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West Bank Arson and the Defamation of Israel
Israel's Enemies Exploit the Death of Palestinian Infant
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August 8, 2015 - Audio, 14.30 MIN
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The horrific death last week, of a Palestinian toddler, in an arson attack on his home, has brought the usual torrent of condemnation on Israel, and its government.  Of course, it’s not surprising that such a killing should be vigorously denounced; but why is it that Israel is the only country where the whole nation, or at least the government, is held accountable for every crime that occurs in its territory?

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign attempts to demonise Israel

Hello this is Nick Barnes with this week’s Bible in the News.

The death of a small child in such circumstances is truly dreadful, but to put it into context, this is only the third case where a child has been murdered by Jewish terrorists in the last 25 years [1]; and without exception, each case was received by Israel’s people and government with shock, horror and utter revulsion.

In contrast, the number of children murdered by Palestinian terrorists, in the same period, is 177 [1]; and in many cases, the murders brought celebrations in the streets, and the murderers were fated by Palestinian people and leaders alike, with roads, squares and parks named in their honour.

In fact the very village, currently under suspicion of harbouring the arsonists, Itamar, was itself the victim of the ghastly murder of five members of one family.  A column in the Washington Post, from the time, reported, under the heading

Palestinians celebrate and then reluctantly denounce Itamar murders

It is hard to conceive of a more grisly murder. On shabbat, Palestinian terrorists broke into the home of residents of the West Bank town of Itamar and stabbed to death five members of the family, including a 3-month old baby. The initial reaction of Palestinians was grotesque, if not predictable. Ynet news reported, “Gaza residents from the southern city of Rafah hit the streets Saturday to celebrate the terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Itamar where five family members were murdered in their sleep, including three children. Residents handed out candy and sweets, one resident saying the joy ‘is a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank.’

The reaction of the Palestinian Authority was equally predictable. On Saturday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a “condemnation” that in essence blamed Israel for the attack…” [2]

And this is the justification given for all such crimes; Jewish settlers shouldn’t be there in the first place, and their theft of Palestinian land, and their suppression of Palestinian political rights, is the spring from which flows the bitter waters of tit-for-tat war.

But this narrative is based on fallacies and distortions. 

After all, why shouldn’t Jews live in Judea & Samaria when they’ve been living there for thousands of years?  Just because the Jordanians illegally invaded the, so called, West Bank in 1948, and both ancient and modern Jewish communities were ethnically cleansed from the area, why does that mean that now, under “international law”, it’s illegal for Jews to live there?

Why are Jews, living in their ancient heartlands (where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived, where the judges and kings ruled, where the tabernacle was pitched and the temple built) an “obstacle to peace”, and yet Arabs living in “Israel proper” not “obstacles to peace”?  Why would a Palestinian state have to be Jew-free, while the Israeli state still has Arab citizens enjoying its privileges?

And if removing the Jewish towns and villages from the West Bank would bring peace why wasn’t there peace between 1948 and 1967, when no Jews were there?  And after the Six Day War, when Moshe Dayan made it absolutely clear that he was willing to negotiate the return of the West Bank to Jordan, in exchange for peace, why did the Arab League convene the Khartoum “Three ‘No’s” Conference, where the Arab nations agreed a resolution of “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel”? [4]

At the beginning of the June 1967 war, Israel pleaded with Jordan not become involved. Israel’s troops were under strict orders to use minimal force in self-defence only, and in the first hours mostly did not respond to light arms fire from Jordan’s army.  However, when Jordanian artillery opened up all along the front, and West Jerusalem came under heavy fire, Israel’s response began, and the “West Bank” was taken almost by accident as part of that defensive war.  Incidentally, international law explicitly allows for countries, under attack, to take and hold the aggressor’s territory (not that it belonged to Jordan in the first place) until the attacked nation’s sovereignty and geographical integrity is recognised and accepted by the antagonist.

And the reason why (naturally speaking) Israel still “occupies” the “West Bank” is that the Palestinian leadership is not willing to make genuine peace with Israel.  In reality, while Arafat and later Mamoud Abbas have made peace gestures, their aim remains the destruction of Israel – as demonstrated by what they teach their children[10].  In 2005, Israel gave up the Gaza Strip, forced 9000 Israelis to leave their homes – even though Jews have lived in Gaza since Roman times – but both Fatah and Hamas have simply used this as a means to increase their attacks on Israel – both militarily and politically.  Israel simply can’t afford the West Bank to become a fully independent Palestinian state, unless it is willing to live peaceably with them. 

In Genesis 16v12, concerning Ishmael and his seed, we read “…he will be a wild man; his hand [will be] against every man, and every man's hand against him”.  That is the picture we see across the Arab World.  In Syria, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia we see that is still true.  Golda Meir said “Peace will come when the Arabs learn to love their children more than they hate us” and she added “When peace comes, we will perhaps, in time, be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.

Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel

Israel has always been prepared to make sacrifices for peace, as is demonstrated by the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty signed in 1979.  When President Sadat of Egypt indicated that he was willing to negotiate peace, it didn’t seem like a good time to have chosen.  Israel’s Prime Minister, of the time, was Menechem Begin; probably the most right wing, hawkish, Prime Minister, Israel has ever had.  He was the former leader of the Irgun[6], the paramilitary group which blew up the King David Hotel in 1946.  And the cost was high; Israel was required to give up the entire Sinai Peninsula, including all the oil fields, military airbases and holiday resorts, such as Sharm el-Sheikh, which it had developed.  And probably the hardest thing for Begin (the champion of the Sinai settlers) was that he had to drag them, kicking and screaming, from their homes in the towns which they had built in the northern Sinai.  Yet the desire for peace, amongst Israelis, is so pervasive, that even he was willing to pay the price.

Golda Meir

And yet Israel is reviled, the world over; painted as war mongers and child killers.  What other country is singled out for boycotts in the super markets, for academic boycotts in universities and described as apartheid?  In a recent experiment on the campus of Berkeley University, California, an ISIS flag waving man shouted pro ISIS, anti American, propaganda without any significant response from passers by.  However, when he repeated the process with an Israeli flag, and pro Israel, anti Hamas, statements, he was assailed with aggressive, abusive and obscene responses.  Israel is hated more than ISIS; more than the countries with the worst “human rights” records; more than the regimes of Syria, Sudan, Burma, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Libya, Iran, Saudi Arabia or North Korea, where thousands or even hundreds of thousands have been butchered.

What makes the peoples and nations hate Israel?  What makes them loath Jews?  Well God said that the Jews would be

De 28:37  …astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.

And God said that

De 28:64  …the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other;

Deut 28v65  And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:  66  And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: 

But God also promised

Eze 36v24  I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

Eze 36v2-12  Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession… Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side,  …Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about;  …O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come.  …and ye shall be tilled and sown:  And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded:  …and they shall increase and bring fruit…  Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men.

And God has brought them back to their land; a land that was barren and unpopulated[3].  The land has been repopulated, both with Jews and Arabs, and it is now a fruitful land – and the nations don’t like it.  But this is part of God’s plan, because the hatred of the nations is the means that He is using to

“…gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle” Zech 14v2

And ultimately, the Bible tells us, the nations will seek militarily to destroy the nation of Israel.  But, Zechariah continues…

Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

And in that day, as we read in Eze 38v18-23

18 …it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog [that is the great confederacy of invading nations (see v2-6)] shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, [that] my fury shall come up in my face. 19 For in my jealousy [and] in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel ... 22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that [are] with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. 23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.

So we look forward to that time when God will intervene, to save his people Israel, from the malice of the peoples, and when nations of the earth will come to God and discover that he is the LORD.  See you again next week (DV) for another Bible in the News.


  1.  (please close adverts until you see “How Many Children Have these Terrorists Murdered?)
  3. (click 2 or 3 times until you arrive at ch46)

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