All UN member nations, including Israel, are signatories to the Fourth Geneva Convention. This convention outlined the treatment of the civilian population of an occupied state by an occupying state. My interpretation is that basically an occupying state must virtually take on the role of a normal government of the occupied state. In other words, if say, my home country, Australia, was occupied by Japan, as was nearly the case in the Second World War, then the Japanese occupying force would have to assume the role of the Australian government in all the areas that the Australian government would normally need to take on. The difference being that while the government is normally elected and tolerated quite well, even by those who didn’t vote for it, an occupying power is considered a hostile entity and has the competing role of maintaining the security of the occupying forces themselves from the occupied population.

The role of the occupying forces is not small, or inexpensive if it wants to maintain an occupation and stay within the limits of International Law. It must, as a minimum requirement, protect the rights of the occupied people just as if they were a normally elected government and try to satisfy the security needs of the occupying force as well. This is indeed a difficult task, but that is just the point. International Law is not there to make an occupation easy. An occupation that satisfies the minimum requirements of International Law would put an immense strain on the resources of the government of the occupying force and it is supposed to. In this way, International Law is trying to deter an occupation from continuing for an extended period of time. Put simply, if you can’t afford to maintain an occupation and satisfy the requirements of International Law, then get out of the country and end the occupation!

Over the last two weeks I have seen how, in numerous instances, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza violates International Law in grievous ways, all over the territories it occupies.

The question is, “How does Israel justify all these obvious violations of International Law?” The answer that Israel offers is that the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply in this case because these conventions are meant to be applied between states, and the West Bank and Gaza have never had proper Palestinian governances and hence cannot be considered as a state. That is, Israel is not occupying the West Bank and Gaza in a manner that would invoked the Fourth Geneva Convention. It needs to be said that no country, the US included, accepts this answer. This is clearly a matter of semantics that completely misses the point of the conventions.

But even if the Israeli answer is correct, and it has indeed found a loop hole in International Law, then what can we say about the attitude of the Israeli state? In my mind, if any state is actively looking for a loop hole in International Law that enables it to opt out if its obligations to uphold human dignity and human rights like any reasonable government should, then that government was never terribly interested in the concept of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in the first place.
Regardless of whether or not the Israeli argument on this point is correct, they have lost the moral argument at the very least. The testimony of my own eyes over even the last two weeks has only confirmed this point to me.

CRAIG NIELSEN

DISCLAIMER
I am participating in a program as an Ecumenical Accompanier serving in the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The views contained here are personal to me and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Council of Churches Australia or the World Council of Churches. If you would like to publish the information contained here (including posting on a website), or distribute it further, please first contact the EAPPI Communications Officer (eappi.communications@gmail.com) for permission. Thank you.

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As mentioned before, the Seam Zone is that region of Palestine that exists between the Green Line (the 1949 Armistice Line) and the Separation Barrier. Many Palestinians who live on the West Bank side of the barrier either work or have land in the Seam Zone. These people need permits to enter the Seam Zone and many of them also go to work in Israel. To get a permit is not easy and we have met many Palestinians, here in Jayyus, and elsewhere, who need to get across into the Seam Zone but cannot for a variety of seemingly strange reasons. More about this in the next post. A different category of persons altogether are Palestinians that actually live in the Seam Zone. According to a United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) report in 2014, over 11,000 Palestinians live in the Seam Zone. This of course does not include the approximately 200,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem that live between the barrier and the Green Line.

Palestinians living in the Seam Zone are extremely vulnerable as they are effectively living in Israel but without Israeli citizenship, and are very often in close proximity to settlements. This also means that building permits, while extremely difficult to obtain in area C, are impossible to get in the Seam Zone. Last Thursday, 30th October, I had the privilege of accompanying the Palestinian Medical Relief Society’s (PMRS) mobile clinic (based in Qalqiliya) on its rounds through some villages in the Seam Zone. The mobile clinic’s van was accompanied by a car with two Dutch activists and a Palestinian driver. Both vehicles had yellow number plates (as opposed to the green number plates that West Bank Palestinians have) and so they had a chance of getting into the Seam Zone.

We had to pass through the Jaljoulia checkpoint to get to the villages we needed to visit, and this took about 30 minutes. Our belongings were X rayed, phones checked for traces of explosives and our passports scrutinized three times. The vehicles were checked using mirrors to look underneath and all compartments were thoroughly searched. The first village we visited was an unauthorized Bedouin village called Arab ar Ramadin al Janubi. Unauthorized means that the village did not exist before 1948. As such, the Israeli military does not allow the village to build any infrastructure such as roads, electricity or water supply. About 300 people live in this little village, the land being purchased from people living in the village of Habla, just on the other side of the barrier. The people of this village are in a better position than many in the Seam Zone as they can prove their ownership of the land. This does not stop the Israeli military from demolishing any new structures even as small as animal enclosures if they find out that any have been newly constructed. The people of this village have managed to get electric power from the village of Habla and have constructed an infant/primary school for their kids despite that their first attempt was demolished by the Israeli military. When looking at the village one would think that the village was very poor but Suhad Hashem, PR officer for the clinic, said that the villagers don’t want donations, they want their freedom and their rights.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                       Mobile Medical Clinic in Arab ar Ramadin al Janubi

The next village we visited was Arab Abu Farda (also Bedouin). This village was in much worse shape than the other village as it had no power and no running water. The French government constructed a large water tank but the Israeli military has prevented it from being filled. The villagers have to buy water from outside the village at an expensive price. The village has a high infant mortality rate and upon even visiting the village for a short time, one feels that the health problems in the village would be significant. Both villages have the shadow of demolitions hanging over them and their future is extremely uncertain. These Bedouins originally lived in the Negev before 1948 but were expelled into the West Bank after 1948 and ultimately they were moved up to the place they now reside. In both of these villages I was continually touched in my heart by the generosity and warmth of these people despite their difficult circumstances.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                       Bedouin Kids and the mobile clinic in Arab Abu Farda

After visiting the villages our driver took us up to see the Israeli settlement called Alfe Menashe which stands on top of the hill overlooking the valley where the Bedouin villages lie. As we stood looking out from a scenic lookout in the settlement, a softly spoken middle aged women from Alfe Menashe came and asked what we were doing. When we told her where we had been she said that she thought that these Bedouin people could live better and that the problem was that they were lazy. When queried about house demolitions she said that it wasn’t true, such things didn’t happen. All the while during this experience I couldn’t help thinking about the idea that the measure of a society is determined by how that society treats its most vulnerable members. That hardly counts in some ways in this case because Israel doesn’t consider such people to be members of their society. International Law says otherwise. As an occupying power, the Israeli Government has a moral and legal responsibility to protect the rights of these people, that is, their rights to education, a healthy life, safe housing, freedom of movement and legal and political rights. How Israel convinces itself that such obligations are not theirs, is another story.

CRAIG NIELSEN

DISCLAIMER I am participating in a program as an Ecumenical Accompanier serving in the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The views contained here are personal to me and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Council of Churches Australia or the World Council of Churches. If you would like to publish the information contained here (including posting on a website), or distribute it further, please first contact the EAPPI Communications Officer (eappi.communications@gmail.com) for permission. Thank you.

My apologies to readers of this blog for my long absence in posting on this blog. I am going to make up for it in the following weeks as I am participating in a program with the World Council of Churches in the West Bank (see disclaimer at the bottom of this blog). I will be here for 3 months, living in the small rural village of Jayyus in a typical house in the village but with 4 other internationals participating in the program.

During our initial orientation and training for the program, we listened to a talk by a young ex soldier named Shay Davidovich.
Shay grew up in the Ariel settlement which is one of the largest settlements in the West Bank and is situated in the Seam Zone in what is known as the Ariel finger. The Seam Zone is that area in Palestine that lies between the Separation Barrier and the Green Line (the 1949 Armistice line) and the term “finger” refers to the Seam Zone region that pokes into the West Bank like a finger, ending with the Ariel settlement at the tip.

Shay grew up in an Israeli family that had no particular interest in the issue of the Palestinians and after high school graduation he joined the Israeli military and was stationed in the West Bank. Fairly quickly into his service in the West Bank, Shay started to question his role and it’s relationship to the narratives that he had been taught as a student about the West Bank and Israel’s role in that region. This led to a gradual process of disillusionment that Shay related to us, and this process culminated in his joining the movement known as Breaking the Silence. This group consists of ex Israeli soldiers who have chosen to speak out openly about the things that they experienced as soldiers in the West Bank.

Amongst a number of other disturbing facts, Shay related a particular story of how Israeli soldiers in the West Bank are instructed as to how to conduct an arrest on Palestinian civilians. One might assume that new soldiers get involved in mock role plays using other soldiers as arrestees and arrestors, but at least in Shays case, you would be wrong.

According to Shay, soldiers are taught how to arrest Palestinians by choosing a Palestinian family that is known by Israeli intelligence to have had absolutely no connection to violence or violent demonstrations. The idea being that this would bring the risk level of new soldiers learning arrest procedures getting hurt, down to a minimum. I guess that sounds sensible to some. The soldiers would then go to the village where the family lives, in the middle of the night, usually between midnight and 5am, and carry out the arrest. The person arrested, usually the father or an older male, would be blind folded and hand cuffed (hands behind the back) and taken away without explanation. A day or two later the person would be restored to their family, once again, without explanation. The family would have no idea that this was a mock arrest. Given that Palestinians are routinely arrested and receive prison sentences of up to two or three years for, what would seem to my mind, fairly minor offences that many Palestinians believe that these arrests are just excuses made up by the Israelis to harass and control them, the upset that these mock arrests cause the families can not be underestimated.

Shay told us that as a soldier, he was instructed that the military’s job was to control the Palestinian population and that the main way to do this was to continually let them “feel your presence”. This meant that Palestinians must continually be let know who is boss and that it is the Israeli military that make the rules to achieve this goal of control.

Shay showed us a short film, that was actually made by the Israeli military, allegedly to teach Israeli soldiers how to achieve this goal of “letting them feel your presence” in the context of checkpoint duty. The video showed disturbing scenes of Israeli soldiers beating Palestinian civilians at crowded checkpoints, even while the Palestinians had their hands tied behind their backs. This video somehow made its way to Israeli television and a public outcry ensued. The soldier who in particular was shown to be handing out the most abusive treatment was court martialed and given a prison sentence. A petition, signed by 60 members of the convicted soldiers unit, said that the soldier accused was being used as a scapegoat and that this type of incident was common place and that all superior officers in charge were aware of the situation and know that it was standard procedure.

The Fourth Geneva convention, of which Israel, as well as all UN member nations are a signatory to, states clearly the responsibilities of an occupying power towards civilians of that occupied people. It states clearly that while security concerns are an issue for an occupying power, that these concerns can not be used as a continual excuse to abuse an occupied population and hence absolve the occupier of their moral and legal duty to protect and provide safety for the occupied population.

CRAIG NIELSEN

DISCLAIMER
I am participating in a program as an Ecumenical Accompanier serving in the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The views contained here are personal to me and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Council of Churches Australia or the World Council of Churches. If you would like to publish the information contained here (including posting on a website), or distribute it further, please first contact the EAPPI Communications Officer (eappi.communications@gmail.com) for permission. Thank you.

Zionists, and other supporters of the State of Israel, are quick to demand that opposition to the policies of the Zionist State that oppress the Palestinian people, has nothing to do with a desire for justice and equality, but are based simply in racism and hatred towards Jewish people. In other words, those who claim to oppose Zionism, are not motivated by a desire for freedom and equality, but are just using the issue as an excuse to vent their hatred of Jews and or western society.

In my previous years as a card carrying member of the religious right, I believed that all people on the left were basic hypocrites in that while they would stand all day in rain, hail or shine protesting against abuses of human rights, they themselves had an agenda that showed their true intent. These hopeless dupes of the left (be it secular or religious) were inwardly haters of humanity and all Godly concepts of human freedom! They would have us enslaved to an authoritarian state in a beehive like social order. In the final analysis, their so called desire for justice and equality was nothing but a sham! Or so I thought.

Palestinians are continually portrayed as Islamic extremists and anti-Semites. This despite the fact that Judaism and Islam have existed side by side in the Middle East for hundreds of years in peace and mutual respect. In all those centuries, neither the Koran nor the Torah changed. What changed was the creation of the Zionist state, facilitated by Europeans whose racist views laid the basis for their colonialism and imperialism.

I believe that European chauvinism is what lies at the heart of this conflict in the Middle East. The idea that there are inferior people groups, or races, in our world and that there are those of superior stock who have an entitlement to take from those of lesser races that which did not originally belong to the higher grades of humanity, was not an idea held to exclusively by the Nazis of Germany in the 1930’s.

Speaking at the Peel Commission in 1937, Winston Churchill said;

“I do not admit that the dog in the manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit, for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to those people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, or, at any rate, a more worldly-wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”

(Michael Makovsky, Churchill’s Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p.156)

Twenty years before this the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, wrote in a memo to Lord Curzon that;

“For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…the Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. Zionism, be it good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.”

(Victor Kattan, ‘The Failure to Establish Democracy in Palestine: From the British Mandate to the Present times’, Jadaliyya, 2 April 2011)

This type of thinking explains how Europeans can come to Australia or Zionist Jews to Palestine and apparently see “a land with no people”, or, “Terra Nullius”, in the case of my home country. It is not that they didn’t see any people in the land, it is that in their eyes they did not see a people who were of a high grade or quality or who were worthy of being in charge of their own destiny in the land of their birth.

The Red Indians of America, the Aborigines of Australia and the Arabs of Palestine have all been invisible to the eyes of Europeans (be they Zionist or otherwise) when it comes to a consideration of their rights and needs. They simply are not the equals of us Europeans and hence do not have the rights that we do.Hence allowing democracy for Arabs in Palestine was never a priority for the British Mandate or any other western nation. Democracy is not for savages!

In 1935, it was proposed, by the High Commissioner for the British Mandate, that a Legislative Council be established. The Zionists;

“attacked the project because the Jews were to be allotted seats in proportion to their actual population”

(Ronald Storrs, The Memoirs of Sir Ronald Storrs, Pittstown, NJ: Arno Press, p. 396)

Obviously the Zionists considered that right from the outset an Arab vote should never be equal to a Jewish vote in Palestine.

While in Israel today an Arab has a vote of equal numerical value to the vote of a Jewish person, the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from the state of Israel in 1948 and subsequent immigration laws that ensure that Jews always have an 80% majority in Israel adds up to the same situation of impotency at the ballot box for Arabs in Palestine as it would if the idea of one Jewish vote equals one Arab vote had never been thought of.

Arabs inside the state of Israel are a people under constant suspicion and control. Their loyalty to a nation that only really tolerates their presence is always considered to be dubious. They are a people with conditional rights WHILE IN the land rather than unconditional rights TO the land as Jews have under Zionist rule. Israel is a Jewish state according to Zionist ideology, not Biblical scripture.

CRAIG NIELSEN

The following article was written by Philip Jarman. In it he discusses some of the theological short comings of Christian Zionism. Philip is a regular follower of this blog and this article is his personal reflection on this issue.

CRAIG NIELSEN

A Personal Introduction :
This paper is my summary challenge to Christians who argue that there is a supportable interpretation of the Bible regarding Israel’s activities in the land of Palestine. I contend there is No such support. Christians in our generation need to know that there is historical scholarship for a valid Biblical point of view which dissolves the arguments that support Christian Zionism. Christian Zionism is defined loosely as unreserved support for the actions of the present nation of Israel justified by a misguided belief that Jews must be re-gathered to their ancient lands prior to the Lord’s return.

Of itself, this paper does not claim to be a work of theological scholarship, but it does lean heavily on the work of three well qualified theologians for its Biblical accuracy and continuity. The study of theology depends on both the sincerity and the humility of a scholar in order to permit the Scriptures themselves to interpret Scripture. To this exercise we truly bring …….no new thing. Faithfully using this method avoids the human pitfalls of presuming the meaning with only partial information or bringing preconceived human notions to the Bible in order to justify them.

After some years of casual study, I conclude that the sources I have used are faithful to the whole counsel of God and that this paper is worthy of your consideration.. I contend that a great many Christians are supporting a Zionist regime because they assume that Dispensationalism, the popular eschatology of our time, is the only option.
If this is your position, you will for certain have come under pressure to support Zionism which lays aside all the Christian principles you have learned in the Sermon on the Mount for policies that are nothing short of “Apartheid” toward the Palestinians. I urge you therefore to carefully re-consider the matter so that your support is properly placed in the cause of justice and mercy.
Sincerely, Philip Jarman voyageur@voyageur.co.cr 8 February 2014

References
1- Abraham’s Four Seeds – John G. Reisinger http://www.amazon.com/Abrahams-Four-Seeds-John-Reisinger/dp/0966084543/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390963079&sr=1-1&keywords=abraham%27s+four+seeds
2. The Momentous Event – W.J. Grier
http://www.amazon.com/Momentous-Event-W-J-Grier/dp/0851510205/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390963244&sr=1-1&keywords=W.J+grier+The+momentous+event
3. Sermons on Romans 11 – Martyn Lloyd Jones
http://www.mljtrust.org/search/?q=romans+11

Without doubt, the present nation of Israel, reconstituted in Palestine, by a unilateral United Nations decree dated at sundown 14 May 1948, has been responsible for disturbing years of peaceful coexistence between Jew and Muslim in the land . Wherever there is controversy, books and articles follow passionately written from differing points of view each seeking to explain or justify one side or the other. This is doubly so in this case because the arbitrary decision to insert a nation called Israel into an already settled Palestine was pre-loaded with religious implications for three of the world’s major religions – Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

The purpose then of this paper is to republish the historical Biblical interpretation of God’s promises to Abraham, which if graciously received, will bring a correct perspective to Christians who want to do the right thing by the Jewish people and to also promote peace in a troubled area of the world.

Contrary to the world’s historical record, the Christian worldview itself is not antagonistic toward the Jews. However, confused persons through the centuries, who have claimed association with Christianity have been intensely anti-semitic to the extremes of tragic persecution and death.

But Christian doctrine, rightly held, rejects the evil they have perpetrated on the Jewish people. Christianity recognizes that Abraham’s Natural Seed (the Jews ) were the family first, and then the nation that was chosen to bring the Lord Jesus Christ into the world. He arrived in time, to live perfectly under the Mosaic Law, and then to become the Acceptable Sacrifice for all who would believe that his death would pay for their sin. Ironically, the Jews were also the people that brought about his death on a Roman cross. But Christianity also believes that God the Father sovereignly planned that Sacrifice in eternity past, and that God the Son was obedient unto death in order to save Abraham’s Spiritual Seed. These are people, from all ages, both Jew and Gentile, who would believe experimentally that His death covers their sin and that they are delivered from the curse of the Law. *(…the soul that sinneth, it shall die. Ezekiiel 18:4 )

The Bible tells the story of Abraham and the promises made to the natural and the spiritual seed. If we understand and embrace this interpretation as the Divine plan, we will not become pawns in support of the present day Israel’s irrational drive for racial mastery in the land of Palestine.

To begin, if God in three persons, planned before the foundation of the world to rescue a people for His Name, (the Church), then that plan must emerge in Genesis and conclude in Revelation and the whole counsel of God on the matter be complete in Holy Writ.
God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees (1) to be the human instrument for this plan. But , Abraham and Sarah had problems conceiving, so Abraham fathered

(1) Genesis 12:1-3

Ishmael by an Egyptian servant girl Hagar. Ishmael under God’s promise of Abraham’s natural seed, became the father of 10 nations known as the Arabs. (2) But then God permitted Abraham through a deliberate preplanned miracle, to father Isaac when he and his wife Rachel were humanly – too old to have children. Isaac, unlike Ishmael, was identified by God as Abraham’s Spiritual Seed. (3) Isaac in turn, married Rebekah and fathered twin sons Esau and Jacob. Again, it was God himself who chose Jacob as the spiritual seed and left Esau as he was – a natural seed.(4)
As difficult as it may seem to our sense of fairness, God chose some from Abraham’s family to be the Spiritual Seed who would believe the Gospel of a coming deliverance through a Messiah, and he left the rest in their unbelief.
So two peoples were at one and the same time–inside Abraham’s family – The Spiritual Seed, those who believed in the promise of the Messiah (5) and those who,
¬¬¬¬although natural sons of Abraham, did not believe. Further, Abraham , Isaac and Jacob were all in their turn, the spiritual Fathers of the Spiritual Seed for the Gentiles of all the ages. (6)

The Old Testament then, is the Jews earthly story and the beginnings of a heavenly story for all peoples. Through the Hebrews, and the resulting nation of Israel, God produced a type or an illustration of the Church. The nation of Israel itself, was brought into existence from Jacob’s enslaved descendants in Egypt on the night the death angel passed over the Hebrew homes that had the blood of a lamb daubed on the lintel and door posts . In the Egyptian homes all the first born died. In the Hebrew homes marked by blood, everyone lived. (7)

This is a type of the Lord’s crucifixion. As the Hebrews were protected by the blood daubed about the door, all who are covered by Christ’s blood sacrifice will look to Him and be justified (made righteous) and live forever. (8) Those that do not, though they live for a time on earth, are under an eternal sentence of death.

The Exodus from Egypt is the saga of God’s patient work with an earthly people to whom he gave the Law and the Oracles . Yet despite the Red Sea crossing , the firey pillar, the manna and quail, the rock in the desert that spewed a river of water, the people built an idol at the foot of the mountain while God was writing the 10 commandments on Moses’ tablets of stone (9). The majority in the nation were rebellious unbelievers and because of their failure to believe Joshua and Caleb concerning the promised land, God made them wander in the desert for 40 years until all the adults who had left Egypt had died.

You can read the rest of the story for yourself as the pattern remains the same . In every generation through to the birth of the Messiah, God called only a remnant from the nation of Israel to believe the Gospel of the Messiah’s future saving work on a the Roman cross . These were the Spiritual Seed of Abraham and the remainder of the nation were left in their superstition , idolatry and unbelief.

(2) Genesis 21:13 (3) Genesis 21:12 (4) Romans 9: 11-13 (5) Galations 3:26 (6) Galations 3 24-29
(7) Exodus 12:13 (8)Isaiah 45:2 (9) Exodus 32:1
As to the land, when God promised Abraham the land of Palestine,(10) it was also a type of things to come . It’s true that following the Exodus from Egypt, Joshua more or less conquered the land. But Israel, because of disobedience, had only partial success through the time of the Judges and the Kings. Rebellion and unbelief eventually caused them to be judged for their idolatry and taken into captivity in Babylon.

When Abraham received the land promise he knew that he was not looking for the ultimate fulfillment of the promise on earth (11) . Abraham knew that if Israel as a nation was to bring forth the Messiah, an earthly territory would indeed be necessary, but he also knew that the land was a type of a heavenly kingdom which he would one day see in glory.

God’s promises for an eternal kingdom and eternal rights to the land of Palestine were also made Conditional. (12) If then the condition of obedience was broken what of the promise ? We know from the Biblical record in the prophets , that the majority of the people of Israel rebelled against God, burned their children in the fire to Moloch, worshipped many false Gods and forsook the Gospel. In fact, the prophets were ruthlessly killed because their message was damning to the majority conscience.(13) So God stopped sending prophets 400 years before the Messiah although there was always the Gospel by which a remnant in every generation were saved.

When Jesus did come, the scribes and Pharisees had so modified the Law of Moses and the Gospel, that a whole set of human traditions had been overlaid on top of the Sinai Law perverting its meaning. When you read the Sermon on the Mount, (14) look for all the corrections Jesus made to their errors. They hated him for it, for they had what they wanted ,- respect from men. As far as they were concerned, any and all excuses to reject Jesus’ authority over them were valid.

The crucifixion without doubt is the pivotal point in history. The Old Testament and New Testament are on different sides of the crucifixion, yet they both proclaim that the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the same and Jew and Gentile from Abraham to the last trumpet are now members of the Bride of Christ – the Church.

When Jesus died the veil of the temple, the heavy curtain through which only one priest per year passed to offer sacrificial blood for atonement, was ripped by God the Father from the top to the bottom because a Holy of Holies was no longer needed. The Priesthood of the Believer had been established .

At the resurrection, the Hebrew nation and all the ceremonial law depicting Jesus’ sacrifice were also finished . The nation through sovereign Providence had fulfilled its role all the way from Abraham to the cross. In 70 AD the Roman General Titus

(10) Psalm 105: 6-11 (11) Hebrews 11: 8-10 (12) Deuteronomy 30: 15-20 (13) Hebrews 11: 36-40
destroyed the last vestiges of the nation and its religion by slaughtering the inhabitants of Jerusalem and destroying the temple completely .

The Lord predicted this would happen for with His ascension to his Heavenly throne and the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the “Israel of God” was now proclaimed a spiritual kingdom. There was no further need of earthly types. The Nation of Israel had fulfilled the purpose for which God had brought it into existence in the land of Palestine and it is now gone forever. The Bible needs no other support, but it is significant, that some important sects who are current followers of Judaism agree that God has never recalled Israel, to the land.

At Pentecost , as Jesus promised, the followers of Christ were visited by the Holy Spirit and empowered . In one day 3000 souls from many nations and tongues were converted to begin spreading the message out across the world .

The apostles, those that had been chosen by the Lord, and Paul who had been under the Lord’s instruction in the third heaven, are our best authority on just how to view these events. They interpret the Old Testament in many passages of the New Testament. The literal depictions of the Old Testament then, should never be imposed on the New Testament . The prophets knew and accepted the Gospel of the coming Messiah, but when they did prophesy the future, they saw only shadows and types. The New Testament apostles therefore interpret with authority the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and their interpretation declares that the Lord now reigns in His Kingdom in heaven (15) and that the time that has elapsed since his ascension are the days prophesied by the prophet Joel. (16) The next and final event we can anticipate is the Last Trumpet – His Second Coming, where ALL the dead of ALL ages will be raised to stand before him.(17)

So what of the Jews ? Is God finished with them?
Following the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus the Jews were dispersed throughout the nations . They clung to the memory of their Old Testament privilege and based on portions of Old Testament scripture called the Talmud, they founded the religion of Judaism . Over the centuries their have been many conversions to Judaism among non-Semite peoples . So who among the Jews today, are Abraham’s natural seed? I am sure there are many, but not one of them is able to trace his lineage with any certainty to the Jews of Jesus time. Therefore any self-proclaimed racial identity is a voluntary willingness to be associated with either the religion of Judaism, the present Jewish culture or the political movement Zionism.

Nevertheless, Paul the apostle in Romans 11 says that God still has plans for the descendants from Abraham’s natural seed. But do not make the mistake of equating Jews with the former nation of Israel or any present counterfeit. Paul prophesies in the book of Romans that one day the Jews will recognize their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, and will turn en masse to Him in repentance and faith .(18)

(14) Matthew 5 (15) Acts 2: 29-35 (16) Acts 2:14-21 (17) 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17 (18) Romans 11:26
He also says that this event will strengthen and encourage the Church world wide and that this will all come to pass during this present Kingdom Age . (19)

This knowledge does not define the day or the hour of the second Coming but the Holy Spirit through Paul does promise that God will save his people the Jews before Jesus returns. As in every age, there has been a remnant of believing Jews and so there will be again. The Jews as individual persons will be converted wherever they are on the earth and their conversion grafts them into the Church, the Bride of Christ and the Heavenly Kingdom.

The land of Palestine or the current nation of Israel is irrelevant to the fulfillment of this prophecy. None of the New Testament writers make any reference to a re-gathered Jewry in the land of Palestine. The apostles agree with Abraham that they look for a heavenly Kingdom which is far better than an earthly one.(20) Admittedly this is an argument from their silence, but the New Testament writers were all Jews and they were under pressure from the Jews who were certain that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was bent on destroying their religion. Surely, under the circumstances, if national Israel was to be a factor in the future, the apostles would have mentioned it.

So how should this impact your view of the present tragedy in Palestine ?
Using the Nazi Holocaust for all its worth and more, the Zionist movement has persuaded much of the western world to hold their peace while they carry out “ethnic cleansing” on the Palestinians, wholesale expulsions from their historic lands, and acts of aggression against neigboring Arab nations — all in the name of a resurgent nation of Israel.

If the historical perspective in this paper is correct, many Christians are in real danger of being complicit in quietly accepting the Zionist Program for reasons that are not Biblical. The Zionists are not Joshua cleansing the land under God’s specific instructions; Orthodox Jews who have lived peacefully for centuries in the land of Palestine, oppose Israel because they have no confidence that God has ended the Diaspora ; …and finally, the Lord Jesus Christ has given us the Sermon on the Mount to guide us in our behavior and all Christians should therefore be compelled by conscience to advocate a peaceful compromise that foundationally, establishes true democracy and human rights for all ?

(19) Romans 11: 32-33 (20) Hebrews 11: 8-10

PHILIP JARMAN

The follwoing article was written by the Rabbis of Neturei Karta. They challenge the Zionist understanding of the meaning of the Holocaust and reject the Zionists efforts to use the Holocaust as a means to further Israel’s political goals and oppression of the Arabs of Palestine.

Tragic Irony: 60 Israeli Knesset Members Coming to Auschwitz to Push Their Agenda

On January 27, 2014, the largest ever delegation of Knesset members will convene on the grounds of Auschwitz together with Holocaust survivors, for a gathering on combating anti-Semitism. The Israeli delegation will include senior representatives of the IDF and the Chief Rabbis of the State of Israel. They will be joined by a large number of elected officials from around the world, including Europe and a senior bi-partisan group of leaders from the U.S. Congress.

Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein said, “Anti-Semitism, especially in Europe, has reached a level unprecedented since the end of the Holocaust.” Noting the “importance and urgency” of combatting global anti-Semitism, he warns “we must not wait until the trains start going to Auschwitz-Birkenau once again.”

Once again, the Zionists are using the Holocaust to justify and gain support for their state. The blood of the six million cries out to us from the earth, and we are outraged. Who gave the Zionists the right to use our grandparents’ blood for their political purposes?

The irony deepens when we look back at history and see that while the Holocaust was happening, it was the Zionists who refused to lift a finger to rescue Jews. With the infamous slogan “Only through blood will the land be ours,” they passed up rescue opportunities in the hopes that if the Jewish people suffered enough, the post-war world would grant them the state they so desired.

Today’s Zionists are no better. Publicly they bemoan rising anti-Semitism in Europe, but privately they rub their hands and think of all the new immigrants to the State of Israel this will produce.

Furthermore, it is they who are most responsible for causing today’s European anti-Semitism. The false stereotypes of the Jew propagated by the Nazis are long gone, but new hatred has been aroused by the Israelis’ stealing the Palestinian people’s land and not allowing them to return to their homes or enjoy basic rights. This might well have remained only anti-Zionism, not anti-Semitism, had the Zionists not insisted on claiming to be the representatives of the Jewish people. Nowhere is this more glaring than in the current memorial ceremony at Auschwitz, where the Jewish people – who suffered in the Holocaust – is represented by the Knesset and the Israeli army.

This is not to mention the new anti-Semitism in the Middle East, which is completely a product of Zionism. Prior to Zionism, Jews lived for centuries alongside Muslims and Arabs throughout the Middle East, including Palestine, in complete harmony.

The Torah teaches that Jews are in exile and must respect the nations among whom they live. The Torah forbids Jews to have their own state. It goes without saying that Jews are forbidden by the Torah to steal land, kill or expel anyone. And precisely because we the experienced of the Holocaust, our tolerance and respect for others should be enhanced – not use our suffering as an excuse to oppress others as the Zionists do. We firmly believe that following the path of the Torah is the only and best way to prevent future anti-Semitism.

With all of the above in mind, the current Zionist ceremony is nothing less than a brutal affront to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust.
May the Almighty protect His creations from any future genocide.
May G-d bring about a speedy and peaceful end to the Zionist state, and may Jews and non-Jews live peacefully together everywhere in the world.

The following article was written by one of the Rabbis at Neturei Karta. Neturei Karta is an Orthodox Jewish movement that rejects Zionism and does not recognise the Zionist State of Israel as a legitimate heir to the promises of G-d to the Jewish people. While they are a fairly small group at the moment, their views on the subject corespond to what was until recently the majority mainstream Orthodox position. I beleive their ideas concerning Zionism and Judaism are correctly reflective of the true teachings of the Old Testament. Their testimony desperately needs to be heard by the Western World.

Why do Orthodox Jews refuse to serve in the Israeli army?
Dec. 20, 2013

Opposition to Zionism and the State of Israel is not just our position; it’s the position of all traditionally Orthodox Jews today. Nowhere is this fact more prominent than in the battle going on right now in the State of Israel over the military draft.

For hundreds of years before the Zionists created their state, there existed an Orthodox Jewish community in Palestine. These Jews had no political aspirations; their only goal was to live out their days on the holy soil, studying the Torah and worshipping the Almighty. When the ideology of Zionism was born, they wanted no part in the new movement, because the Torah teaches that the Holy Land was given to the Jews by G-d and was taken away from them 2000 years ago by G-d. Since G-d sent the Jews into exile, only He can redeem them from exile. The Torah forbids us to fight wars or to have our own state.

Needless to say, this small but longstanding Orthodox community in Palestine lived on the best of terms with its Palestinian neighbors. This peaceful coexistence was typical of Jews living throughout the Middle East in Muslim countries prior to Zionism.

When the state was founded in 1948 through massive land theft, murder and expulsion of the Palestinian people, the Orthodox community was repulsed by the Zionists’ immoral conduct and refused to serve in their lawless army, the deceptively named “Israel Defense Force.”

The Zionists, in order to uphold the facade of full control over the Holy Land and representing the whole of Jewry, decided that rather than confront the Orthodox Jewish community, they would simply exempt them under the pretext that they were students in school. And so a deal was worked out in 1948 under which Orthodox Jews, who all studied in Torah academies, would be granted a students’ exemption. Although this was far from ideal, since it effectively made it impossible for an Orthodox man to leave school and support his family, the community has managed to survive until now.
By 2012, the number of students receiving exemptions had grown to almost 50,000.

Of course, there are untold numbers of others who due to the fact that they do not want to give any recognition to the State of Israel, therefore they simply do not obtain any government papers and are not registered. Again, for the most part, the Zionists have turned a blind eye, fearing that the world would become aware of the ugly truth, that they are not the “Jewish” state they claim to be – that the Jews true to Judaism totally reject their states existence.

Last year, after the Israeli Supreme Court struck down the law granting students exemption, the Orthodox community was left without a legal means of avoiding service. The government is now giving them the choice of army service or prison. And for the highly principled Orthodox community, the choice is clear. Orthodox young men have already begun going to prison.

As one member of the Jerusalem Jewish community commented: “For all these years we have suffered indescribably under Israeli rule, yet persevered by insulating our communities and preserving our way of life. Now they want to take us away and force us to fight in their army. They want us to rebel against the Almighty, oppress and massacre another people, help them make enemies in the world and portray us as partners in their military campaigns.”

Clearly, the Zionists are embarrassed by the Orthodox Jews’ refusal to join them, and that is why they are trying to force them into the army. The Zionist goal is clearly to oppress or be rid of all who stand in their way, whether non-Jewish or Jewish. It should be clear to the world that they don’t represent Jews or Judaism.

The Orthodox Jews of the Holy Land, with the help of the Almighty, will continue to go to jail and submit to whatever punishments the state can devise, but they will not succumb to this decree of forced conscription. And we, their brethren in America and throughout the world, support them all the way.

We pray to the Almighty for a speedy, peaceful and total dismantlement of the Zionist State of Israel.

OrthodoxJews1

Thousands of Anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews protesting outside the Israeli military Prison Six, where Jews are held for their refusal to serve in the IDF, December 9, 2013

Banner reads: We are all ready to go to prison!

orthodoxJews2
Banner reads: Right – The entire history of the Zionists is one long chain of bloodshed, may G-d spare us. Zionism is the source of all suffering in the world, whether spiritual or physical. Left – We will fill up all the prisons, both military and civilian, but we will never betray our true ideals.

Some of the most prominent anti-Zionist religious Jewish leaders of Jerusalem
OrthodoxJews3

The NY Times Non-Story of 2013: Israeli abuse of child prisoners
Jan 13, 2014 03:39 pm | Barbara Erickson

The reports came in throughout the year, all pointing to a singular problem in Israel: Palestinian children in military custody were routinely mistreated, traumatized and denied their rights.
In March UNICEF released “Children in Israeli Military Detention,” a 22-page document declaring that abuse was “widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” The situation was also unique. “In no other country,” it said, “are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees.”

The report cited terrifying night time arrests; physical and verbal abuse; painful restraints; denial of access to food, water and toilet facilities; solitary confinement; coerced confessions; lack of access to lawyers and family members; shackling during court appearances; and transfer to prisons outside Palestine. It noted that these practices violate international law
New York Times readers were granted one paragraph on this important report from a major UN agency, fewer than 100 words in the World Briefing section on page 11 of the March 7 news section. The closing sentence said that the foreign ministry had cooperated with UNICEF and “would study the report closely.”

Apparently neither the foreign ministry nor the army took action, however. Seven months later UNICEF published a follow-up bulletin revealing that the situation for child prisoners had worsened since the original document was released.

Meanwhile, other reports were adding to the chorus of voices about child prisoner abuse in Israel: a US State Department country report on human rights in Israel released in April, a report by the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child published in June, and an August report by the Israeli monitoring group B’Tselem titled “Abuse and torture in interrogations of dozens of Palestinian minors in the Israel Police Etzion Facility.”
All these buttressed similar releases of the year before: a Defense for Children International report by distinguished British jurists, a collection of testimonies by Israeli soldiers compiled by Breaking the Silence, and a Save the Children report with a focus on rehabilitation of traumatized former child prisoners. The British investigation led to parliamentary debate and a challenge to Israel from the foreign office of the UK.

A number of reports noted that this abuse is only meted out to Palestinians. Israeli children never come into contact with the military court system.

The Times apparently felt compelled to neutralize these insistent and damning reports. In August the paper ran a prominent first page story about youthful resistance in one West Bank village. In the print edition it was titled “My Hobby is Throwing Stones: In a West Bank Culture of Conflict, Boys Wield the Weapon at Hand” and written by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren.
The story would have you believe that in the village of Beit Ommar challenging the occupation is all in play, an extension of the “Arabs and Army” game boys play in the streets. “They throw because there is little else to do,” Rudoren writes. They throw at certain hot spots, which are described like markings on a sports field and presented by their nicknames: “the duo,” “the triangle,” “the stage.”

In this scenario, boys and men have been arrested often, they been in and out of prison, but no one is traumatized. They remain upbeat and ready for more. There are no bruises, no cigarette burns, no coerced confessions, no real provocations by settlers or soldiers, and all the former prisoners are actually guilty as charged, which aid workers say is often not the case at all.
The opening paragraph sets the tone—a 17-year-old village boy is arrested at 4 a.m. and as the soldiers lead him away, his mother “rushed after with a long-sleeved shirt: they both knew it would be cold in the interrogation room.” What could be more benign? Here’s an anxious mother urging her son to put on warm clothes.

The article mentions the UN report but only to give the number of arrests over the years. Towards the end of this lengthy piece, Rudoren includes a paragraph with Defense for Children International statistics and charges of abuse. It notes that 90 percent of Palestinian children taken into custody received jail sentences compared with 6.5 percent of Israeli children and it notes that Israeli children are “prosecuted in a civil system.”
But the full impact of this article is to make light of Israeli army incursions, to present the settlers as beleaguered by stone throwing kids, and to show the stone throwers as unrepentant petty criminals with little motivation for their actions. Readers are unlikely to remember the Defense for Children charges of mistreatment or grasp the import of a two-tiered system for Israelis and Palestinians.
(Also see a critique of the article by Bekah Wolf, an American who lives in Beit Ommar and was present while Rudoren was doing her research. The critique shows that significant information was deliberately omitted.)

While the Times has kept silent on the issue or attempted to defuse the charges of abuse, Israeli media have been more forthcoming. Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post have written about the charges, and the online magazine 972 ran a series of articles on the subject in November, with videos showing arrests of children as young as 5.

Most recently, as 2013 came to an end, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel revealed that children had been held outdoors in iron cages while awaiting court hearings. Israeli news articles stated that this took place during the recent freezing winter storm and that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni brought it to an end when she was informed of the practice.
The Times, as before, has remained silent on this latest news about Israel’s abuse of children in custody.

The following article was posted on Kim Bullimore’s blog at

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Butcher of Beirut: On the death of Ariel Sharon – War Criminal, Ethnic Cleanser and Mass Murderer.

Time 

Dear friends, 
as you will no doubt be aware, Ariel Sharon – the Butcher of Beirut – has died.  In the wake of his death, we are now seeing widespread attempts both in Israel and internationally to rehabilitate and whitewash his actions and legacy.  Sharon has been described by various mainstream media outlets as “flawed”, “controversial”, “complicated” and even a “peacemaker” and “hero”.   Ariel Sharon, however, was none of these things. 

Ariel Sharon was a mass murder, who was responsible for the death of up to 3000 Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon in 1982. He was a mass murder, who was responsible for the death of 70 Palestinians in Qibya in 1953 and many more in Jenin and across the West Bank in 2002. Sharon was a mass murder who was responsible for the death of thousands of Palestinians over several decades. He was a racist, an ethnic cleanser, genocidist and war criminal. 

While Israeli politicians, mainstream media (both in Israel and internationally) attempt to whitewash his legacy, Human Rights Watch has correctly noted that:

Ariel Sharon died without facing justice for his role in the massacres of hundreds and perhaps thousands of civilians by Lebanese militias in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982. The killings constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity.

While Sharon’s human rights abuses and war crimes are legion, it is the massacre of unarmed Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila refugee camp which he is most infamous for.  In 1982, supposedly in retaliation for the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador in London, Israel invade Lebanon. The assassination attempt, however, was not carried out by Arafat’s PLO but by a rival militant group. Israel, who wanted to oust the PLO from Lebanon, used the attempted assassination to launch an invasion supposedly in the name of destroying the PLO. On 6 June 1982, under the direction Israel’s Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon, the Zionist state began its invasion and occupation of Lebanon, sending in more than 60,000 troops. 

In the wake of the assassination of Lebanese President, Bashir Gemayel, who was killed by a member of the Syrian Nationalist Party, Israeli troops surrounded the twin refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila on September 15. Commanding officers from Israel’s Occupation Forces (IOF) were stationed in a number of highrise buildings, allowing them a panoramic view of the two camps for the next three days. From September 15 through to September 16, Israel carried out non-stop shelling of the two camps, which was home to 20,000 unarmed Palestinian refugees. On the afternoon of September 16, 150 Christian Phalangists, trained by and under the direction and control of the Israeli forces, entered the camps. The Israeli military cordoned off the camps ensuring no-one could escape. For the next 40 hours, with the full knowledge and cooperation of the Israel military, the Phalangist forces tortured, brutalised, raped and massacred the unarmed inhabitants of Sabra and Shatila.

On September 18, the first western journalists were able enter the camps. They saw first hand the tortured and mutilated bodies of the refugees. Robert Fisk, one of the first foreign journalists to enter Sabra and Shatila wrote that what he and his fellow journalists found what could only described as “a war crime”

In his book, Pity the Nation, Fisk recalled that:

“Jenkins and Tveit [fellow journalists] were so overwhelmed by what we found in Chatila that at first we were unable to register our own shock. Bill Foley of AP had come with us. All he could say as he walked round was “Jesus Christ” over and over again. We might have accepted evidence of a few murders; even dozens of bodies, killed in the heat of combat. But there were women lying in houses with their skirts torn up to their waists and their legs wide apart, children with their throats cut, rows of young men shot in the back after being lined up at an execution wall. There were babies – blackened babies because they had been slaughtered more than 24-hours earlier and their small bodies were already in a state of decomposition – tossed into rubbish heaps alongside discarded US army ration tins, Israeli army equipment and empty bottles of whiskey”.

Images of the Shatila and Sabra massacre

Images of the Shatila and Sabra massacre

ShatilaFisk went on to recounted how:

“Down a laneway to our right, no more than 50 yards from the entrance, there lay a pile of corpses. There were more than a dozen of them, young men whose arms and legs had been wrapped around each other in the agony of death. All had been shot point-blank range through the cheek, the bullet tearing away a line of flesh up to the ear and entering the brain. Some had vivid crimson or black scars down the left side of their throats. One had been castrated, his trousers torn open and a settlement of flies throbbing over his torn intestines”.

“The eyes of these young men were all open. The youngest was only 12 or 13 years old. They were dressed in jeans and coloured shirts, the material absurdly tight over their flesh now that their bodies had begun to bloat in the heat. They had not been robbed. On one blackened wrist a Swiss watch recorded the correct time, the second hand still ticking round uselessly, expending the last energies of its dead owner”.

“On the other side of the main road, up a track through the debris, we found the bodies of five women and several children. The women were middle-aged and their corpses lay draped over a pile of rubble. One lay on her back, her dress torn open and the head of a little girl emerging from behind her. The girl had short dark curly hair, her eyes were staring at us and there was a frown on her face. She was dead”.

“Another child lay on the roadway like a discarded doll, her white dress stained with mud and dust. She could have been no more than three years old. The back of her head had been blown away by a bullet fired into her brain. One of the women also held a tiny baby to her body. The bullet that had passed into her breast had killed the baby too. Someone had slit open the woman’s stomach, cutting sideways and then upwards, perhaps trying to kill her unborn child. Her eyes were wide open, her dark face frozen in horror”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pWwkVfbY10&feature=player_embedded

The massacre shocked the world. Israel’s Prime Minister Menachim Begin was forced to resign. In December 1982, the UN declared the massacre to be an act of genocide (despite the fact that all Western democracies abstained on the vote). An Israeli judicial commission found that the Israeli military had abandon its duty of care and that Ariel Sharon was “personally responsible” for the massacre. However, neither Sharon or any member of the Israeli military or the Christian Phalange were every punished for the war crimes they facilitated and carried out. In 2001, the Butcher of Sabra and Shatila, Ariel Sharon became the Prime Minister of Israel.

During his time as Prime Minister of Israel, Israel’s Occupation Forces killed more than 1,430 Palestinian civilians and illegally demolished.hundreds of Palestinian homes in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza.  Sharon’s decision to unilaterally “disengage” from Gaza was not an act of peace, as Israeli politicians and much of the mainstream media have argued. Instead, it was simply an attempt to sure up Israel’s control of the Occupied West Bank and facilitate Israel’s ongoing colonisation of the West Bank and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the region. 

As Human Rights Watch has noted:

In 2005 he ordered Israel’s withdrawal of nearly 8,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of four West Bank settlements, but during his term as prime minister, the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, increased from roughly 388,000 to 461,000. The transfer by an occupying power of its civilians into an occupied territory is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, and a potential war crime.
Israel’s disengagement from Gaza did not end the occupation of Gaza, it just changed how Israel facilitated the occupation.  Rather than carrying out an occupation by stationing troops on the ground inside Gaza, Sharon withdraw Israeli troops and turned Gaza into an open air prison controlled by Israel from the outside.

As Robert Fisk has noted in the wake of Sharon’s death that the main stream toadying journalists have rushed to “remake history” and whitewash Sharon’s image, actions and legacy (to read Fisk’s full article, please click here  and to read his 30th anniversary report on the massacre, click here

Sharon’s brutality, cruelty and legacy, however, can not be whitewashed no matter how much Israel’s apologist try.   

In the wake of Sharon’s death, it is important that we remember and mourn  Sabra, Shatila and Qibya and the thousands of others of who died at Sharon’s hands.  However, even more importantly, in the wake of Sharon’s death, our resolve should be to take a stand and organise against Netanyahu and all those who continue Sharon’s legacy today.  One way we can do this is by joining and actively getting involved in the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. 

Demand justice, human rights and self-determination for the people of Palestine and boycott Israel.

In solidarity, Kim

Growing up in Australia, as I have, gives a person a unique insight into how the historical narratives of a nation are created to hide the crimes committed by the colonial power on the indigenous inhabitants of the land that occurred in the creation of that nation. I found Australia to be a really great place to grow up in. Visitors to my home country often fall in love with Australia. Australians in the main enjoy a high level of prosperity, good medical care, good education and a good deal of political freedom compared to other nations. As a young person I struggled with people who criticised Australia with particular regard to the plight of the Aboriginal population.

To my way of thinking back then, Aboriginals were very often just lazy, drunken dole bludgers who had no desire to achieve anything in life. They received government handouts by the tonne and seemed to have privileges that whites could never have. The liberal supporters of Aboriginal rights where just as much to blame (if not more) than the Aboriginal people themselves for this deplorable state of affairs.

I well remember my Gallipoli veteran uncle commenting about the apparent injustice of the land of Australia being taken away from Aboriginals by the British Empire. According to my dear Uncle Wally, the British were entitled to take the land from the indigenous population because the Aboriginals “did nothing with it”. It seems that the inability of Aboriginals to make any headway into the industrial age was reason enough for them to be dispossessed. As years went by I also heard, from a Christian perspective, that British colonialism was justified because how else could Aboriginals get to have the Bible and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and find salvation. Nowadays I hear from people (mostly, but not exclusively, on the political right) that Aboriginals should be grateful that it was the British that colonised the nation rather than other countries. Imagine if the Japanese had gotten hold of them?!

I’m embarrassed to say that it took quite a few years for me to see through all of this nonsense and come to some type understanding of the Aboriginal perspective of white settlement in Australia. I believe that the failure to achieve reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal society in this country lies in great part to the failure of white society to officially admit to the crime of colonialism that was perpetrated in the founding of this nation and the theft of this land by the British Empire. To admit and to apologise. Trying to achieve reconciliation, while at the same time justifying British colonialism, is fundamentally self-defeating. Any attempt at reconciliation must be seen to be genuine by the injured party. This is simply not possible when the major beneficiaries of British colonialism are trying to justify it.

Imagine the case of a woman being raped, and her assailant trying (when apprehended by the law) to show his sorrow and remorse for the harm that he had done, while at the same time telling his victim that she should be grateful that he wore a condom during the attack and that it could have been much worse for her if other less civilised men had violated her! I doubt that anyone would be impressed by such a display of remorse! So it is with attempts to justify British colonialism by comparing its brutality favourably with the colonialism of other empires. It just doesn’t make sense in the spirit of reconciliation. It’s like someone bragging how humble they are: a basic contradiction in terms.

In terms of the spread of Christianity: it seems ridiculous to imagine that colonialism is the only way to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ! The words of the apostle Paul spring to mind when he deals with those who claim that he has taught people to say…”Let us do evil that good may come of it? Their condemnation is deserved.” Rom 3:8. Scripture allows no justification for the spread of the gospel by evil means.

I liken the situation to slavery. Not all slave owners were as brutal as each other. Some even showed benevolent tendencies towards their slaves. Without doubt slavery brought positive advantages to American society (like wealth for example) and it could even be said that slavery ultimately brought advantages to some slaves and many of their descendants. But all this is not the point. It is the institution of slavery itself that is abhorrent regardless of the fact that some slave owners were better than others or that some ultimate benefits may have been given to the slaves themselves. Slavery is fundamentally about violation of ones rights no matter how nicely it is dressed up and colonialism is just the same. It is a violation no matter who the colonialist power is.

The Christian faith was introduced to many slaves in the U.S. where they would have otherwise not have been able to hear the gospel, yet no Christian tries to justify slavery on the basis that it is a means to spread the good news about Jesus to savages! International Law has declared colonialism to be illegal and a violation of human rights. It is no surprise to me that countries like the U.S., Australia and, up until recently, apartheid South Africa have all vigorously supported the colonialist project of Zionist Israel in Palestine. These countries were all founded on the blood of indigenous peoples and hence have shown a great indifference to giving a voice to the cries for justice by the people of Palestine.

With God and International Law going against colonialism in our world, it’s hard to imagine why any Christian would still be supporting it in Israel/Palestine.

CRAIG NIELSEN

Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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