Gaza, Israel, Politicians and the Church – Some Questions

 

Like many others I have been concerned and disturbed by the scenes and news from Gaza – at least 62 dead, including a number of women and children.   I have also been concerned by the reactions.  On the one hand there are those who regard this as yet another proof of the evil apartheid Israeli state, on the other there are those who see it all as the work of Hamas terrorists provoking a besieged Israel.  And everyone it seems has to have their say and make their pronouncements.  My problem is simply that I don’t know enough.   So instead of commenting I thought I would ask some questions and see if anyone can provide some answers on one or all of the following:

  1. Does anyone know what actually happened?  Did the IDF fire on unarmed civilians who were peacefully protesting?
  2. What does the opening of an American embassy in Jerusalem have to do with the Bible or indeed Christianity?
  3. Is Israel considered beyond any criticism by some evangelicals?
  4. Why were women and young children taken on a protest march into what is in effect a war zone?
  5. Why was live ammunition used?
  6. Why do so many politicians, church leaders and others express support for Hamas, whose aim is to wipe out Israel – they sing (as do protesters in the UK) ‘from the Jordan to the sea, Palestine shall be free’?). Do protesters believe that a Jewish state should be allowed at all?
  7. Why has the Scottish Parliament  had 59 motions on Israel (despite the Scottish Parliament having no responsibility for foreign policy), of which 52 have been anti-Israel?
  8. Where were the statements from politicians and church leaders about the massacres in Indonesia this weekend (where children were used in suicide bombing on churches which killed 11 people)?  Or the continuing killings in Nigeria and South Sudan?
  9. Does Iran have anything to do with this?
  10. Is it true that 50 of the 62 killed were Hamas members – described by Hamas as their martyrs and therefore not civilians?

I don’t think that people making statements according to their beliefs about Israel or the Jews is particularly helpful….but we should all pray for the peace of Israel and Palestine.

Why Anti-Semitism Matters in the British Election

11 thoughts on “Gaza, Israel, Politicians and the Church – Some Questions

  1. Thanks for this, David. The truth is that media reporting of this particular issue always seems to be lamentably partisan – and therefore it becomes increasingly impossible to form a reliable opinion on the matter. However, a few thoughts:

    (1) the independent reports I’ve seen suggest that 80% of those killed in this latest disturbance were Hamas operatives. Clearly, it is very sad that anyone would lose their life, but if those who did were of the belief that the Jewish State has no right to exist, and who are content to prosecute that objective by means of violence, then that does put a different complexion on matters.

    (2) apparently real bullets were used instead of the rubber alternatives because of the distances involved. Perhaps someone better qualified may be able to comment on that issues.

    (3) for all of its very obvious deficiencies, the State of Israel has a better record on human rights and toleration than most of the surrounding nations – which ought to have the effect of letting the gas out of current inflated vitriolic media response.

  2. David totally agree with your thoughts. Hamas are a group of terrorist whose aim is to wipe Israel of the map. They were shooting across the border and sending in bombs on Israeli men woman and children.

  3. 1. Does anyone know what actually happened? Did the IDF fire on unarmed civilians who were peacefully protesting?

    Response: It has been a common experience for armed militants to be embedded amongst a civilian population. Lt. Col. Richard Kemp – a retired army officer – regularly and publicly testifies to that the Israel Defence Force operates the highest level of integrity of any army in the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc6hB5v5Uh8&t=7s

    2. What does the opening of an American embassy in Jerusalem have to do with the Bible or indeed Christianity?

    Response: Contrary to what many American Christians suggest, America in not mentioned at all in biblical prophecy. However given that Jesus is not coming back to New York, London, Paris or Rome it is not insignificant in terms of the focus of the world will be on that city; and now the powerful nation in the world has located its embassy there.
    God has called Jerusalem ‘the city in which He has caused His Name to dwell’ (2 Chron 6:6)

    3. Is Israel considered beyond any criticism by some evangelicals?

    Response: Not nation on earth should be beyond criticism, but it is shear hypocrisy and double-standards to hold Israel to a much higher standard; and to meanwhile virtually ignore the gross abuse of human rights and dignity in many other parts of the world.

    4. Why were women and young children taken on a protest march into what is in effect a war zone?

    Response: The poor ordinary Palestinian people have been chronically deprived and abused by the war-mongering ambitions of their leaders; including using the people as cannon fodder to grab the world’s attention.

    5. Why was live ammunition used?

    Response: Facing armed terrorists (amongst the crowds) what else can be done? Refer also to Richard Kemp (above)

    6. Why do so many politicians, church leaders and others express support for Hamas, whose aim is to wipe out Israel – they sing (as do protesters in the UK) ‘from the Jordan to the sea, Palestine shall be free’?). Do protesters believe that a Jewish state should be allowed at all?

    Response: It is part of the Hamas charter and Iran’s declared intent to destroy the state of Israel. “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it, as it has eliminated its predecessors.” (Extract from Hamas Charter).

    7. Why has the Scottish Parliament had 59 motions on Israel (despite the Scottish Parliament having no responsibility for foreign policy), of which 52 have been anti-Israel?

    Response: A very good question; and one which the Scottish Parliament should be called to give an account. But also in the current session of the United Nations, EU states will vote for at least 15 out of 21 Arab-sponsored resolutions singling out Israel. EU states have failed to introduce a single UNGA resolution on the human rights situation in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Cuba, Turkey, Pakistan, Vietnam, Algeria, or on 175 other countries.

    8. Where were the statements from politicians and church leaders about the massacres in Indonesia this weekend (where children were used in suicide bombing on churches which killed 11 people)? Or the continuing killings in Nigeria and South Sudan?

    Response: “Indeed”

    9. Does Iran have anything to do with this?
    Response: Iran has been financing, equipping and training Hezbollah in Lebanon. The latter have now a massive stockpile of weaponry and are currently, as Iran’s proxy, the biggest existential threat to Israel at this time.

    10. Is it true that 50 of the 62 killed were Hamas members – described by Hamas as their martyrs and therefore not civilians?

    Response: If it is indeed true, then it further explains why live ammunition was used.
    http://honestreporting.com/idfs-defense-at-the-gaza-border-whats-the-truth/

    1. Just to respond to one of your points – number two. You reference 2 Chron 6: 6 but conveniently ignore the Ichabod event recorded in Ezekiel. Just because God dwelt in a particular earthly location at a specific point in time does not mean that He always does so or is bound to do so. I can just as menaingfully point to Rev 11: 8 which describes teh city as spiritually Sodom and Egypt wherein our Lord was crucified.

      But let us assume that God’s Name does continue to dwell in Jerusalem in the special manner you mean, does this confer a special right on those who follow Judaism which rejects Christ, or on Christians who accept Him? Plumping for the former option is a complete non sequitur.

      And please don’t give me any of that stuff about Jews being special in God’s eyes. Jesus dismissed this in John 8 where He said of His Jewish critics, “Ye are of your father the devil.” This was reinforced by Paul in Galatians 3: 29 where he says that all of Christ’s followers are the seed of Abraham.

      But even if God, pace John, was impressed by Jewish DNA, recent studies demonstrate that there is no link between modern Israeli Jews and the Jews of the Bible. The origins of modern Israelis lie outside the Bible lands! This notion was first postulated by a Jew named Arthur Koestler but it was based on historical arguments. You can find a fairly up-to-date account of the DNA evidence in a 2012 article in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Genome Biology and Evolution. The author is himself an Israeli jew named Eran Elhaik.

  4. David these are good questions and comments. Unfortunately an extremely right wing government in Israel reacted exactly as Hamas wanted. It is all very sad.

    1. “Israel reacted exactly as Hamas wanted”
      And, of course, exactly the way any responsible government would be required to act in order to protect its citizens.

  5. Last nights ‘This Week’ episode had a good piece about the Israel/Palestine conflict and
    the recent tragic deaths by Dan Hodges called ‘Not Surprising Israel Opened Fire.’ Also last nights Question Time (about 20-30 mins in) had a heated discussion about the tragic events at the Israel/Palestine border with some insightful comments from a former police commissioner on the panel. In answer to some of your questions the facts seem to be – (1) 40,000 Palestinians gathered at the border fence between Israel and Palestine after being organised by Hamas to do so. (2) It was not a peaceful protest – many of the people gathered had guns, knives,sling shots, molotov cocktails, bombs and were throwing rocks. (3) At least 50 of the people tragically killed were Hamas operatives. Hamas made it clear beforehand that their objective was to breach the border and kill Jewish people. (4) Jewish settlements were only 400 yards from the fence. Hamas provided maps to the ‘protestors’ showing how to get to the nearest Jewish settlements. (5) Hamas have a history of using civilians as shields to mask their terrorist activities. (6) Israel’s snipers aimed for the legs of those that were trying to break through the fence in order to try and incapacitate them but not kill them thus the horrifyingly high rate of people injured compared to those tragically killed. The Israeli army apparently recorded every shot fired and got permission for every shot first. (7) Live rounds were used because of the distance involved – water cannons and rubber bullets need close range to be effective. (8) Israel dropped thousands of leaflets on Palestine from the air days/weeks before warning the people that if they tried to break the border fence, kill Israeli soldiers or kill Israeli civilians that they would be shot. (9) Israel as a sovereign nation has a right to defend its borders from terrorist attacks. – Whilst we as Christians must be sympathetic and prayerful to the terrible plight of the Palestinians, I believe it is also our duty as Christians to have a special place in our hearts for the Jewish people. That does not mean that they are above reproach and criticism or that we take sides unfairly but when there is clear anti-semitism in news stories and discussions regarding Israel (as there is in this case) then we as Christians have a duty to offer a fair and balanced assessment of the complicated Israel/Palestine conflict. Israel deserves a fair trial and currently is not getting one. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p067h6jd
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0b3ppvq/question-time-2018-17052018

  6. These are good and fair questions David. Since others have already answered them effectively, I’ll just comment on your Q3: “Is Israel considered beyond any criticism by some evangelicals?”

    Some evangelicals (mainly though not exclusively American) believe Israel can do no wrong. Others believe she can do no right. Neither are correct.

  7. Old Jesus must be on the side of his ancestral ethnic group whose Talmud says that the impudent heretic is currently being sauteed in ordure.

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