The following article is written from the perspective of a Messianic Jewish follower of Yeshua (Jesus) who lives in Israel. October 13, 2000.
If there was any innocence in the minds of many Christians and some illusion of the righteousness of the modern Palestinian, Arab, or Muslim, expectation, today this innocence and illusion evaporated with the pictures of the lynch that Palestinian police did against two Jewish men. The incident took place in the city of Ramallah, just north of Jerusalem, next to the Biblical City of Beth El, where Jacob our forefather dreamed about of the ladder connecting the Heavens and the Earth. Two Israeli men were lost on their way and fell upon a roadblock of the Palestinian police. The Palestinian police took them to their base and there lynched them and tortured them mutilating their bodies and then publicly burning them while the Palestinian armed police was just standing and looking and in fact participating. This was not just an outbreak of anger - it was a murderous organized lynch of an unruly mob comprised of officials and policemen of the Arafat forces. The very difficult pictures of this cruel event managed to survive secretly after the camera films of the major networks were destroyed so that the world would not see what the Arab mob did to those two unfortunate and innocent souls.
Every one knows that in a time of war people die and people get hurt. But, even in a war there are international conventions and rules that civilized people keep in order preserve the human image and the minimal dignity of both the soldier and the victim. When people lose the minimal sense of humanity it seems too late and hopeless to have them as partners for peace and too late to sit with them on the negotiating table and discuss ways of bringing the conflict to an end. As a follower of Yeshua the Messiah and as person who has worked for many years for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs who claim faith in God and in Yeshua - I must say that something of the great hope for peace with the Arabs has broken in me. I have not lost hope for peace in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians, but I have realized that such a task can not succeed if people try to do this kind of peace without an end to the hate and anger that is nesting in their hearts. Such a peace cannot happen by the use of arms and weapons. The weapons need to stop and the people need to do more than just talking about peace.
People who do not know the Middle East can't understand the Middle Eastern mind-set. In our region of the World words do not mean much; People say what they think you want to hear and they do not always intend to do what they say they want to do. If you just look at Arafat you need to ask yourself if you would buy a used car from this man. He has consistently said what Clinton wanted to hear, and to the European leaders he said what they want to hear and to the Arab leaders he said what they want to hear and to his own people he says what they want to hear. Now, one sees Arafat's real intentions. His top peace negotiators say it clear - "We want Jerusalem as the Capital of a Palestinian state and we want Jaffa, and Nazareth, and Haifa." Arafat's so called peace negotiation team would states that they would like to see the Jews settle West of Tel-Aviv in the Mediterranean sea. The whole peace process was a ploy to get as much ground as possible through negotiation and then turn back to the same terrorist and violent attacks as Arafat was used to do when he was in Jordan, and Lebanon, and Tunis. One of the sad aspects from all this uprising is that the Arab Christians have become totally blind to the reality - What is happening in the Palestinian camp is totally Muslim. The most militant Islamic groups that are supported and connected lead the whole uprising with Iran, the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Christians should know that they are not going to be treated any better than those two Jewish soldiers who were caught in Ramalah yesterday. When you look on your television and see Palestinian mob parading in the streets of Gaza with Palestinian flags and Green Flags - those Green flags are not St. Patrick's day parade - they are the flags of the Islamic Revolution, they are the flags of the Hizbullah. I should like to see the restoration of relationship between Jewish and Arab Christians on the basis of the Word of God and the teachings of Yeshua our Messiah. I know that God sets governments and kings and gives them their dominion and it is their job to resolve the global problems, but it is our job first to make peace in God's home and serve as an example to those around us. Understanding Arafat and his M.O. is important for us only to the degree that as followers of Yeshua we shall not be deceived into thinking that He or Ehud Barak can bring a just peace in the Middle East. We should always keep in mind that our allegiance is first to Yeshua and to God's and only in fourth or fifth place to our nations and governments. It seems like our partners in faith in the Arab camp have forgotten this very simple fact that God and His Word have to be our guides before our politicians and mob rule.
I had some good conversations with some of our Israeli brothers. As Messianic Jews who first hold our allegiance to God most of us have not been swept by the truant of hate that is washing away every semblance of humanity on both sides of the issue. I believe that it is easy to see the effect of the Good News on us and on some of our Arab brothers in this land. At the same time it is sad that also in our camp, the camp of Yeshua followers that contains Jews and Arabs, there is an erosion and a drift into the regions of hate where only the devil rules.
The battle in the Middle East is not only a military one, in fact it is mainly a battle for truth. The Islamic factions are continuing the lies and the spirit of deception that started with the subversion of the Word of God. They are the aggressors and they are claiming that Israel is "killing their children." They cry on the international media that they want the West to come and save their lives - when for the last 13 years they have sent their children to throw stones and firebombs on armed Israeli soldiers. They say today that they are "David" and Israel is "Goliath." But the fact is that Arafat is attempting to drag the whole Arab World, (1,500,000,000 Muslims) into a Jihad (War of annihilation) against Israel.
The events that are taking place now in the Middle East are not a spontaneous outburst of anger from the Israeli side toward the Palestinians. These events of violence and deadly anger are the fruit of evil seed planted by Arafat and his gang for years after years in the hearts of the suffering population. The suffering was not inflicted by Israel on these Palestinian "refugees" - the suffering was a result of a cynical leadership that used the money for their own Swiss bank accounts and build palaces of marble in the capitals of the world for Yassir Arafat. Arafat has palatial homes in Amman, Jordan, and in Bethlehem, and in Gaza, and in Jericho, and in Paris, and, and, and. Just a few weeks ago a Palestinian man told me that the Palestinians because of the abuse and theft that he has committed against his own people do not respect Arafat. There is no Arab nation that has treated it's own citizens and minorities as well as Israel has treated the Palestinian population of the West Bank. Just look what percentage of the Palestinians live in beautiful homes made of stone and marble, and what percentage have good education, and what percentage are earning good wages - in the Arab world over the Palestinians are in better living conditions from their counterparts.
You should know that Israel has had it's hand stretched out to peace even during these horrible days of owe and bloodshed. You should know that even when the Israeli air-force bombed Ramallah and Gaza and Jericho they gave a warning to the Palestinians to leave the buildings that will be bombed. The buildings were empty and no one was killed from the Israeli air attack on these strategic holdings of the Palestinian Authority.
You should know that Israel wants to stop the violence and that is the only pre-condition that Israel has given for the resumption of the so called, "Peace Talks."
You should know that it is Yassir Arafat who wants to drag the whole Middle East and may be the World into a war that will in the end serve his purpose and cause Israel to give in and give him Jerusalem as the Capital of a Palestinian State.
You should know that Yassir Arafat does not know what the Prophet Zechariah predicted thousands of years ago about the battle for Jerusalem. And, even if he knew it he would not accept it because he puts no stock in the Word of God.
You should know that it is still not to late to preach Yeshua the Messiah as the prince of Peace to both Jews and Arabs.
You should know that in the Body of Messiah - we, both Jews and Arabs, love each other and care for each other in the face of what our co-nationalist families think and do.
You should know that now is the time to pray and support the Jews who confess the Messiah and seek to do His Will by loving their neighbors as themselves.
You should know not to believe what the Western Media is presenting as Israel's aggression - it is a lie when the Media states that Israel is just out to kill Palestinian Children.
We at Netivyah continue to show love to our Arab brothers and sisters, and we pray for their protection. They too are not going through an easy time. They are afraid from mob action just as much as we are afraid from the same, and they are just as loving and understanding toward us because they stand with G-d and with His Word more than with their nationalistic aspirations. I think that this is what the Good News of Yeshua is all about - it is the transcending of our own will to do His Will. His will is that we should all know the truth and stand with the truth. At any time that we allow the lies of the devil to seduce us - our souls are in danger.
We all feel sorry for the death of US sailors on the USS Cole in the Gulf of Aden. This too is just one more example of the spirit of terrorism and anti-American feelings that rule over the Middle East.
Joseph Shulam -- Jerusalem
Remember the promises of G-d to Israel:
Genesis 12:3, "I will bless those who bless you (Abraham's seed), and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
Zechariah 2:8, "For thus saith the L-RD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye."
Psalm 122:6, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee."
Romans 9:1, "I say the truth in the Messiah, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from the Messiah for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises."
sent by Uri Marcus <firstname.lastname@example.org>
October 13, 2000
TO: Friends (and friends of friends) of Bridges for Peace
FROM: Clarence H. Wagner, Jr., International Director - Jerusalem
DATE: October 13, 2000
The Bridges for Peace newly designed website is located at http://www.bridgesforpeace.com. Tell your friends to check it out. We are your Israel Connection.
1) REFLECTIONS FROM CLARENCE WAGNER
The tension in the air in Israel is palpable. Such widespread fighting in the streets, all over the land of Israel, between Israelis and Arabs has not been seen since the days of the Six Days War in 1967. Shots can be heard cracking the air in Jerusalem, along with almost non-stop sirens of ambulances and police vehicles. IDF tanks are on the perimeters of the city of Jerusalem, in Jewish neighborhoods, which border the West Bank, in an effort to protect citizens who may be attacked by mobs of nearby Palestinians. In my own neighborhood of Gilo, which abuts Bethlehem where shots have been repeatedly fired in apartment buildings, I find the presence of the tanks and soldiers on the frontline comforting. We have seen by the horrendous attack upon two Israeli reservists captured,
tortured and killed in Ramallah, just what these mobs can do.
Living in Jerusalem and watching the scenes of violence shown on the international news channels, I am amazed at how well the Palestinian propaganda machine works. Each of the speakers delivers a well-rehearsed mantra of mis-information that is then endorsed and repeated over and over by international journalists. It is as though they are in cooperation to discredit Israel.
Consider these questions?
Did you ever notice that the conflicts with Israeli troops are always at checkpoints, borders, and positions approved by the Oslo
agreements? The Israelis are not marching into the midst of Palestinian communities. Rather, they are valiantly defending their posts, as mobs of violent Palestinians march upon them with the intent of overrunning the positions and killing them. Should these positions be captured, one does not have to speculate on what would happen to the soldiers - as was seen clearly on October 12th when Israeli reservists were brutally tortured, beaten and murdered in Ramallah.
What if these angry mobs moved through these checkpoints into Jewish neighborhoods? Can you imagine what destruction, conflict and death would take place? Of course the IDF seeks to keep these angry mobs contained at the border.
Why do the Palestinians send their children and youths to the
"front lines" to be martyred? The Palestinian Authority
pays the families
$2,000 for a death and $300 for an injury to advance the cause of the Palestinians and seek international sympathy for the Palestinians. The individual Palestinian is sacrificed for the ultimate goals of the community, which is Muslim doctrine.
Why is it that the only leaders who call for peace are the
Israeli Jewish leaders, while the Palestinian leaders call for
more and more
violence. The Moslem clerics have called for two consecutive Friday "Days of Rage" (on the Moslem holy day). Can you imagine Christian ministers or Jewish rabbis calling for "days of rage" on their Sabbath days in order to kill Moslems? What kind of religion is Islam that calls for violence and not peace? What kind of leaders seek to bring violence upon their people and not peace? Why are the religious leaders not orchestrating candlelit vigils and prayers for peace, instead of giving mobs wheelbarrows of rocks to attack Jews? Even Bill Clinton is frustrated that the only words that Arafat can mouth are words of war. Not once has Arafat or his leaders called for peace, negotiation or a cessation of violence.
How did the Palestinians succeed in convincing the world that the Haram el-Sharif (the Temple Mount) is an exclusive Moslem holy site and the third most holy site in Israel? First, the only reason the site is important to Moslems is that it is the site of Solomon's and Herod's Temple, which was the place of the Presence of the Lord God of Israel, not the Moslems. Islam has appropriated all Jewish and Christian biblical characters and events and redefined them as Moslem, which is why there are mosques in holy sites significant to Jews and Christians, e.g. the Temple Mount and Manger Square in Bethlehem. The Temple Mount has only been considered the third holiest site to Islam since 1967. Before this, only ONE Moslem leader ever visited the site, and that was King Abdullah I of Jordan, who was shot and killed outside the Al-Aksa mosque by a Palestinian in 1953.
Is it legitimate that the Palestinians desecrate and usurp
any holy site that falls under their authority? The Temple Mount
is more sacred to Jews than Moslems, yet Jews are prevented from
worshiping there. Even a visit by a Jew is resented, as was seen
in the case of the visit of Ariel Sharon two weeks ago, even though
it was OKed by the head of the Palestinian Security Services,
Rajoub Jabril. The Palestinians took over Joseph Tomb from the
Israelis when they withdrew from the site in Nablus (biblical
Shechem) this past week, even though it was given for Jewish worship
in the Oslo Agreements. The Palestinians, having killed guards
and worshipers, proceeded to destroy the Jewish presence and
then renovate it into a Moslem mosque. The Palestinian leaders
are now calling to do the
same to Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Jews are to be evicted as the Palestinian Moslems take over. They have also burned the Jewish synagogue in Jericho while Palestinian Police looked on. Is this right? To whom are these sites more sacred? Israel allows mutual worship at the sites and guarantees freedom of worship and access. The Moslems do not, and no one in the international community complains about this practice.
As the Palestinian leadership whine that they are disenfranchised,
why don't the news reporters remind them that since July, the
government offered them 92% of the West Bank, east Jerusalem as part of a joint capital and sovereignty over the Temple Mount AND THEY REJECTED THE OFFER. This was more than any Israeli leader had offered or was expected to offer. Yet, Arafat rejected it and then claims that there is no movement in the Peace Process. What is left for Israel to offer? And now, how could most Israelis even agree to such generous terms now that they know that their peace partners do not want peace at all?
At this point, individuals on both sides, Jews and Palestinians alike, are suffering and need our prayers and help. The deterioration of
the past days has caused everyone in Israel to wonder where this will all end. Many have warned that the Oslo Peace Process was a sham on the part of the Palestinians to get armed PLO terrorists into the heart of Israel to initiate a rebellion and war to destroy Israel according to their published "Phase Program." It seems that the Palestinian program is not only a plan on paper, but a plan that is now being implemented before our eyes today. In fact, it can be likened to a modern-day Trojan Horse.
The only recourse that thinking and praying people can take is to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Ps. 122:6) and to speak out on behalf of Israel, who is being greatly maligned in the international press. Just because the Palestinians are portrayed as children and youths who are only armed with rocks, the reality is that they have a 20,000 plus trained army with automatic weapons in the heart of Israel who are firing against the Jews. Their children are put on the front lines in front of the cameras to gain international sympathy, while their snipers fire from the surrounding buildings. Any national government would meet the intensity of violence of mobs with police and military strength to stop the lunacy and bring calm for the larger community. Yes, the government would be better armed to
defend themselves, but this does not necessarily make the defending force "bad" and the offending group "good."
Before you just accept the assessment of the secular press with regard to Israel, consider the place of the Jews and Israel in their
historical, biblical and prophetic context and ask just who is working for or against the ultimate plans of the God of Israel, the God of the Bible. This is all very complex and there are no easy answers.
You can also make a contribution to the Outreach Projects of Bridges for Peace which supplies much needed food, blankets, and household supplies to those who are in distress, both Jews and Arabs in the land of Israel. Send your gift to Bridges for Peace, PO Box 1093, Jerusalem, Israel, where your concern can be translated into tangible help. Let us be your hand to bless Israel at this time of great crisis. Above all, prayer is the best effort for so many of you who care and are so far away. There is no distance in prayer.
(- by Clarence Wagner, Jr., International Director of Bridges for Peace, Jerusalem, Israel.)
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