Hamas, Israel’s Election, & Peace Prospects
An Enforced Separation continues to prevail!
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
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The terrorist organisation, Hamas, won Palestinian elections a couple of weeks ago-and now the organisation is in the process of making its first parliamentary appointments. It seems to gave got off to a good start, naming Mahmoud al-Zahar, one of the most hardline leaders, as head of the Hamas majority in the legislature. He refuses to recognize Israel - which is, of course, in keeping with Hamas's charter which calls for the destruction of Israel. There is speculation that another Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, could be chosen as Prime Minister.
Hamas has masterminded nearly 60 suicide bombings against Israelis since the year 2000, and they are said to be funded by the IRANIAN backed Hizbollah movement in Lebanon.
It is not surprising therefore, that Israel's reaction to the rise of Hamas's political power is less than enthusiastic. The refusal of Hamas to renounce its violent campaign against Israel may yet have a significant effect upon Israel's own general election which is due to be held on March 28th.
We plan to be in Israel, God willing, for on-the-spot coverage of that election-and the run-up to it-during the last two weeks of March. We hope you can join us as we broadcast the Bible in the News direct from Israel on March 23rd and March 30th.
Meanwhile, Israel's election campaign is already being dominated by the Hamas issue. Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party has likened the rise of Hamas to that of Adolf Hitler. And the current defence minister, Shaul Mofaz, has said that if the next Palestinian Prime Minister and parliamentary speaker are Hamas people-Israel will cut off all ties with the Palestinian Authority. Acting Prime Minister Olmert said last Tuesday: "We will not negotiate and we will not deal with a Palestinian Authority that will be dominated wholly or partly by a terrorist organisation."
Well-there doesn't seem to be much chance of an overall peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians in the very near future does there! Israel was not accepted into the Middle Eastern world over 50 years ago-in 1948-and it still is not accepted today.
The Bible gives us a reason for this. The principle is the same now as it was when Israel first went to possess the Land in the days of Moses and Joshua. God has a purpose with this nation-and it is essential to that purpose that they remain separate and distinct from other nations. God creates circumstances which ensure their separation. Look at Leviticus chapter 20, verses 24-26, and we can grasp the idea. The passage reads: "But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people. Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine." (Lev 20:24-26).
You see the principle here! God has separated them and "severed" them from other people. Just as the Jews were not to eat certain beasts or animals-so they were not to become connected with other peoples. This principle is seen in Israel today. Many Jews would like to mix with the Arab nations, to assimilate, and be at peace. Many Israelis are desperate for peace-almost at any price. But look at what their Law says in Deuteronomy 7:3-6.
"Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth" (Deut 7:3-6).
That principle of separation is as valid today as it was back in Old Testament times-because God still has a purpose with this people, as the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 11:29. He says: "...the gifts AND CALLING OF GOD are without repentance." His choice has not changed. So Israel today is kept separate from other nations and peoples-even against their own will. In Israel today they are kept separate by walls, fences, bars, gates, check-points-and of course by the hostility that has continually been maintained against them. This continues to segregate them, just as has been the case all down the centuries. They have always been marked out-and separated-whether by a yellow star as in Nazi Germany, by Ghettos, or by hostile neighbours that seek to destroy the Jewish state.
And so you see-just when Israel and the Palestinians were moving along a road-map to peace, the Hamas are swept to power, and all the best laid plans of men crumble yet once again. There is no peace, and there will be no inter-mixing either. Just separation fences and a continuing problem in the Middle East. So God is separating out His people. And it is when they remember their Law and keep it on a voluntary and willing basis, that the need for an enforced separation can be dispensed with. Malachi chapter 4:4-6 tells us how this will come to pass. When it does, there will no longer be any need for walls, bars or gates-and that is a condition that Ezekiel 38:11 describes.
The purpose of God with Israel is to restore their kingdom. Jesus Christ is yet to sit upon the throne of David and to reign over the house of Jacob-as Luke 1:31-33 tells us. Other signs tell us that this could happen quite soon. In the mean-time we watch for Bible principles being worked out in the News-knowing that there is an Unseen Hand guiding it all. So join us again next week God willing, when we hope to discuss more of it.