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Weekly Update: Whose land?

Andrew Tucker - 1 May 2020

Dear friends,

There is a growing clash between Israel and the “international community”.

Of course Israel has always been the “foreigner”, the outsider who has never been accepted as “one of the boys” and never really plays by the rules. Israel is different, and dares to challenge the status quo; and the world does not like that.

Now that negotiations with the Palestinians have already for some years ground to a halt, momentum seems to be building towards a showdown concerning the “occupied territories”.

The Palestinians have ramped up their claims to these territories by initiating proceedings before the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice in The Hague. The new Israeli government on the other hand has announced intentions to “annex” parts of the “West Bank” – especially the settlements and the Jordan Valley. This move has already been condemned by many in the international community – as can be expected.

There is a small but growing number of nations who are speaking out against the Palestinian demands, and standing up for the fair and unbiased application of international law. These include Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Australia, Brazil, Uganda and of course the USA.

We need to follow these developments closely, and pray that Israel’s leaders will act with the necessary restraint, wisdom and courage. Pray also that world leaders will have the courage to “swim against the tide” by recognizing Israel’s unique situation, and respecting the historical and legal rights of the Jewish people with respect to the land.

It seems whatever Israel does will not be accepted by most nations. Humanly speaking, it is hard to envisage any solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict that will satisfy all parties. Only the coming of Messiah can bring the much-needed and much-desired peace in the region.

Andrew Tucker
Editor-in-Chief – Israel & Christians Today


Israel celebrates Yom HaAtzma’ut – Independence Day  

Anna Klechinova, newly appointed project manager of the First Home in the Homeland program in Israel (which is supported by Christians for Israel), reports:Today and yesterday are closely connected in the hearts of each Israeli. On April 28 we honored the memory of more than 23,000 people who died in all the wars Israel had, thanks to whom our country exists. We remembered more than 2500 victims who died in the terror attacks, and security officers who laid down their lives for fellow citizens.” Read more..

Aliyah proceeds – notwithstanding the Corona crisis

The Israeli government has decided that Aliyah can continue notwithstanding the Corona virus restrictions. Koen Carlier reports from Ukraine that nine Jewish emigrants flew this week from from Kiev to Tel Aviv. “The  Christian Aliyah Alliance, of which Christians for Israel is part, was asked to help with the transportation. There were no obstacles and all nine olim from Ukraine were taken to the airport in Kiev safely and on time for their departure. The next flight with olim from Ukraine is scheduled for Monday May 11.” Read more..

Germany outlaws Hezbollah – totally

Yesterday (30 April) Germany decided to outlaw the political and military wings of the Hezbollah terror group. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas explains the decision today to outlaw the Hezbollah terror group, including its political wing. According to a tweet by Germany’s Foreign Ministry, Maas has said the Lebanese Shiite movement “denies Israel’s right to exist, threatens with violence and terror and massively upgrades its rocket arsenal.” Read more..

Corona virus in Israel

The Corona virus continues to dominate life in Israel, as it is doing around the world. So far 219 people have died of the virus in Israel, which has imposed a strict lockdown having enormous economic and social repercussions: read more..

Although Israel is helping many Palestinians, Hamas is opposing any cooperation with Israel. Khaled Abu Toemeh reports: “If Hamas is opposed to any form of cooperation with Israel, why does it continue to allow medical supplies to be transferred from Israel into the Gaza Strip on an almost weekly basis?… It was also revealed that the sister of senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk had been admitted to an Israeli hospital for two weeks for cancer treatments. Hamas is now saying that the Palestinian ‘peace activists’ who talked to Israelis through an online videoconference will face legal measures for their ‘crime.’” Read more..

The COVID-19 virus is of course having a devastating effect around the globe. Read these fascinating articles published by BESA about the effect of Corona in Russia, Iran and in the religious world: read more..

Israel’s political crisis

Someone recently remarked: “Keeping up with Israeli politics can be like watching an unending game of speed chess. Sometimes it’s easy to follow the moves, other times much less so.” In Israel, right in the midst of the coronavirus crisis and on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, after a year of stalemate and three elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White head Benny Gantz recently signed a first-of-its kind coalition agreement in which they will share the position of Prime Minister over the next three years.

The agreement requires a range of legislative measures to be taken. Read more..

In the midst of all of this are the legal proceedings against PM Netanyahu, who faces three criminal charges including bribery. Yesterday the Israeli Attorney-General Mandelblit confirmed that in his view there is no legal reason why a sitting Prime Minister who is indicted cannot be charged with forming a government. Read more..

Who owns the West Bank?

One of the terms of the new coalition government agreement is the decision to annex parts of the “West Bank”. PM Netanyahu has announced intentions to achieve this in the coming months, on the back of the recent Trump “Peace Plan”. This raises the question: who “owns” this territory? Does it belong to Israel, or to the Palestinians?

According to the document published yesterday by the Prosecutor to the International Criminal Court (ICC), “sovereignty over the Occupied Palestinian Territory resides in the Palestinian people under occupation”. Her report can be read here.

Many lawyers dispute this view. Instead they say that understanding the status of these territories requires investigation into the legal and political history of “Palestine”. It is perhaps no coincidence that last weekend was exactly 100 years since the meeting that was held on 25th April 1920 in San Remo in Italy after the WW1. The decisions taken at San Remo laid the foundations of the State of Israel – and are thus essential in understanding the status of these territories.

Christians for Israel has created a page full of “San Remo resources” to assist you to understand what happened during these critical years after WWI, and what their legal and historical significance is today. Take the time to view these materials, including excellent Whose Land? video’s produced by Hugh Kitson:

www.c4israel.org/san-remo/

More information about the international law developments, including the significance of San Remo, can be found here: www.thinc.info

 


“Signs of the Times” part 1 –
Video teachings by Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer

Faith in a personal God is rapidly declining in Europe. Anxiety and fear for the future are increasingly laming the lives of many, as a deadly stranglehold. Is there any hope? Is Israel a sign of hope? Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer looks at fifty-two signs of the times mentioned in the Bible in this new series.

Abram and the original inhabitants” –
Video teaching by Johannes Gerloff

Episode 21 in the series of teachings by Israeli-based Bible teacher and journalist Johannes Gerloff:

God had told Abram to move to a foreign country. Obviously, there were other people living in the Land of Canaan. Migrants, whether they arrive as refugees or conquerors, are rarely welcomed in a friendly manner. Abram and his contemporaries set a biblical standard. They had warm relations up to the point that one risked his life for the other.

 

Scripture for the week: Isaiah 2:1-5

This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

In the last days

the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.

Many peoples will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.

 

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The goal of Israel & Christians Today is to help Christians to take God’s Word seriously, and study current events in the world in the context of the Bible.
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