A Series of Recent Articles:
When the Prophet Mohammad established Islam, he introduced a minimum of innovations. He employed the hallowed personages, historic legends and sacred sites of Judaism and Christianity, and even paganism, by Islamizing them. Thus, according to Islam, Abraham was the first Moslem and Jesus and St. John (the sons of Miriam, sister of Moses and Aron) were prophets and guardians of the second heaven. Many Biblical legends ("asatir al-awwalin"), which were familiar to the pagan Arabs before the dawn of Islam, underwent an Islamic conversion, and the Koran as well as the Hadith (the Islamic oral tradition), are replete with them.
Islamization was practiced on places as well as persons: Mecca and the holy stone - al-Ka'bah - were holy sites of the pre-Islamic pagan Arabs. The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus and the Great Mosque of Istanbul were erected on the sites of Christian-Byzantine churches - two of the better known examples of how Islam treats sanctuaries of other faiths.
Jerusalem, too, underwent the process of Islamization: at first Muhammad attempted to convince the Jews near Medina to join his young community, and, by way of persuasion, established the direction of prayer (kiblah) to be to the north, towards Jerusalem, in keeping with Jewish practice; but after he failed in this attempt he turned against the Jews, killed many of them, and directed the kiblah southward, towards Mecca.
Muhammad's abandonment of Jerusalem explains the fact that this city is not mentioned even once in the Koran. After Palestine was occupied by the Moslems, its capital was Ramlah, 30 miles to the west of Jerusalem, signifying that Jerusalem meant nothing to them.
Islam rediscovered Jerusalem 50 years after Mohammad's death. In 682 CE, 'Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr rebelled against the Islamic rulers in Damascus, conquered Mecca and prevented pilgrims from reaching Mecca for the Hajj. 'Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad Calif, needed an alternative site for the pilgrimage and settled on Jerusalem which was then under his control. In order to justify this choice, a verse from the Koran was chosen (17,1 = sura 17, verse 1) which states (trans. by Majid Fakhri): "Glory to Him who caused His servant to travel by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We have blessed, in order to show him some of Our Signs, He is indeed the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing."
The meaning ascribed to this verse (see the commentary in al-Jallalayn) is that "the furthest mosque" (al-masgid al-aqsa) is in Jerusalem and that Mohammad was conveyed there one night (although at that time the journey took three days by camel), on the back of al-Buraq, a magical horse with the head of a woman, wings of an eagle, the tail of a peacock, and hoofs reaching to the horizon. He tethered the horse to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and from there ascended to the seventh heaven together with the angel Gabriel. On his way he met the prophets of other religions who are the guardians of heaven: Adam, Jesus, St. John, Joseph, Idris (=Seth?), Aaron, Moses and Abraham who accompanied him on his way to Allah and who accepted him as their master. Thus Islam tries to gain legitimacy over other, older religions, by creating a scene in which the former prophets agree to Mohammad's mastery, thus making him Khatam al-Anbiya' ("the Seal of the Prophets").
Not surprisingly, this miraculous account contradicts a number of the tenets of Islam: How can a living man of flesh and blood ascend to heaven? How can a mythical creature carry a mortal to a real destination? Questions such as these have caused orthodox Moslem thinkers to conclude that the nocturnal journey was a dream of Mohammad's. The journey and the ascent serves Islam to "go one better" than the Bible: Moses "only" went up to Mt. Sinai, in the middle of nowhere, and drew close to heaven, whereas Mohammad went all the way up to Allah, and from Jerusalem itself.
What are the difficulties with the belief that the al-Aqsa mosque described in Islamic tradition is located in Jerusalem? For one, the people of Mecca, who knew Muhammad well, did not believe this story. Only Abu Bakr, (later the first Calif), believed him and thus was called al-Siddiq ("the believer"). The second difficulty is that Islamic tradition tells us that al-Aqsa mosque is near Mecca on the Arabian peninsula. This was unequivocally stated in "Kitab al-Maghazi" (Oxford UP, 1966, vol. 3, pp. 958-9), a book by the Moslem historian and geographer al-Waqidi. According to al-Waqidi, there were two "masjeds" (places of prayer) in al-Gi'ranah, a village between Mecca and Ta'if, one was "the closer mosque" (al-masjid al-adana) and the other was "the further mosque" (al-masjid al-aqsa), and Muhammad would pray there when he went out of town. This description by al-Waqidi which is supported by a chain of authorities (isnad), was not "convenient" for the Islamic propaganda of the 7th century. In order to establish a basis for the awareness of the "holiness" of Jerusalem in Islam, the Califs of the Ummayad dynasty invented many "traditions" upholding the value of Jerusalem (known as "fadha'il bayt al-Maqdis"), which would justify pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the faithful Moslems. Thus was al-Masjid al-Aqsa "transported" to Jerusalem. It should be noted that Saladin also adopted the myth of al-Aqsa and those "traditions" in order to recruit and inflame the Moslem warriors against the Crusaders in the 12th century.
Another aim of the Islamization of Jerusalem was to undermine the legitimacy of the older religions, Judaism and Christianity, which consider Jerusalem to be a holy city. Islam is presented as the only legitimate religion, destined to replace the other two, because they had changed and distorted the Word of God, each in its turn. (ghyyarou wa-baddalou. On the alleged forgeries of the Holy Scriptures, made by Jews and Christians, see the third chapter of: M. J. Kister, "haddithu 'an bani isra'il wa-la haraja", IOS 2 (1972), pp. 215-239. Kister quotes dozens of Islamic sources).
Though Judaism and Christianity can exist side by side in Jerusalem, Islam regards both of them as betrayals of Allah and his teachings, and has always done, and will continue to do, all in its power to expel both of them from this city. It is interesting to note that this expulsion is retroactive: The Islamic broadcasters of the Palestinian radio stations consistently make it a point to claim that the Jews never had a temple on the Temple Mount and certainly not two temples. (Where, then, according to them, did Jesus preach?)
Arafat, himself a secular person (ask the Hamas!), is doing today exactly what the Caliphs of the Umayyad dynasty did 1300 years ago: he is marshaling the holiness of Jerusalem to serve his political ends. He must not give control of Jerusalem over to the Jews since according to Islam they are impure and the wrath of Allah is upon them (al-maghdhoub 'alayhim; Koran 1,7, see al-Jalalayn and other commentaries; note that verse numbers may differ slightly in the various editions of the Koran). The Jews are the sons of monkeys and pigs (5,60). (For the idea that Jews are related to pigs and monkeys see, for example, Musnad al-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, (Beirut 1969) vol. 3, p. 241. See also pages 348, 395, 397, 421, and vol. 6, p. 135.) The Jews are those who distorted the holy writings which were revealed to them (2,73; 3,72) and denied God's signs (3,63). Since they violated the covenant with their God (4,154), He cursed them (5,16) and they are forever the inheritors of hell (3,112). So how can Arafat abandon Jerusalem to the Jews?
The Palestinian media these days are full of messages of Jihad, calling to broaden the national-political war between Israel and the Palestinians into a religious-Islamic war between the Jews and the Moslems. READ THEIR LIPS: for them Christianity is no better than Judaism, since both "forfeited" their right to rule over Jerusalem. Only Islam - Din al-Haqq ("the Religion of Truth") has this right, and forever. (shaykh 'Ikrima Sabri, the mufti of Jerusalem, in Friday's khutbah 4 weeks ago, "Sawt falastin", the PA official radio).
Since the holiness of Jerusalem to Islam has always been, and still is no more than a politically motivated holiness, Arafat would be putting his political head on the block should he give it up. Must Judaism and Christianity defer to myths related in Islamic texts or envisioned in Mohammad's dreams, long after Jerusalem was established as the ancient, true center of these two religions which preceded Islam? Should UN forces be sent to the Middle East just because Arafat decided to recycle the political problems of the Umayyads 1250 years after the curtain came down on their role in history?
Dr. Mordechai Kedar,
Lecturer Dept. of Arabic
Bar-Ilan University 52900
Phone+Fax: 972 9 7449162 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(for more details about the subject look, for example, at www.britannica.com/seo/m/miraj and the links provided in it. Searching for keywords such as miraj, isra, alburaq, alquds etc. could also be useful)
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 and sent via e-mail to a select group of intercessors around the world. If you would also like to receive our printed 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, phone number and e-mail address with all correspondence. Thank you!
"Why do the nations rage and imagine a vain thing?" (Psalms 2:1)
Life in and around Israel these days, for the intercessor, is an emphatic model of the life, which is called to be connected to both earth and heaven simultaneously. The person who lives in the gap, that distance between the way things are and the way things could be if God had His perfect way, is fully subject to the downward pull of the pain and wickedness which flood the natural creation, while at the same time never compromising on the hope and glory of heaven.
Such dichotomy is too much for any human heart, and only the life of the Messiah, God's chief intercessor, is sufficient for the task. Pray for us to so abide in the holy vine that no matter how horrifying and discouraging the surroundings may be, our eyes will still behold the King upon His throne!
Thank you for the many prayers, notes, and inquiries. The intercessory support from the nations is priceless, and all of us who serve God in this region know how depressing life here would be without that bright cloud of witnesses surrounding us. This is indeed a good time to sow faith, hope, love, and financial aid into the fields of harvest in our part of the world, as times of distress always produce a harvest, and the Lord of the Harvest is calling for His workers to be in position, ready, and equipped. Thank you for remembering us in your mission giving, especially after the "summer slump."
Many have written to us in recent days, following my latest prayer report of Oct 8, requesting more information and commentary of this kind. I thank you for your commitment and love. However, I have neither the time nor the grace to produce a daily news report, though the unfolding events in our part of the world are indeed significant and weighty. Rather, I will continue to provide the intercessors with timely articles sent in regular intervals addressing both natural and spiritual dynamics in our region that we deem important for the purpose of prayer.
However, for you who desire daily, reliable, and unbiased reporting of events, I recommend the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem's E-bulletin that can be subscribed at: email@example.com, as well as the Jerusalem Post E-version that can be found on the net under Jerusalem Post. Remember to pray as you read.
"Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the street, and uprightness cannot enter." (Isaiah 59:14 NASB)
In light of the significance and speed of the events that erupt and surface in our region daily, I want to shortly address in this writing some of the fundamental hard truths that have often been neglected or altogether forgotten in the avalanche of images, trauma, and deception. In this writing, for the sake of brevity, I will not expound on these points. A fuller examination of these and other neglected truths, can be found in a list of recommended books that can be obtained from our office.
The truths I will address here, as unpopular as they are, are nevertheless the seeds which produce the harvest we are now reaping in the Middle East, and the longer they are ignored, the worse the consequences will be. These truths will not go away, but rather continue to hold the plumb line over the crookedness of mankind, exacting the full price of dishonesty, lust, and pride.
"Middle East on fire." "Palestinians Spark The Arab World." "Arab/Israeli Conflict May Turn Into A Full-Scale War." "Is World War Three On The Horizon?" "World Leaders Convene For Desperate Attempt To Restore Middle-East Peace." These past weeks' headlines seem like chapter headings from an apocalyptic novel, only without the person of the anti-Christ to save the world. I believe that at this last Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets), September 30, we crossed over into a new chapter in God's unfolding history, and I am afraid that there is no way back.
BEWARE OF COMPROMISE
Israel is a "light to the nations" in spite of herself, even in her blindness and distress. Israel's national history and God's dealings with her were always meant to be lessons and reminders of God's existence, truth, and purpose. Likewise, our present trials can teach all who have ears to hear, and especially the Church, an essential truth that is a warning to the wise.
Plainly, Israel's present suffering points to the painful lesson of compromise. Whenever truth is compromised, even for the noblest of reasons or the most humane of causes, the end result is not good. In fact, as this lesson will painfully prove in time, it is far better to remain in an unresolved yet "honest" conflict, rooted and grounded in reality, than to form unreliable alliances and enter into deceptive agreements.
The church in the nations should heed this warning. A political spirit has been drawing many in the Lord's body into unholy alliances, agreements based upon mutual benefits, and treaties anchored in joint interests. None of these please the Lord. They will not produce the fruit of His Kingdom, nor stand in the day of trial. All such bonds that are born of the mind and the heart of man, even for the best of intentions, face the risk of turning into soul-ties, selfish manipulations, and even demonic unions. Remember how seriously the Lord took the unsanctified unity of the builders of the Tower of Babel.
In her blindness toward God's purpose and her desperation to reach a peaceful existence with her neighbors, Israel is now awaking from a long nightmare of compromise and humanistic wishful thinking. She has been compromising her dignity, her cause, her character, and her destiny for acceptance among the nations. As a person heavily engaged in and committed to the cause of reconciliation, I, too, find it painful to track the recent events, draw the necessary conclusions, and call for honest applications.
ARAB VERSUS MUSLIM
To my Arab/Palestinian friends and brothers I extend my hand and my heart, as always, with a sincere desire to find each other in the Lord. Some of you occupy a special place in my heart, which neither political strife nor national interests can take away. However, we cannot sustain genuine relationships at the expense of the truth, and compromising essential truths at this strategic crossroad will only lead us further into the inevitable dead-ends we looked into these last weeks.
In fact, I am deeply concerned for my Arab Christian brothers and friends who, in the flood of ethnic passions and national frenzy, have become blinded to the reality surrounding them. This reality is that the moving force and controlling agenda of what is taking place in the Palestinian camp today is entirely and exclusively Muslim, and the most militant Islamic groups which are supported and associated with the Islamic terrorist state of Iran, are the ones leading the campaign.
Christian Arabs must know that they are not going to be treated any better than the "despised Jewish Zionists" the Islamic world so detests. The flags waved by Palestinian mobs on our television screens are the flags of the Islamic Revolution, the Hizballa Islamic terror organization, and other militant Islamic groups, not the flags of freedom or equality for the Christian. The same spirit, which haunts Israel in the political arena, is presently at work maiming Christians in Ethiopia, crucifying them in Egypt, enslaving their children in Sudan, and beheading them in Saudi Arabia.
Only a complete fool or a bewitched man will throw his lot with the Islamic camp. I hope and pray that our partners in the Faith in the Arab community will not forget the simple fact that God and His word are our only basis for fellowship, and should we be led by either politicians or mobs, we will lose our only foundation for unity which is the Word of God and His Spirit.
Considering the arguments for either the Israeli or the Palestinian positions from an undiscerning human viewpoint, they seem to cancel each other out. It is only as we view the conflict from God's perspective, as revealed in His covenant promises, without compromising the historical truths examined below, that we have a clue as to the ultimate solution for our region's ills. In the meantime, those opposing God's way must be contained.
PALESTINIAN CAUSE IN PROPER PERSPECTIVE
Before we look any further, we should recall that the Palestinian tragedy, though all encompassing and heart breaking for the Arabs who are caught in it, is but another episode of hardship and warfare that the Hebrew nation has to endure in her long and difficult journey. Our Palestinian neighbors, from a historical Jewish perspective, are but another flash point where the powers of the age come into direct conflict with the people of Israel, God's elect nation in the earthly domain.
While we acknowledge the pressing immediacy and pain of the Palestinian tragedy, a people group who only recently developed any sense of national identity and aspirations, still, from Israel's historical point of view the Palestinians are but a short chapter in the Hebrew nation's long tale of suffering, persecution, and hatred which long preceded the Palestinian cause, or even the modern Arab/Israeli conflict.
The fact is that the Hebrew nation, or Israel in modern times, since her divine inception 4500 years ago, has been in continual conflict with the powers of darkness and their representatives on earth. Isolation, persecution, humiliation, and warfare have been our daily bread for millennia. Chosen and called to testify of God's existence and truths, the Hebrew nation, even in her imperfection and sin, was time and again targeted for annihilation by Satan. Silence the messenger, the reasoning goes, and you get rid of the message.
And so, as painful and pressing as the Palestinian cause appears today, decorated with much international rhetoric and watered with the blood of martyrs, it is but a small case in point given Israel's total experience and age long mission. Arafat, his thugs, and the raging Islamic mobs come at the end of a very long line of oppressors and foes who have had their day, releasing the demonic fury against the nation of Israel. In fact, Arafat and the Islamic agenda (which hitched a ride on the legitimate Palestinian cause) dwarf in comparison to Hitler's Nazism, Rome's globalization, Greece's Hellenism, Haman's treachery, and Pharaoh's slavery, all strategically aimed at Israel's annihilation. And so, if we are to learn the lesson of history, this trial too, will pass.
Another truth that must be remembered is that of the vast difference between Arab and Muslim. One is an ethnic term that relates to language, culture, and society. The other is a demonized religion that opposes God, His word, and His purpose. It's a principle difference, which not only enables the intercessor to keep a clear head in the battle for souls, should also help our Arab/Christian brethren keep away from the rage and deception, which so often characterize Islamic approach to both Jew and Christian.
Having placed the Palestinian issue in perspective, let us now take an honest look at the actual claims and case in point: According to most media coverage and popular international opinion, the Palestinians want a homeland and the Muslims want control over the sites they consider holy. That sounds reasonable, even reasonable enough for most Israelis to support a peace agreement with such articles included in it. But is it really that simple? Or are these but shallow excuses for a deeper, spiritual agenda, which produces the violence, unending hatred, and lust for the land?
When my grandparents pioneered their way into the Promised Land in the early years of this century, the territory was named "Palestine." The origin of the name is traced to the Roman Emperor Hadrian who changed the name of the land from Judea to "Syria Palestina" after the final Roman victory in A.D. 135. At that time, half a million of the Jewish inhabitants were massacred and thousands exiled and sold into slavery. Their property was confiscated, national life and worship were forbidden, and territory was renamed and designated to the Roman district of Syria (which was not Arab at the time, as the Arab tribes were still a nomadic people group in the area of modern day Saudi Arabia). Jerusalem itself was razed and rebuilt as a Roman city named Aelia Capitolina.
All these steps were taken as a deliberate attempt to obscure the truth, distort the facts of biblical history, and erase the Jewish territorial claim to the land of Israel. However, this diabolic plan, carried out through Roman policy to void the Word of God, was not successful. In fact, throughout all future centuries of foreign domination, there remained a Jewish presence in the land that often constituted the majority of its few inhabitants.
Foreign powers dominated the land of Israel in succession for centuries. After Judea was destroyed by the Romans and her name changed, the Roman rule continued until the breakup of their empire and the rise of the Byzantine Empire in A.D. 315. The region was then ruled by the Byzantines until the advent of Islam and the capture of the land in A.D. 637. From this point to A.D. 1072, the land was ruled by various Moslem caliphs whose capitals were established in other lands.
The Seljuks ruled for a brief period, then the land fell to the Crusaders in A.D. l099, and was under their general rule until A.D. 1291. From this point until A.D. 1516 the land was dominated by the Mamelukes from Egypt. After them, the Ottoman Turkish Empire took over and ruled the whole region until they were removed by the British in l918.
Great Britain, which was commissioned by the League of Nations (the U.N. predecessor) to prepare part of that region as a national home for the Jewish people, ruled the region for a short period between WW1 and WW2, a period called the British Mandate. After much debate, struggle, and the horror of the holocaust, Israel was declared a sovereign independent state on May 14, l948. Indeed, empires and kingdoms had their season; mighty armies rocked the whole region under their campaigns, yet they are all gone.
During the entire period of recorded history, the land called Palestine was never ruled by Palestinians. The fact is, that apart from the continuing Jewish presence in the land from A.D. 135 to l948, its inhabitants consisted of the soldiers of each conquering army and their slaves. Century after century, the culture, social fabric and identity of these inhabitants changed as the rulers changed. The Jewish residents, on the other hand, were the sole survivors of the ancient population of the land, and they alone have maintained an uninterrupted national link with the land since the dawn of recorded history.
Israel's claim to the land goes back 4,000 years with many centuries filled with vital and consistent national life, which is supported by indisputable biblical and archaeological proofs. For 3,000 years Jerusalem was the capital of the Hebrew nation, and the 35-acre Temple Mount summit, currently the center of the dispute, was rightfully purchased by King David from Ornan the Jebusite. In time, this became the site of the first and second Temples and the center of Jewish life and identity.
Zechariah, as he unfolds the prophetic scenario of God's great deliverance of Israel at the end of the age, said, "In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sights in Jerusalem" (Zech 12:6). This last phrase in the original Hebrew text simply says that Jerusalem shall dwell where Jerusalem always was.
THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
Though there were agrarians Arab communities scattered in the territory of biblical Israel during the last hundreds of years, there was never a nation called Palestine in the region, or anywhere. So who are the real Palestinians? History tells us that during the same time period, the Jewish communities living in the land also became known as Palestinians as this was the territorial title, and were consistently called Palestinians until the second half of this century.
My own father, blessed be his memory, a Jewish pioneer who arrived in the land in 1920 from Russia, carried a Palestinian identity card (provisional passport under the British Mandate) until 1948 when Israel was declared a sovereign state and all her residents became Israeli citizens.
During World War II, the British army drafted and operated a Palestinian Brigade made up entirely of Jewish troops. The Palestinian Symphony was all Jewish, and the Palestine Post (later named the Jerusalem Post) was an all Jewish newspaper. In other words, being a Palestinian had no bearing whatsoever regarding one's nationality, religion, or ethnic background. It merely pointed to the geographical point of residence and no more.
The ancestors of many of the Palestinian Arabs arrived in Palestine only within the past two centuries. It is well documented that Arab masses flooded into the region from all over the decaying Ottoman Empire, seeking jobs provided by Jewish commercial and developmental activities, which began in the late 1800s. The myth of a coherent national Arab Palestinian population which goes back for generations is a fallacy. And while there are Arab families and clans who can prove their roots in the land for many generations, they represent only a fraction of the whole of the Arab Palestinian population of today.
Palestine was never an established Arab nation wrestled away forcefully by the Zionists, as is so often presented by Arab propagandists. Rather, the Arab families who came for work felt no political ties to the land and, until the l920s, no national community at all had even existed in Palestine. This is the reason why both the Balfour Declaration of England in 1917 and the League of Nations' Mandate following World War I charged the Jewish population in Palestine with guaranteeing the civil and religious rights of minorities in the land. No mention was made, whatsoever, of any distinct national rights of these minorities, as it was clearly recognized by all parties that the only national claim to the area was that of the Jewish population.
In fact, the Arabs themselves, in the first quarter of the century, recognized the land as being a home for the Jews and expressed, in general, a very cordial acceptance. This was demonstrated in an agreement between Emir Faisal of Arabia and Dr. Chaim Weizmann of the World Zionist Organization. The Emir, a respectable spokesman for the Arabs at the time, spoke with much favor of the future cooperation between the newly carved out Arab states and the Jewish one. In Article 1 the Emir said, "The Arab state and Palestine (the Jewish state), in all their relations and undertakings, shall be controlled by the most cordial good will and understanding."
The Emir identified and welcomed the emergence of a Jewish nation in Palestine, parallel to the emergence of Arab nations in the region such as Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, etc. under the British and French mandates. In his letter to Felix Frankfurter, a U.S. Supreme Court justice, in l919, the Emir further wrote, "We feel that the Arabs and Jews are cousins in race, having suffered similar oppression . . . and by happy coincidence have been able to take the first step toward the attainment of their national ideals together. The Arabs . . . look with deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement . . . We will wish the Jews a hearty welcome home." Unfortunately, these sympathetic notions did not last long.
THE REFUGEE PROBLEM
In 1948, following the U.N. declaration of Israeli sovereignty and Israel's own declaration of independence, five Arab nations neighboring Israel attacked the young state. Closing in on Israel, they called for the Arab residents of the area to get out of the way in light of the anticipated invasion, promising them a quick plunder of Jewish property and homes following their victory. However, after eight months of fighting, tiny Israel prevailed, a tense cease-fire was established, and the Arabs who left their homes due to the fierce battles and their leadership's appeal were unable to return. This was the unfortunate beginning of the notorious and tragic Palestinian refugee problem.
Following the war, Jordan and Egypt took control over the West Bank and Gaza strip, with Jordan annexing the region illegally (without any outcry in the international community ). The Palestinian population, most living in their own villages, and some in U.N. constructed refugee camps, were in fact under the authority of neighboring friendly Arab countries, living in the very territory which was allotted them for statehood by U.N. resolution #181 of 1947 which apportioned them a land next to the Jewish state. This would have been an excellent time to establish the hoped for Arab Palestinian state, but it was never done. Why?
Cruelly and contrary to basic human compassion, the Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza strip were kept as refugees by their own brethren in Jordan and Egypt, following the l948 Arab defeat. For the purpose of political manipulation, the neighboring Arab states kept these Arab Palestinians underprivileged and unable to improve their conditions. These refugees who fled Israel, never to return to loot and spoil the abandoned Jewish communities as their leaders had promised, were now locked in a prison of dirty politics, selfish tyrants, poverty, and abuse. They were given no economic opportunities, little education, and no industrial infrastructure whatsoever. They had become a political card in the hands of evil men trying to deceive the world and pressure Israel into compromises.
Why were they kept in such impoverished conditions until l967, when Israel captured those territories? Why were they not allowed to blend into the Arab societies surrounding them with which they were comfortable and familiar? Why did Jordan never establish an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank during the nineteen years she ruled the territory? All these and more are questions that must be answered. The tragedy and suffering of the Palestinian people could have been averted if handled properly by Arab leaders at the time. In fact, even if statehood was not permitted them, this could have been the simplest refugee problem of our century, given the fact that these refugees could have been easily absorbed into neighboring populations of like culture, religion, language, and customs.
We deal, however, not with human reasoning, but with demonic powers and principalities, which oppose God and His plan for the region. The chronic nature of the Palestinian cry, the intensifying pressure and stress it creates, and the deep deception surrounding it, all testify to the demonic force that hitched a ride on their tragedy. As Christians, we must maintain a heart of compassion and an attitude of intercession toward these suffering people, while at the same time realizing that further deception will not provide for them, or for Israel, a way out.
The fact is that the myth of the historic Palestinian state, so cleverly constructed over the years, has gained global authenticity, fooling even those who should know better. This mythical state has already been accepted and given observer status in the United Nations; Yassir Arafat has been named its president and, in several nations around the world, this mythical state has ambassadorial status.
However, there is a legitimate side to the Palestinian cry. Parallel to the emergence of Jewish national life in the region during the early years of the century, nationalistic aspirations in the Arab Palestinian community were also budding. In fact, as some would say, two national movements were maturing simultaneously side by side. I fully believe that, apart from the demonic rage bewitching the Arab masses, the two ethnic groups could have, and possibly will, in the future, coexist peacefully side by side.
Britain, under its mandate, made two sets of territorial promises, one to the Moslems and the other to the Jewish residents of the region. These official promises were originally fully reconcilable and attainable. However, British promises to the Arabs in the region were generously fulfilled, while their promises to the Jewish population were constantly violated. The Arabs were favored, as nearly twenty Arab sovereign states (such as Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, etc.) were artificially carved out and established by the British from the former Turkish Empire.
However, the development of the part of Palestine allocated by the major powers to the Jewish people took a different course. The first "land for peace" agreement took place when four-fifths of the promised Jewish homeland was given to the Hashemite family, an Arabian royal line imported from Saudi Arabia by the British. They were established as the ruling family in the present kingdom of Jordan in 1946, and were handed seventy-eight percent (78%) of the original land promised to the Jewish people by the League of Nations. In fact, the state of Israel today exists on the remaining one-fifth of the land originally promised. Yet, this loss of land provided no peace.
During the l930s, as Hitler was rising into power in Germany, nearly 100,000 German Jewish refugees found shelter in Palestine. This caused great agitation among the Arab leadership, accompanied by murderous anti-Jewish campaigns lasting three consecutive years. The British, anxious to draw the Arabs away from Nazi Germany, put an absolute stop to the Jewish immigration. Europe was ready to snare and destroy its Jewish population, and there was nowhere for them to go.
As millions of Jews were trapped in Europe, the leaders of the Jewish community in Israel demanded the end of the British Mandate. The Arabs, on the other hand, demanded that all of Palestine should become one nation with an Arab majority. And as the matter was debated and decided in the newly formed United Nations, the vote was cast for a sovereign Jewish state to be established.
However, there were serious problems with this U.N. plan, as this small territory, comprised only twenty-two percent of the original promised area, was further partitioned into two states, Palestinian and Jewish. This newly formed Jewish state was, in fact, made up of three disconnected regions, most of which were desert. Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and much of the Galilee were lost, while Jerusalem was to become an international city within the Palestinian state. Yet, in spite of this grim offer, after much agonizing debate, the leadership of the Jewish population accepted the U.N. plan, and on May 14, l948, the new state was declared sovereign and was named Israel. However, this sacrifice of land did not produce the desired peace either.
While the Jewish population painfully accepted the international ruling, the Arabs rejected the U.N. partition plan, demanding the entire land, and on May 15 the armies of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Iraq invaded the one-day-old state of Israel as the Mufti (an Arab religious leader) of Jerusalem who was Yassir Arafat's uncle, proclaimed, "I declare a holy war, my Moslem brothers! Murder the Jews! Murder them all!"
Ironically, these five neighboring Arab states, totaling an area of 1,200,000 square miles, attempted to swallow up tiny Israel consisting of 8000 square miles! Yet, after almost a year of fierce fighting, the small Jewish community in Israel, fighting at great odds, won back parts of the Galilee, Judea, Samaria, and liberated half of Jerusalem. In fact, many of the fighting soldiers were fresh arrivals from the European concentration and death camps with hardly any training and no command of Hebrew. Indeed, the victory of this untrained and poorly equipped army was the Lord's.
As the Arab armies retreated and agreed to an armistice, Jordan annexed Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem as its own, an illegal act which was never dealt with by the U.N., and these territories soon became breeding grounds from which to launch terrorist attacks against Israel's civilian population. Ironically, Jordan and Egypt now occupied the West Bank and the Gaza strip, the very territories allotted to the Arab Palestinians under the U.N. Partition Plan of l947, which they earlier rejected. Thus, the Arab inhabitants of these territories were virtually taken over by their own Moslem brethren and kept as subjugated people from that point on.
The "land for peace" formula never worked. It appears that the spirit, which is behind the territorial lust of Arab expansionism, is not at all interested in land, but in the total annihilation of the Jewish state. Thus, it will never be satisfied with partial settlements. The fact is that God, in His love for the Arab people, granted them great tracts of land. The territory of the sons of Ishmael is 672 times the size of the state of Israel. It is twice the size of the United States as it embraces all of Northern Africa and the Arabian peninsula, and has vast treasures of oil. Still, the driving spirit behind the blinded masses continues to push for and pursue the destruction of Israel. Land is not its goal, and peace is not an option!
Another truth which must be acknowledged is that Jerusalem was never an Arab or Palestinian capital, and that it was, until the Jewish settlers revitalized it in this century, a dusty provincial city that hardly played any economic, social, or political role in the region. Jerusalem is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible and has been the center of Jewish identity and faith ever since David wrestled it from the Jebusites three thousand years ago. Not once is Jerusalem mentioned in the Koran.
As to "East Jerusalem," there is East Chicago, East Hampton, and there used to be East Berlin, but, until the Arab propaganda machine created the concept, there was never an East Jerusalem, let alone "Arab East Jerusalem." The eastern part of Jerusalem, which is now predominately Arab, became so because the Jordanians, who occupied this part of the city for nineteen years, destroyed all traces of Jewish presence and drove all the Jewish residents out.
ISLAMIC HOLY SITES
There are none in Jerusalem. You will ask, "what about the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock? Aren't they the reason Jerusalem represents Islam's third most holy city?" The plain fact is that the Koran says nothing about Jerusalem. It mentions Mecca and Medina hundreds of times, but not once does it mention Jerusalem. And as for Muhammad's mystical visit to the city, there is no historical evidence to suggest that Mohammad ever visited Jerusalem.
So how did Jerusalem become the third holiest site of Islam? Muslims today cite a vague passage in the Koran, the seventeenth Sura, entitled "The Night Journey." It relates that in a dream or a vision Mohammed was carried by night "from the sacred temple to the temple that is most remote, whose precinct we have blessed, that we might show him our signs " In the seventh century, Muslim mystics identified the two temples mentioned in this verse as being in Mecca and Jerusalem, and started the legend. This "evidence" is as close as Islam's connection with Jerusalem gets; myth, fantasy, and deception.
All Islamic claims to "holy sites" are based, therefore, on the unfounded claim of Muhammad, a demonized lunatic who opened the spring of this satanic deception. Most, if not all, Islamic mosques and religious places in the entire land of Israel are built on top of the ruins of Jewish synagogues, just as the Dome of the Rock was strategically erected where the Temple was. This is normal Islamic pattern whereby they raise their holy sites on top of the conquered people's ruined temples to display their spiritual superiority and valor.
THE ISLAMIC FAITH
I will not deal here with the origin and history of the Islamic religion. Its demonic conception and wicked precepts can be easily researched as well as Muhammad's insanity and perversity. However, for our purpose here I will shortly bring out the deep-seated hatred and vindictiveness of this religion toward the Jewish nation, as this is the force that is behind the military and political dilemma in the Middle East.
A basic premise of Islam is that it is the religion which Allah, the great God, has raised up to replace both Judaism and Christianity. Both religions, the Koran teaches, failed Allah, and he therefore raised the Arab race to replace these inferior groups and to bring the world into submission, which is the meaning of the word Islam. It is impossible to be a good Muslim and make peace with Israel. This is the main problem in the Middle East.
The Koran (Sura 9:19) says that there are three things that attract more rewards than all others: belief in Allah, belief in the Last Day, and Jihad, holy war. It is recorded in Hadith, the book covering Muhammad's precepts, actions, and life, which is second in authority only to the Koran, that "the last hour will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them." It goes on to say that Jihad (holy war) is "the best method of earning (blessings) both spiritual and temporal. If victory is won, there is enormous booty If there is defeat or death, there is everlasting paradise." The least one in the Muslim "paradise" is promised eighty thousand servants and seventy-two virgins for perpetual sexual pleasure.
Martyrdom is a great way out from the hopeless existence of many Palestinian, so they are told. The Palestinian leadership encourages the youth and children to be in the front of the clashes and, we were told, pays the families $300 for a child that is wounded, and $2,000 if they die. We need to pray with wisdom and compassion, and especially for the Arab youth as daily propaganda from Palestinian television and radio broadcasts feeds them statements like that of the late Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran who said, "The purest joy in Islam is to kill and be killed for Allah," accompanied with images of street fighting, burning tires, and angry mobs.
Islam is a militant bloodthirsty religion, and the end of Islam will be destruction, probably through the humiliation of a crushing military defeat. As some say, only then will the demonic hold be broken off the Arab masses, and the harvest will come in earnest.
THE ISLAMIC LEADERSHIP
Yassir Arafat was a terrorist, is a terrorist, and probably will always be one. His career is long and bloody, so bloody in fact, that he was driven out of Arab countries and placed on their wanted lists. He committed his first murder at age 20, masterminded the biggest hijacking (four aircraft at once), the largest number of hostages (3,000 at one time), the largest ransom extorted ($5 million from Lufthansa) and the greatest number and variety of targets (40 civilian aircraft, five passenger ships, and 30 embassies, diplomatic missions, and schools). He has never apologized or condemned any of these actions.
It would not be far from the truth to say that Israel made Arafat. Desperately needing a negotiating partner for the envisioned peace process, which so many Israelis longed for, Israeli diplomatic efforts actually raised Arafat from a lowly place, being an aging terrorist who was on the run for years, to a position of statesman and head of a national movement. Sadly, he wasn't able to make the transition and remained a terrorist whose word is as deceptive as his motives, and who resorts to violence as soon as he does not get his way.
The events that are taking place now in the Middle East are not spontaneous outbursts of anger. These events of violence and deadly anger are the fruit of evil seeds planted by Arafat and his thugs for years in the hearts of the suffering population, and the suffering was not exclusively Israel's responsibility. Much of it was a result of a selfish dictatorial leadership that used great sums of money for their own Swiss Bank accounts and palaces in the capitals of the world. Arafat reportedly has palatial homes in Amman, Bethlehem, Gaza, Jericho, and Paris.
In fact, some of the havoc in the Palestinian street is directly due to the fact that many do not trust nor like Arafat. His leadership was forced upon the Palestinian population through "mafia style" democratic procedures, and is maintained by sheer terror. His administration is grossly inflated, and too much of the funds that arrive at its treasury from international and Israeli sources vanish into private pockets.
Yassir Arafat has totally failed to inform his people that a final peace accord with Israel, if one is still possible, will not satisfy all Palestinian aspirations. Israeli leaders, on the other hand, have consistently made clear that the road to a permanent peace is inevitably paved with "painful concessions," such as abandoning control over much of Israel's biblical heartland. Despite intense protest from many, the Israeli leadership has gone far in implementing those difficult concessions when the new uprising exploded.
The news programs in Arafat's official Palestinian television broadcasts are still filled with mild to severe anti-Israel sentiment. Even more interesting, though, are the fillers that are frequently shown between regular programs. They feature graphic scenes of the original Palestinian uprising and the tunnel riots of 1996. Mournful female singers extol the virtues of the "jihad martyrs and heroes" who are seen hurling stones and firebombs at armed Israeli soldiers. Thus, it takes very little to get contemporary fighters out into the streets when it suits Arafat's whim. And, with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak refusing to sign over the Temple Mount, it seems Arafat felt it was necessary to unleash his shock troops once again.
OUR PRESENT SITUATION
The "cease fire" agreement reached at the recent summit in the Sinai Peninsula is under daily assault itself. The land continues to be plagued with Palestinian violence, daily clashes, and civilian casualties. I will not burden you with the depressing details. Even though Arafat has now agreed to take "concrete steps" to halt the violence --however reluctantly-- it may be too late. With over 100 Arab funerals and several thousand wounded, Arafat's youthful warriors seem eager for vengeance.
The apex of the release of the spirit of perversion and murder came when two Israeli soldiers wandered into Palestinian controlled Ramallah by mistake, were taken in by the Palestinian Police force to their headquarters, beaten to death and mutilated on live TV with pictures of the murderers' blood covered hands waving in gleeful victory. During this mob "lynching" which was documented by foreign TV coverage, the wife of one of the murdered men called on his cell phone, only to hear the violent screams in the background and an Arab voice announcing to her, "we are murdering your husband!"
The Israeli military response was "conservative" at best, as "surgical" air to ground missiles were fired upon Palestinian Authority military and official targets, and that only after first warning the residents to evacuate the sites. Not one Palestinian was reported killed or wounded in these attacks.
As in previous days, the young jihad warriors continue to make their way outside of their cities and towns to attack Israeli positions located in relatively remote locations (IDF troops evacuated most parts of the Gaza strip in 1994, and most towns in the Judean and Samarian hills in 1995). The story is replayed in Ramallah, where daily clashes take place on the southern outskirts of town. That's the only place one can find Israeli soldiers since the city itself is under full Palestinian control.
Such is also the case in Bethlehem. No "Israeli occupation forces" patrol in the biblical town. Demonstrators must hike up to the northern outskirts of Bethlehem to find any IDF soldiers. And so they do, armed with fresh supply of children and youth leading the parades, and, of course, the TV crews. The only town where IDF soldiers are stationed is a small part of Hebron with its small Jewish enclave, which is there since this location is very precious to the Jewish people and is second only to the Temple Mount.
It will be wonderful should the land calm down, the spirits cool off together with the early winter rains we are presently receiving, and sane negotiations resume. However, it is likely to go the other way. How much time before the inevitable, no one knows. Meanwhile, however, our eyes are upon the Lord who always brings in His harvest during times of distress. And the harvest is plentiful around us.
As you pray, don't become lost in the Middle East "black hole." Our drama will go on for a while longer, and meanwhile God is busy on other fronts as well. Remember to watch and pray for the upcoming American elections as they are extremely important and will determine the entire direction this great nation will take in the coming generation. And pray for the workers in the Muslim world as their "work environment" is intensifying daily with the demons of Islam smelling blood. And, above all, pray for your own soul and family, as the coming days will test all of us, and we must take a clear and decisive stand in the spirit.
From Jerusalem Reuven Doron and family
Embrace Israel Ministries PO Box 10077
Cedar Rapids, IA 52410-0077 USA Voice: (319) 393-1096 / Fax: (319) 393-2912 E-Mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org Internet site: http://www.embraceisrael.org
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Duplication and re-transmission of this writing is permitted provided that complete source and contact information for Embrace Israel Ministries is included.
A Letter from Israel
The following was written by a former American . A board-certified nurse-practitioner and former president of the Conservative synagogue in Nashville, Stuart Goldstein lives in a small town near Haifa in Israel with his wife and three sons.
Jews are often accused, particularly since the Holocaust, of being overly paranoid about antisemitism - seeing the effects of antisemitism where none really exist. After watching and listening to the world news (CNN International, BBC, Sky News) along with the reaction of world governments and the UN to the latest violence here, most of us here can only conclude that antisemitism in the guise of anti-Israeli sentiments is alive and well in the world at large. Just last night I watched a 20 minute report on CNN in which Saeb Erakat and Hannan Ashrawi were interviewed and lied openly without challenge by their interviewers while I waited for an Israeli response. In a 20 minute report not one Israeli was interviewed. On my way home from work I listened to the BBC discuss what Israel was doing in "the occupied territories", a pre-Oslo term that bears no relation to reality when discussing the totally Palestinian controlled areas of Ramallah, Nablus, etc.
Before I head off to work for a 17 hour Yom Kippur shift, here are some facts as many of us see them and are living them in the current days:
- The myth of Ariel Sharon:
Sharon probably wishes he was as powerful as the world press makes him out to be! Was Ariel Sharon's ascent to the Temple Mount a smart thing to do in the current situation? No. Was his ascent to the Mount a sufficient "provocation" to trigger off the violence we have seen since that Friday? Also no. He went unarmed and without violence to visit a Jewish holy site that all agree is an act allowed to all Jews. Arab Israeli MKs were there as well without "provocation" even though they are Israeli Members of Parliament. Let's review.
The Thursday before Sharon's visit, an Israeli Border Patrol soldier was murdered by a double roadside bomb inside if Israel, an unprovoked act of violence we had not seen in years. The next morning (before Sharon's ascent to the Mount) a Palestinian policeman, on a joint patrol with an Israeli partner, pulled his automatic rifle on his partner murdering him and then wounded another Israeli policeman. When Sharon ascended the Mount, he saw the mounds of boulders which had been prepared well in advance for pelting Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall below. There was obviously well-planned uprising in the wings waiting for a convenient spark which Sharon provided. It is clear to Israeli security forces that that spark would have come from somewhere else eventually.
After he left, the Imam in the El Aksa mosque on the Mount whipped the congregation (about 2 thousand worshipers) into a frenzy repeating the "new Palestinian truth" that the Israelis have secret plans to take over the mount and destroy the mosques there and that Sharon represented their scout. The Moslem sermon on the Temple Mount today included the following supplications: "We want the battle against the enemy to be orderly. We want dead amidst the enemy. We want to kill and not be killed. We must fight guerrilla warfare." Thus the violence started as the crowds surged out after their prayers and began throwing the awaiting boulders over the wall and surging into the Old City to take over and burn an Israeli police station there, severely injuring a number of policeman who did not shoot into the crowds. Did you see it on the news?
We again ask the world, did the unarmed visit of a Jew to the Temple Mount justify this past week's violence? Are we to then assume that the Palestinian people are so out of control that any act to which they object may produce such violence as the only response? How then are we to trust any peace agreement? How then are we to trust Palestinian sovereignty in the Old City or trust them as our peaceful neighbors? Why is it that the world ignores the fact that the only time in history that there has been unlimited access to all religions to their holy sites in the Old City has been since the 1967 re-capture of the Old City by Israel?
- The myth of mere rocks against rifles:
Here is what a typical Palestinian attack looks like. Thousands (no exaggeration) of Palestinians, mostly young men and children, begin to storm an Israeli outpost which protects an Israeli village or the road bordering Palestinian territory (NOT occupied bu Israel) with Israel proper. I have never heard the question asked as to why we need such protection if we have a peace agreement and a partner for peace. Behind this mob, hiding behind buildings and other cover are both Palestinian police and civilians with automatic weapons who fire on the outpost.
The soldiers can either ignore these "mere rock throwers" until they physically overrun their outpost and attack what is beyond (unarmed Israelis) or selectively fire to try to stop the surging crowd from reaching the village they are protecting. As the world decries the 80+Palestinian deaths, no one stops to ask how many would actually be dead if Israeli forces were actually doing what they are accused of - shooting indiscriminately into these crowds with their automatic weapons. Literally hundreds or thousands of Palestinians would be dead by now if that were the case. And, instead of stopping the violence, the Palestinian diplomats now sing their one-note tune demanding an international inquiry into the violence, as if this will be a solution to anything no matter what is discovered.
Yes, tanks and helicopter gunships have been moved in to the worst areas. But they have been used as tactical scare tactics not as offensive weapons. Simply imagine how many would be dead if the fire power in these weapons had been used.
So, rock throwers are not mere nuisances. These masses of attackers represent a true threat to both the soldiers in their outposts as well as the Israeli citizens that live behind these outposts. Are more Palestinians being killed and injured than Israelis? Of course. They are out in the open while the Israeli troops are trapped within bunker-type buildings. The Israelis are not leaving these outposts to give chase as they well could. They are defending their positions. All media reports I have seen paint this as Israeli aggression.
Are children being killed? Indeed. I ask you, what kind of parent allows, and in many cases encourages, their child to go to the front lines of what is basically a war to throw stones at armed troops?? ! This is NOT civil disobedience or demonstration. This is mass mob rioting with all the dangers that entails. The Palestinians send their children to be slaughtered and then cynically use this against us in the court of world opinion. The reporters know this but are quick to blame us for the outcome.(I hope you all saw and read about the false front page NY Times/AP photo"showing" an Israeli soldier about to attack a bleeding Palestinian boy which turned out to be an Israeli soldier trying to protect a bleeding American yeshiva student who had been pulled out of a taxi, stoned and stabbed, from further attack. The press assumption: if a youth is bleeding, it must be the outcome of Israeli aggression).
- The myth of Israeli presence as a provocation:
The Palestinians have come to their borders with us and not vice versa. There has been no unprovoked Israeli insurgence into Palestinian territory. Wherever there is an Israeli presence - as approved by the Oslo agreements- it is to protect Israeli citizens who are constantly under threat of attack by our "peace partners". The Israeli outposts, well outside the independent Palestinian towns and villages, did not suddenly move towards those towns and villages and magically become objects of provocation. The Palestinians left their homes in masses and attacked these sites. Their diplomats ask us to remove our troops from these areas of "provocation" in order to gain land by violence that they did not gain by negotiation. If we allow that, where does it end?
Still, with all that, Israel yesterday agreed to hand control of a Jewish religious site in Nablus (Joseph's tomb) over to the Palestinian police in order that there would be absolutely no "provocative" Israeli presence anywhere near the Palestinian town. A few days before, in an unprecedented act of sheer hatred, the Palestinian police refused to allow Israelis to evacuate a severely wounded border policeman who had been shot in the neck by Palestinian rioters. Negotiations went on for 4 hours to no avail and the policeman died. In the meantime, Israel smuggled doctors dressed as Arab residents into Nablus to try to save the live of the son of the Nablus governor. He was airlifted to an Israeli hospital for treatment. Did you see this in your news?
In an agreement worked out by both sides, the Palestinians promised to protect this holy site as the Israelis withdrew. During the withdrawal, one Israeli border policeman was killed and several seriously wounded. After the withdrawal, the Palestinian masses stormed the tomb, pulled out Jewish religious articles, prayer books and the like and burned them, set fire to the inside of the tomb, and destroyed as much of the tomb itself that they could, stone by stone. These are acts by people who, according to Saeb Erakat and Hannan Ashrawi, just wanted Jewish presence out of their town but bear no hatred towards Jews or Israelis. They just want peace.
In all the years of conflict, not a single mosque, whether occupied and used or not, has been touched by Israeli authorities or civilians. This is the behavior of people who propose to have control over a city holy to 3religions and to protect the holy sites of all. This horrible act yesterday said more to Israeli Jews about the Palestinians true feeling towards the Jews than almost any other act during the current violence. Attacking army outposts represents a totally different statement than that made by destroying Jewish holy artifacts and sites. To us, it represents the true face of modern Islam.
- The myth of one-sided effects of violence:
As I speak, I can only exit my village in one direction, the roads being closed off in the other 2 directions by burning tires and rock and Molotov cocktail throwers. Lat week, my car was stoned and molotoved while exiting an archaeological site near my home and far from Arab towns, This is inside Israel proper where we are expected to trust our Israeli Arab citizens and try not to believe that there is fifth column within our midst. Throughout the country many main roads have been sealed off by either Palestinian or Israeli Arab riots. There are Jewish towns and villages where food and supplies must be airlifted in because there is no open roadway in or out of the villages. These are homes in Israel proper, not in yet to be negotiated territory. Have they mentioned this in your news? Is our government simply supposed to ignore this and abandon its citizens to whatever fate may await them at the hands of the mobs? Would an American (or French) government allow its citizens to be slaughtered by a mob of armed rioters? (By the way, Le Monde finally came out yesterday and publically decried Chirac's emphatic and public support of the recent Palestinian actions).
Perhaps the most telling interview I heard was on the BBC with a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. When asked if Arafat truly had the power to stop the mob violence, he said that it probably could not be done without exerting fatal force on the rioters. I was amazed when the logical follow-up question was not asked: "Then how do you expect the Israeli forces to stop this violence without using fatal force?" That question has never been probed in any media report I have seen. It is the duty of any government to protect its citizens from violence. Just what are we supposed to do here? Even a thousand soldiers in a row cannot stop a mass of thousands of rioters with rocks and automatic weapons.
- The myth of Lebanon & the UN:
Four months ago, Israel left Lebanon and then waited patiently while the UN took months to get permission from the Lebanese government to supervise the drawing of the border between the 2 nations. Israel withdrew to that border without hesitation and has been there ever since. The UN moved in to"monitor" the situation. Every single day since our withdrawal, mobs of Lebanese come their side of the border to throw rocks, bottles of burning oil, and molotov cocktails at the soldiers siting in their outposts, and worse, at farmers trying to tend their fields. What do they want??? For years the myth was that if Israel would only leave their security zone then things would return to normal.
We left. We continue to be taunted daily by mobs that have increased in size rather than decreased over time and whose weaponry had increased in sophistication (they now use rock catapults which are a serious weapon) and the damage they produce. The UN sits there in silence (other than their readiness to condemn Israel at the drop of a hat). Israeli soldiers have acted with the ultimate in restraint and there have been minimal casualties.
Yesterday, the worst nightmare of our country occurred. In an incredibly well-planned attack, Hezbollah forces crashed the border fence, drew a small patrol to the fence break with fire and then kidnapped 3 soldiers who were whisked away in a civilian automobile - not spontaneous act of violence. One of those soldiers was the cousin of the Bedouin chief of security at my hospital. I comforted him as he cried like a baby on my shoulder when he got the news at work last night.
Lebanon, of course, has clean hands in all this because it was done by the Hezbollah, not the Lebanese army. No matter that Lebanon, as a supposedly sovereign nation, should be held accountable for cross border violence instigated from within its boundaries. No matter that after Israel returned its security zone to Lebanese control that the Lebanese turned the area over to the Hezbollah rather than placing their own troops in control there. Lebanese sovereignty, between Syria and the Hezbollah, is a total myth. Where is the UN? Why they're debating a proposal condemning Israel for their recent aggression against Palestinians. Kafka lives!
And I return to my original premise about antisemitism posing anti-Israeli. The facts discussed above are available to the world press and they are certainly available to world leaders as well as the UN. Where is there any semblance of justice here? Surely there is enough wisdom around to understand that the side with the most weaponry is not always the aggressor. Was Russia condemned in the UN over Chechnya? Do you remember the massive fire power used in those battles by the Russian army against poorly armed rebels (also Muslims by the way)? Did you see the pictures of massive destruction of the Chechnyan towns and villages? Did that incident get half the attention that the Palestinian cause always gets? Ask yourselves why.
The last and most unfortunate myth:
- The myth of modern Islam as peaceful religion:
The three monotheistic religions of the world either began or perpetuated themselves through wars and holy battles. The two oldest of these religions, Judaism and Christianity, learned eventually to put away the sword and center their religions on faith in their God and acts of loving-kindness in the world.
The third religion, Islam, still separates the world into the "Lands of Islam" and the "Lands Under the Sword". The violent acts of recent days, instigated by the Imams in the mosques, show that Islam continues to put little value on human life and continues to believe that the world will be converted to Islam through violent subjugation. Any concept of sharing space or land in which there is a Muslim presence is anathema to them (no non-believer may even enter the city of Mecca).
In addition, they find it necessary in every way possible to try to negate all holy site claims of other religions, particularly Judaism, as we are witnessing with their denial that the Temple Mount ever housed a Jewish temple along with the denial that Joseph's tomb was a Jewish holy site. This, all ironically, while Jews the world over turn towards Jerusalem to pray, Muslims (even in Israel) turn their backs on Jerusalem as they turn towards Mecca.
When will the world media awaken and realize that Islam is not the peaceful faith it pretends to be and that the Islamic "cause" is, by definition, a violent one? Even as they report on the world's hottest trouble spots, overwhelmingly caused by Islamic violence, they continue to paint the Palestinians and the surrounding Arab world as victims and not the aggressors they are.
And so, these are very sad times for us as a people. What many don't comprehend is that they are perhaps even sadder times for the world at-large. If the world's moral compass becomes so warped as to accept almost any act against Israel as legitimate, where does that end? Israelis watched in stunned silence as 2 thousand Palestinian supporters crowded into Times Square. We see it as the ultimate chutzpah and ask where the AMERICAN Jews are?
So my friends, it is a very sad start to a new year. I am heading for our hospital, where I will be for at least the next 17 hours as we are the government army evac hospital for all of Northern Israel. As you might suppose, we are on high alert. A nice way to spend my Yom Kippur. Those of you who believe, please pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and our nation as a whole. Those of you who don't, we could sure use some positive energy, thoughts, and actions coming our way. We feel abandoned as in no time in recent history. Whether you even support Israel itself, support truth and justice and don't allow lies to warp your thinking and that of your friends..
From: Tammi Benjamin October 30, 2000.
October 30, 2000.
SOME QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE CONFLICT IN THE MIDDLE-EAST
Ken Garrison (email@example.com), Pastor - Fellowship Church, Director
- Tzemach Institute for Biblical Studies
Q: Why Do the Moslems Feel so strongly about the Temple Mount?
A: This is an important question that few have bothered to investigate. The answer is simple. The Temple Mount is important to Moslems only because it is important to Bible believing Jews and Christians. This is true because one of the most important tenets of Islam is that it must be demonstrated "superior" to any other religion. The mosque and the shrine coupled with Moslem sovereignty on the Temple Mount demonstrate that Islam is superior to Judaism and Christianity. The Moslem cry is "Allah Akbar". Most naive reporters translate this as "God is Great". Actually, the term means "Allah is greater" - Greater than the God of Israel, Greater than the God of Christianity.
No geographical site in the world has the Biblical significance of the Temple Mount. Indeed, it is virtually the only real "holy" site. Abraham called it the place where God will see (Genesis 22:14). David saw it as the site of house of the Lord and the altar of burnt offering for Israel (1 Chronicles 22:1). The first and second temples were built here. God declared that His name would be established at this site forever (2 Chronicles 7:16). It is the site where Jesus worshiped. It is the site of His death, resurrection, ascension and of His promised return. It will be the site of His reign in the age to come. We must conclude that this site has enormous significance for any Bible believer. Obviously, Moslems understand this better than most Jews and Christian do. Only by control of this site can Allah be demonstrated "superior" to the God of the Bible. Again we must establish the crucial point, the Temple Mount is important to Moslems only because it is important to Bible believing Jews and Christians.
Q: Is this Conflict the Preparation for Armageddon?
A: The leadership of the United States is in one of its most uncomfortable positions when faced with this issue? Righteousness demands that the United States should be squarely allied with Israel in this conflict. However, this nation has allowed itself to become more and more dependent on OPEC oil. We received a wake-up call through the oil embargo following the "Yom Kippur" war of 1973. We failed to heed that call. Instead of developing energy independence, this nation has become increasingly dependent on Moslem controlled oil. The lure of short term, economic growth and prosperity is more than any U.S. administration can resist. As a result, policy will be determined not on the basis of righteousness but on the basis of whatever is necessary for the promise of continued economic prosperity. We may hear empty official statements which appear to support Israel, but in reality, the nation will act in response to Moslem demands. The major media sources of this country will follow suit, and together with government sources, will deceive the American people.
It is in this way that I believe God is calling the United States down into the valley of Judgment (Joel 3:1-2). It is happening now. You will have to exercise great discernment to avoid being drawn into this judgment. It is your sons and daughters that will fill up that military array marching up to Har Megiddo (Armageddon). Believers must take a stand on a solid Biblical position and clearly announce that position now.
via: Tzemach News Service
Week Ending: 6 Cheshvan 5761/4 November 2000
TO: Friends (and friends of friends) of Bridges for Peace
FROM: Clarence H. Wagner, Jr., International Director - Jerusalem
DATE: November 14, 2000
November 14, 2000
Notice: The Bridges for Peace newly designed website is located at www.bridgesforpeace.com. Tell your friends to check it out. We are your Israel Connection.
THE ISLAMIZATION OF ISRAEL
As a Christian living in Jerusalem and working to build good interfaith relations, for the first time in 23 years, I am worried. I can see clearly that the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is threatening all the good work that has been accomplished over the past decades to bring faith communities together.
There are many reasons that this current conflict has erupted, from political to economic. Yet, the most disturbing manifestation now is that the conflict is becoming a religious confrontation that is bringing Judaism, Christianity and Islam into direct conflict. Sadly, recent events show that Islam is making moves in Israel and the territories that are challenging Judaism and Christianity.
One such move affects my neighborhood of Gilo, on the southern edge of Jerusalem, which is predominately Jewish, and adjacent to the Palestinian Authority town of Beit Jalla, which is predominately Christian. Since 1967, these two communities have lived side-by-side in harmony. Now, there is almost daily machine gun fire upon Gilo from Beit Jalla, which is the work of Yassir Arafat's Tanzim (Fatah) militia who take over a home or factory and fire into the residences of Gilo, trying to get Israel to fire back. The weapons being used by the Palestinians are large caliber machine guns with armor piercing bullets that are going through several walls of the apartments in Gilo that are being fired upon, and necessitate a response. Additionally, the Tanzim have chosen positions near to churches in Beit Jalla, most notably the Church of St. Nicholas, hoping that Israel's return fire will hit a church. Then it will be front-page news for the "Christian West," that Israel is now destroying churches. We saw this tactic used by the PLO in Lebanon in 1982, when they would place an anti-aircraft gun on the roof of a hospital, or position a tank next to an residential block. Then, when Israel struck the gun or tank with return fire, it would damage the hospital or apartment building and the PLO would claim that Israel was "attacking hospitals and defenseless civilians." For this reason, the Israel Defense Force is being very careful about their targets in Beit Jalla. Meanwhile, innocent residents of Beit Jalla and Gilo are subjected to almost daily violence because of some outsiders who are coming in to victimize both communities and drive a wedge between Christians and Jews - not only locally, but also internationally.
Biblical sites sacred to Jews and Christians are also being taken over by Islam.
In Jericho, the ancient Jewish synagogue was burned and crowds prevented fire trucks from putting out the blaze. In the heart of Nablus (Biblical Shechem) Palestinians took control of Joseph's Tomb after days of fierce fighting. Under the Oslo Accords, this site was considered an important Jewish holy site where Jewish young men were allowed to pray and study Torah. After the take-over, the Moslems immediately converted it into a mosque, complete with a freshly painted green dome. This "take-over" was quickly followed by calls amongst the Palestinians to overrun and take Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, not far from my house, and the Cave of Macpelah, in Hebron. All of these are biblical patriarchal sites, holy to those of us who honor the Bible. Yet, because Islam teaches that Jews and Christians perverted the faith given them by God, they believe Allah gave the final revelation to Mohammed. Furthermore, for Islam, all Jewish and Christian (Biblical) characters are considered good Moslems, even though Islam did not exist before the 7th century. Because Islam considers itself superior to both Judaism and Christianity, they have no theological problem in usurping Jewish and Christian sites and changing them into Islamic sites, or simply building a mosque next door. Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus (Shechem), and Jericho which were Jewish towns in the days of the Bible, have been given over to the Palestinian Authority, and now the last vestiges of Jewish life and presence are quickly being eradicated.
However, of most concern is the Islamic usurpation of the Temple Mount, the site of Solomon's and Herod's Temple, which is a central holy site for both Jews and Christians. At present, there are three mosques on this site; the third one recently built in the underground "Solomon's Stables," where many artifacts of biblical significance were destroyed in the construction process. Even though Israel gave the Moslem authorities control of the Temple Mount in 1967 and have respected the site, the Moslems refuse to acknowledge the importance of the site to Jews.
Here is what the official Palestinian Authority website says about the Western Wall, sacred to the Jewish people as one of the remaining fragments of Herod's great Temple complex. You can see that Islam totally redefines the entire area and eradicates its history.
"Al-Boraq Wall: It is part of the exterior facade of the western wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque. "Al-Boraq" creature which carried Mohammad during his ascension to heaven was tied to this wall. Some Orthodox religious Jews consider it as a holy place for them, and claim that the wall is part of their temple, which all historic studies and archaeological excavations have failed to find any proof for such a claim. In order to undermine the foundations of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Israeli government has convert it into a religious shrine for Jews, prohibiting non-Jews to enter it, except for a limited number of tourists."
This description not only flies in the face of history and archaeology, but has the more sinister motive of eradicating the biblical history of the area, which undermines the validity of Judaism and Christianity. Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority is calling their uprising the "Intifada of Al-Aqsa" and are calling the Moslem world to declare a jihad (holy war) against Israel and come to help defend the mosque. Frankly, it has never been threatened.
In a day when everyone is calling for religious freedom, freedom of access to holy sites, and freedom of worship, the historical record shows that Israel has been the only one who has respected and encouraged this practice, while the Palestinian Authority and its majority Moslem community have proven just the opposite. The PA cannot protect the sites nor guarantee free access. These most recent incidents require us as Christians and Jews to speak out to the proper international authorities to protect our biblical sites and places of worship before they are lost forever.
- by Clarence H. Wagner, Jr., International Director, Bridges for Peace - Jerusalem
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Now we have the proof, and we should be thankful for Dr. Rantisi, Hamas new leader's clarity: that Allah - many times wrongly translated as 'God' - is not the God of the Bible, nor the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Allah is another deity, one who drinks blood as water, who loves jihad and terror, and promises virgins in his so-called paradise to those who kill Jews - the more the better.
This Allah has nothing, nothing to do with the God of the Bible. And no matter how many times the muezzins shout out that Allah hu ahbar - 'our Allah is greater' - the God of Israel remains infinitely greater and is the only true and living God and Creator, a God of love to be worshiped as the Creator of us all.
So Dr. Rantisi's declaration that Allah (not God!) has declared war on President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon, and thus on the U.S. and on Israel, is strangely revealing. Every intelligent believer already knows that this evil bloodthirsty 'god' has, like Amalek, a war for generations against the only true God and His chosen and elected people. What's new?
But let no one, and I repeat - no one - from henceforth translate Allah into God. It's pure nonsense.
Allah is the god of terrorists; Hizb'allah, the party of this god. So, if Allah were the same as the only true God, then He would be fighting His own people, the Jews who, in accordance with His eternal promise, He has brought back to His own land as He promised again and again in His word to do.
Allah, if he was the only true God, is making war against a President who begins his day with prayer and the reading of the Bible, and who believes in and loves God.
How ridiculous can one be?
So now President Bush and the whole enlightened and believing western world knows. Allah and his jihad-centered and terrorist-championing religion has declared war on Israel and the U.S. In this fallen and decadent world, these nations are the last strongholds of the Judeo-Christian values inspired by the only true and living God. And these are the strongholds that need to be terrorized into submission to the teaching of ISLAM by the will of this bloodthirsty deity, Allah!
When Christians earnestly prayed in England and elsewhere to be delivered during the second world war from the terrible scourge of Nazism - God used the U.S. led Allied forces to bring victory on the Continent over this beastly power. So too, now, we as believers need to earnestly pray that God will again deliver us from this equally dangerous power, and cause leaders to arise, especially in the West, who like Churchill and Roosevelt, will vanquish this Evil Force!
May the true God - the God of Israel - have mercy upon us! (March 30, 2004).
Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center
INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN ZIONIST CENTER
P.O. Box 49063, 91490 Jerusalem, ISRAEL
Telephone: +972 (0)2 581 9701, Fax: +972 (0)2 540 0133
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org Web-site: www.israelmybeloved.com
Cheques can be made payable to ICZC, P.O. Box 49063, 91490 Jerusalem, ISRAEL
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