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‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ conference brings Evangelical leaders to Bethlehem

by on February 27, 2012 6

From March 5 – 9, 2012 the Bethlehem Bible College will be hosting it’s second “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in Bethlehem. The conference will bring Christians from around the world to Bethlehem to connect with Palestinian Christians and to better understand the daily situation they are living under and how certain Christian theological stances help to perpetuate those conditions.

Many times Evangelical Christians, especially those from the United States never get off the “tourist trail” and have the opportunity to meet with Palestinians and to hear their stories. Daily trips to places like the Bethlehem Checkpoint, Hebron, and the Tent of Nations will give participants the opportunity to see areas most affected by the occupation.

The aim of “Christ at the Checkpoint” is to provide an opportunity for evangelical Christians who take the Bible seriously to prayerfully seek a proper awareness of issues of peace, justice, and reconciliation. Some of the conference goals are stated as:

1. Empower and encourage the Palestinian church.

2. Expose the realities of the injustices in the Palestinian Territories and create awareness of the obstacles to reconciliation and peace.

3. Create a platform for serious engagement with Christian Zionism and an open forum for ongoing dialogue between all positions within the Evangelical theological spectrum.

4. Motivate participants to become advocates for the reconciliation work of the church in Palestine/Israel and its ramifications for the Middle East and the world.

Speakers include Tony Campolo of Eastern University, Shane Claiborne of “The Simple Way”, Lynne Hybels of Willow Creek Church, Sami Awad of Holy Land Trust, journalist Ben White and many local pastors and leaders from the Bethlehem community. A full list of speakers can be found here.

This conference has already received a lot of attention from Christian and Jewish Zionist groups trying to cast it as “delegitimizing Israel”. Charges not often thrown at Evangelical Christians.

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The failure of Hamas to recognise the right of Israel to exist as a Zionist state is touted by supporters of Israel to be the real reason that peace has not been found with regards to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Yet few if any realise that the Likud Party charter, the party of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, commits Israel to the continued expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank as a matter of principle. How is it that Netanyahu can be considered to be genuine in his attempts to negotiate with the Palestinians when the charter of his own political party denies the concept of the RIGHT of Palestinians to a state of their own with safe and secure borders? Anyone reading the charter of the Likud party will find no evidence of a desire for Likud to recognise the existence of a Palestinian state as a RIGHT of the Palestinian people just as much as anyone reading the Hamas charter will see that Hamas has not time for a Zionist state.

Hamas’ lack of recognition of the right to exist of Israel as a Zionist state is deemed evidence of Palestinian indifference towards peace negotiations but the Likud’ party can reject such a right for the Palestinians while pretending to be honestly seeking peace. This double standard is clear for everyone to see for themselves. Why is it that Israel does not need to recognise Palestinians rights while Palestinians must recognise Israeli rights. And this ridiculous state of affairs persists even though the Palestinians have already officially recognised Israel’s right to exist with safe and secure borders some twenty years ago. Israel has staunchly refused to reciprocate this acknowledgement, clearly showing its true expansionist intentions to anyone who truly seeks to understand the conflict.

The following post was published on Porter Speakmans blog at http://porterspeakmanjr.com/2011/11/02/504/ on November 8th 2011

Netanyahu’s “Peace” According to the Likud Party Charter

The recent Palestinian UN bid and this weeks Palestinian acceptance to UNESCO has once again put the “Peace Process” front and center. Listening to Netanyahu and the U.S. Administration, getting the Israelis and Palestinians “back to the negotiating table” is the utmost priority for a lasting peace deal.

Although Netanyahu plays the part, the details of his party platform need to be taken into account as a “peace partner” to show the reality behind the circus.

Likud Party Charter states:

a. “The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel.”

b. “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem”

c. “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”

d. “The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

So while Netanyahu wants no pre-conditions from the Palestinians going into “negotiations” his party charter and ideology says otherwise.

Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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