Thinking About Israel
In a recent post, Tim brought up some of the tragic events occurring in Israel and challenged his readers to think about Israel. . . So I did. Here goes.
I am fully aware that the majority of the Christian community will disagree with my perception of the Middle East. But please bear in mind that my 'perception' is based on history, and the ideals of mercy and justice for all. Let me explain.
I agree that Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, et al should be eradicated. And I would support the Sharon tyranny if that was what he was doing. But it is not. He is targeting the averagePalestinian as well. Bulldozing houses of accused collaborators and the homes of their familiy members, leaving those who had nothing to do with terrorism homeless and helpless. This includes small children and the elderly. The problem with this policy is that it throws the baby out with the bath water. You punish the guilty as well as the innocent. This is just not right. I will go further and say that Israel has a right to defend itself and was right to fight back in all the attacks from Arab nations in the past. I am even glad they won. But Isarel's behavior over the last 35 years is in many ways indefensible.
I draw the line in 1967. After the Six Day War, Israel took territory from Jordan, Syria and Egypt. The U.N. ruled and the U.S. supported the resolution calling on the formation of a Palestinian state from those lands and that Israel would be violating international law by colonizing it. Palestinians used to live on the land that is now Israeli strip malls and housing developments. Sharon, the father of the settlement movement, has taken land that was internationally set aside for Palestinian development. The Palestinians were under the 'care' of Jordan and Egypt in the West Bank and Gaza until a formal Palestinian state could be formed. Unfortunately the Arab states attacked Israel several times before that could be done. The Arabs should not have attacked Israel. Israel had the right to defend itself. Sharon does not have the right to violate international law. After all, this guy commanded troops which were responsible for taking Jerusalem from under the United Nations authority in the Six Day War. This was after they had previously voted to allow the U.N. to administer it as an international city, open to all.
Furthermore, if Sharon were really interested in peace he would be building his defensive wall along the pre-1967 border known as theGreen line. He is not. After 1967, the conservative party, led by Sharon spearheaded the settler movement to consciously movePalestinians off land that they had occupied as long as the Israelis had in their absence. Sharon figured that once there were too manyIsraelis in the West Bank, you couldn't move them off. Guess what, he was right. Yes, he ordered 7,000 Israelis out of Gaza. Good start. Besides, Israel has never had an historical claim to Gaza in the first place. Palestinians have.
To make sweeping generalizations about the people in the region is shortsighted. We cannot lump all Palestinians into one group. Just like some Islamic fundamentalist should not lump all Americans into one evil category. I'm not saying that many Palestinians like Israelis. But by this point in the game, many more just want Israelis off their land so they can build something of a state. They want stability and leadership among their people and they too, probably want to see an end to terrorism. Some Christians believe that the media skews things against Israel. I submit the Christian community turns a blind eye to the harsh treatment of the average Palestinian and then blindly supports Sharon and his regime. I am fully aware of God's promises to Israel. I'm also fully aware that the Diaspora happened for a reason. Please remember that modern day Israelis are not living for God anymore now than the Palestinians we so easily condemn. Sharon is not a religious man, neither are the majority of Israelis. In times past God has blessed and will continue to bless Israel when they lived for him. However, while God will always preserve them doesn't mean He supports their aggression or doesn't mean they will inhabit part of the land they were promised. I understand and defend the idea that Israel should defend itself. But in part, Israel needs to stop doing the things that perpetuate terror like bulldozing Palestinian homes to make way for a new Starbucks or building new tracts housing where Palestinians have been living for centuries. There is no new mandate from God for any of these things that I can see in Scripture.
I am not defending terrorism. But I do refuse to blindly support the Sharon government and condone its behavior. Our tax dollars go to help build those settlements. When Arabs see Israelis driving American made Caterpillar bulldozers, they rightly make Americans complicit in Israeli crimes. We should be ashamed of ourselves, yet many never give it a thought. Not surprising from a country that never thinks about the thousands of deaths it is responsible for in Iraq. Why should we care as long as we can continue to watch TV, surf the web, go to McDonalds and drink lattes until we puke?
Knowing history the way I do and current events the way I do, I'm sorry I cannot support what is going on. I don't know how anyone can. We need to know our Scripture and some history as well as get our news from several different places around the world.
Would God approve of Israel's treatment of the Palestinian people? I don't know, God will do what God will do and my job is to be thankful that I am a recipient of his Grace. May God bring peace to both Israelis and Palestinians.