(Los Angeles, California) I am sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian people. They are loved by the Lord God of the Bible, but they are forgotten or ignored by much of the world. Tragically, most of their leaders over the years have been either corrupt, misguided, or incompetent. They deserve so much better. Consider briefly the sad pattern of modern history:
* 1947— Humanly speaking, the Palestinians could have been celebrating the 65th anniversary of their state today. After all, 65 years ago today, the U.N. voted on the “Partition Plan,” giving part of British Mandated “Palestine” to the Jews to create the state of Israel, and part to the Arabs to create a Palestinian/Jordanian state. The Jewish leaders said yes to the U.N. plan, and created Israel. The Arabs said no to the U.N. plan, and went to war to destroy the Jews. They lost the war and got heartache and poverty instead.
* 1967 — The Arabs — led by Egypt and Syria — built up their military forces, surrounded Israel, and vowed to “throw the Jews into the sea.” But they not only lost the Six Day War, they lost control of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and the Golan Heights, and the city of Jerusalem. Israel offered to make a peace treaty. But the Arabs issued the famous “Three Noes” declaration at a summit in Khartoum: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel.
* 2000 — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat a sovereign Palestinian state in 2000 at Camp David, including all of Gaza, 90% of the West Bank, and half the Old City of Jerusalem. Arafat said no, and went home to unleash a wave of suicide bombings and other terrorists attacks against Israel known as the Second Intifada.
* 2005 — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew all Israeli forces and people from Gaza and unilaterally gave the Palestinians Gaza without asking for a treaty in return. Yet the Palestinian leadership said no to making peace. Rather, the Palestinians began firing thousands of rocket and missile from Gaza at Israeli civilians.
* 2008 — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians a sovereign state, yet again the Palestinian leadership said no.
* 2009 — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out in support of a Palestinian state (with some caveats). Yet the Palestinian leadership refused even to sit down for direct negotiations with Netanyahu and his government.
Today, the Palestinian people still live in pain and poverty. Last week, the Palestinian leaders in Gaza started a war with Israel and committed more than 3,000 war crimes. Today, they want the world to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state, rather than sittting down and negotiating with the Israeli government and people. In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor writes a column that is worth reading and considering. He asks, “Exactly what kind of state are we voting for?” A few excerpts:
- A state with no control over its territory — The Palestinian Authority has zero authority in Gaza today. Out of concern for his personal safety, President Abbas has not even seen this area with binoculars since 2007, when the Hamas terrorist organization seized control of it in a bloody coup. Demonstrating their affection for Mr. Abbas, Hamas threw members of his political party off 12-story rooftops. While members of the U.S. Congress visit their constituents on a weekly basis, President Abbas hasn’t laid eyes on almost half of the Palestinian population for six years.
- A terrorist state — States recognized by the U.N. must pledge to be “peace-loving.” This month, Hamas showed its commitment to peace and love in Gaza by firing more than 1,200 rockets into Israeli cities.
- An undemocratic state — Hamas has imposed brutal tyranny in Gaza, and Palestinian democracy in the West Bank is also far from Jeffersonian. President Abbas’s mandate to rule expired three years ago. He continues to personally extend it without elections or consultation from his people.
- A bankrupt state — Palestinian Authority institutions remain completely dependent on foreign aid, limping from crisis to crisis. Yet this year, as the PA threatened to delay payroll for many employees, it tripled payments to convicted terrorists. Today the PA devotes 6% of its annual budget to payments for imprisoned terrorists and the families of suicide bombers, and less than 1% to higher education.
As I stated at the beginning of this column, I am sympathetic with the plight of the Palestinian people. They are loved by God, but so poorly led. That said, should the world support a sovereign Palestinians state under current circumstances? Should Christians around the world support a Palestinian state at all? As I explained in detail yesterday, and have written numerous times before, I believe the answer is no. The Bible says God will judge all nations who divide the Land of Israel. Our love for Palestinians cannot turn a blind eye to such Biblical warnings. But we should support autonomy for the Palestinian people. And as Christians, we should support and encourage the Christian community in the West Bank and Gaza, and do what the Lord allows us to do to build up the Church among the Palestinian people. We should help them love their neighbors, study the Word of God, share the Gospel, make disciples, train pastors, and plant new Bible-teaching congregations. We should also help them stand for justice and stand against injustice of all kinds.
Please be praying for the Palestinian people today — that God may show them His grace and favor and mercy in a real and special way, and that the Church will show them God’s love, too. These are precious people loved by our Lord and need so much better than they have gotten over the years.
- Please prayerfully consider helping The Joshua Fund care for the poor and needy in Israel, care for people affected by Operation Pillar of Defense, teach the Word of God in the epicenter, educate and mobilize Christians around the world to bless poor and needy Israelis, train pastors and ministry leaders in Egypt, strengthen the believers in Syria, and prepare for the next major war in the Middle East — would you make a generous, tax deductible financial contribution to The Joshua Fund?
- Follow Joel on Twitter — @joelcrosenberg
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