler's Holocaust, so too should we do all we can today to prevent Israel's enemies from pursuing the 2003 version of that very same plan. There is no question that the Arab and Islamic world is bent on wiping out the Jews just as surely as Hitler was.
Effectively it has been the same plan all along: From the day Pharaoh commanded the Israelite boys be drowned in the Nile, right up to today, the enemy has sought to destroy the Jews and, with them, the channel God designed to bring hope and blessing and peace into the world.
We should have resisted it before, and we should resist it now. Establishing Palestine would drive a barrage of nails into Israel's coffin - something I believe this generation's Christians should oppose with everything we have.
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Why isn't an independent state good enough for the Arabs?
This is the top question that we need to pose in future negotiations - if they ever happen - between Israel and the Palestinians. This question goes to the basic motives of the Palestinians in their future designs.
This question formed in my mind as I read through the main clauses of the Geneva Accord.
When Yasser Arafat came to Israel in 1993, I was under the impression that the Oslo agreement was the foundation for an eventual Palestinian state. Then Arafat started making statements of establishing a capital in Jerusalem.
Huh? Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It is an integral part - no, it is the center - of the Jewish state. What is Arafat talking about? Keep dreaming. I thought this idea might go away.
In the negotiations at Camp David during the summer of 2000, President Clinton, Prime Minister Barak and other participants exerted much effort in devising a settlement. Barak was prepared make extensive concessions which many supporters of Israel opposed.
After all that, here was the dealbreaker: Arafat wanted sovereignty over the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. He had to know that the Israelis would never go for that. If they did, would that be enough?
These are two of the key provisions in the Geneva Accord launched the other week to celebrate an unauthorized settlement aimed at achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
The accord has been vilified by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and various supporters of Israel. I personally have no problem with Israelis and Palestinians devising such an agreement. If this so-called settlement has such little merit, then why should Sharon be bothered? Besides, if he can't take the heat from this, how can he possibly find the strength that a leader needs to run his country?
Let's try to examine the accord on its merits. Creation of a Palestinian state comprising Gaza and most of the West Bank is an obvious feature which might make sense, not that I necessarily support even that. This aspect would take up a column in itself.
More important are these two clauses:
"Jerusalem would be split into two capitals. Israel would keep Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, while Arab and other non-Jewish neighborhoods of the city, including all of the Old City except for the Jewish Quarter, would come under Palestinian rule."How does either clause help Palestinians who are locked in poverty? I thought the idea was to give the Palestinians a mechanism to control their destiny and improve their lives. That's what an independent state is supposed to do, so why move into Jerusalem and haggle over control of the mosque?
Sure, there are Arabs living in Jerusalem, but there are also Arabs living in Haifa, Tel Aviv and other Israeli communities.
Of course, that signals the most obvious suspicion, that they want it all. Today, Jerusalem. Tomorrow, all of Israel.
The only practical reason I can recognize is that these provisions will give the Palestinian negotiators some political ammunition to sell the plan to their people. Certainly, not even that satisfies many of the extremists among them.
If real negotiations ever get underway once again, the Palestinians are welcome to put Jerusalem and the religious sites on the table. That doesn't mean Israel should accept those provisions if the Arabs can't justify any of it.
The "Geneva Agreement" that Israel's Far Left has cooked up with the PLO is such a long-winded and complex manuscript that very few can really work their way through all the prose and technicalities, and even fewer can understand the implications of the intentional confusions and duplicitous obfuscation in the text. I have no doubt that the endorsements of the "agreement" from people like Jimmy Carter and Colin Powell were not based on having actually read the thing.
Yossi Beilin, who has been evicted from the Israeli Labor Party and essentially represents himself, is the godfather of the "deal". He and his team are as representative of Israel as would be a team led by Edward Said and Noam Chomsky claiming the right to negotiate a deal with bin Laden and Saddam on behalf of the US. In reality, at the Geneva "talks" that led to the "deal", the Palestinians were represented by Yossi Beilin, Amram Mitzna, Avraham Burg, the other Israeli leftists, and by the PLO terrorist leaders present. The Jews were not represented there at all. In any case, polls in Israel show the vast majority of Israelis reject the deal, and quite a few regard Beilin and his people as traitors.
But digesting the endless pages in the "accord" is not necessary to understand what is wrong with it.
We will summarize what is wrong with it here as briefly as possible.
1. The Beilin "Accord" is based on the old formula of Israel's Far Left, by which Israel gives up real assets and places itself in strategic jeopardy in exchange for Palestinian oral pledges. Those pledges are meaningless. The original Oslo "deals" were based on the exact same formula and we know their results. The PLO has never and never will honor any pledges it makes in any document. So the Beilin Geneva "Accord" amounts to Israel turning over assets and endangering its existence for nothing.Ultimately, implementation of the Beilin Geneva "Accord" would result in Israel's destruction, in a Second Holocaust of Jews, and possibly in the end of Jewish history.
As if nearly six thousand years of humiliation were not enough, the world is at it again. And to add insult to theft, the Arabs who falsely claim to come from a non-existent country called Palestine have once again stolen from the Jews. This time, it is not just Jewish land, history and heritage. This time they have taken the abuses heaped upon the Jewish people and claimed them for their own, thereby trying to elicit sympathy and feelings of guilt and gain concessions from a bamboozled world.
I’ll be magnanimous and only go back a mere two thousand years. The first humiliation the Jews suffered approximately two thousand years ago was when the Romans overran the Jewish homeland. They changed the name of that homeland from Judea to Palestine as an insult to the Jewish people. Palestine was a bastardization of the name ‘Philistine,’ an enemy sworn to the destruction of the Jewish people. By renaming it Palestine, the Romans meant to humiliate and subjugate the Hebrews.
Next, there was the Inquisition. Jews were made to suffer unspeakable tortures including burning alive, female and male rape with burning pokers, iron maidens, stretching on the rack, having their fingernails torn out and more.
Even after the Inquisition ended, Jews were treated as less than human in many European countries. They were forbidden from owning property and often relegated to practicing the only two professions the Europeans considered ‘dirty:’ that of money-lending and grave-keeping. Then, after only being allowed to support themselves in those ways, the Jews were considered ‘filthy’ for doing the only means of support allowed to them.
Moving on to the late 1890s, Jews were demonized in a pernicious work of fiction called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It was claimed that The Protocols were the minutes of a meeting of Jewish leaders at the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897, in which Jews plotted to take over the world. In truth, The Protocols were a complete forgery actually written in Paris by an agent of the Russian secret police, Pytor Ivanovich Rachovsky, who was known to have forged other documents for propaganda purposes. Most of The Protocols was copied from an obscure satire on Napoleon III by Maurice Joly called Dialogue aux Enfers entre Montesquieu et Machiavel ("A Dialogue in Hell Between Montesquieu and Machiavelli").
Nevertheless, Hitler and now his modern Arab followers have continued to use this book to demonize the Jews. In the past two years, Arab television stations have aired two separate, enormously popular series about Jews both based on The Protocols. And The Protocols is one of the best sellers in the Arab/Muslim world, along with Mein Kampf.
So now we come to the present. No group of people on this planet has ever suffered the daily humiliations that the Hebrew people now suffer. We are demonized in every mosque, and the religious and political leaders of many Arab and Muslim countries are calling for our subjugation (if we’re lucky) and, more often, our extermination. Jewish children and babies are deliberate targets of Muslim and Arab bombers, their little bodies pierced with nails and ball-bearings dipped in rat poison, while the Arabs dance in the street and hand out candy every time their compatriots murder a busload of families.
And then there is the policy of Yasser Arafat and his people to have the land they currently squat on as Judenrein. Nowhere in the world, including Israel, is there any policy of Muslimrein. And yet all we hear about is the ‘humiliation’ of the Arabs occupying Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
To this I say, “What humiliation?” If they suffer any humiliations, it is of their own doing. Every country has the right to keep terrorists from completing their heinous deeds, and Israel is no exception. In fact, every country has the right to keep aliens from entering their domain. And most countries use fences to do just that. Israel was one of the few countries with no fences until the murderous Arabs occupying Israeli land (said land having been lawfully won in a war of Arab aggression and overwhelming odds against Israel) decided to start on a program of genocide against the Jews.
But the Arab spin machine is working overtime taking the continual humiliation of the Jewish people and claiming it for its own. Never have Jews or Israel taken Muslim gravestones and turned them into urinals and paving blocks. But the Muslims routinely do it to Jewish and Christian headstones. The Arabs now occupying Israeli land and falsely claiming it for their own (most of them are really Jordanian or Egyptian – like Arafat) are systematically looting and destroying Jewish holy sites and archaeological preserves in an effort to de-legitimize the Hebrew people and deny their claims as indigenous people.
What is even more appalling is that Colin Powell and even President Bush go along with this disgusting pack of filth. Not once have I heard either of them bemoan or criticize the daily world-wide humiliation of the Jews. Instead, you hear them both calling for the victims of numerous, unrelenting anti-Semitic atrocities to ease the plight of their tormenters. It especially makes me question President Bush’s assertion that he is a good and devout Christian. Would such a good and devout man accept the lies and propaganda and ask a victim to help his tormenter commit more atrocities? Would a good Christian assist in the destruction of the progenitor of his very own religion?
It is time that the President Bush, as leader of ‘The Quartet,’ stop the daily humiliation of the Jewish people and Israel or be remembered in the history books as the Emperor Hypocrite, who clothed himself in religion and once again, like the Romans, threw the Jews to the lions.
“The Israelis…could set up a state in Europe.”--Hamas founder and “spiritual” leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, communicating his opposition to a two-state solution in which a Palestinian state would co-exist next to Israel, and encouraging the Jews to set up their state in Europe. (UPI, Dec. 9)
"It would be a terrible mistake to try and impose a solution on us by force,"... "The conflict will continue, the fire will burn, the terror will grow, no one will benefit from this."PA "Prime Minister" Qureia (Maariv, Dec.11).
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