'We refuse to be enemies'

It was one of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had. The location was a hilltop west of Bethlehem about a month ago, and my fellow dinner guests were 30 pastors and church leaders from the United States. That night, our bus parked at a cement-and-barbed-wire barricade, and we hiked about half a mile over two such barricades to have dinner at the top of the hill -- in a cave! The prominent sign at the end of our hike proclaimed the slogan: “We refuse to be enemies.” The parcel of land west of Bethlehem is only about 100 acres. It is owned by the Nassar family, a Palestinian Christian family who have lived on and farmed the land since 1916. It is squarely in the West Bank, and according to international law, belongs to the Nassar family and is not part of Israel. But today, it is surrounded by 50,000 Israeli settlers, living on similar land confiscated from other Palestinian families.

Why did we eat in a cave? Because despite their legal title, the family that owns the land has been forbidden by the Israeli government to build any structures on the land. We hiked over barricades because the government has closed the only access road this family has to their own land. They have also cut off electricity and water to the family, so they must use generators and solar panels for power -- and they now occupy the caves on the land as their only recourse. In 1991, the Israeli government served notice that they planned to annex the Nassar land in order to expand the Israeli Gush Etzion settlement. Under Israeli law, Palestinian land that cannot be legally documented back to the Ottoman Empire (pre-1917), can be taken. Most West Bank families, though their families may have lived on the land for centuries, do not have the official documentation now required to prove ownership of their land, let alone the resources to be able to fight lengthy court battles. But the Nassars have the rare documents that establish their ownership and the will to fight back, so for the last 20 years, they have struggled to retain their property in Israeli courts. The stalwart resistance of this one family taking a stand against the confiscation of their land has become symbolic for Palestinian families of their 60-plus-year struggle to keep their ancestral land and be recognized as legitimate inhabitants of the Holy Land. And the Nassars' slogan, "we refuse to be enemies," captures their desire to live peacefully and share the land with both their Jewish and Muslim neighbors. Many in the United States, and especially within the Church, have taken sides in this conflict without ever having been to the Middle East or having met any of the real people at the center of the conflict. Palestinians are stereotyped as Islamic terrorists, when most are just trying to raise families and earn a living in the face of daunting obstacles. Many of the Palestinians our group met were Christians, despairing over the dwindling Christian population in the land of the Bible, and wondering why the American Church has turned a blind eye to their unfair treatment. Whatever your theology or your political views about the conflict in the Middle East, I ask you to put yourself in the shoes of this Christian family, the Nassars, and ask yourself three questions: How would you feel if someone tried to confiscate your family home, rendering you and your children homeless? Would the Jesus you worship cut off a family’s electricity and water, barricade their road, and confiscate their land? Would He use this kind of force to accomplish His political goals -- or would Jesus, like the Nassar family, also "refuse to be enemies"?

For more information on the Nassar land dispute, visit www.tentofnations.org. Note: World Vision’s position on the Middle East conflict is to oppose any and all human- and civil-rights abuses and violence of any kind by either side. We hope for a peaceful solution that recognizes the legitimate rights of both sides to live securely and with human dignity.


    Bravo! for drawing our attention to this so-often unknown or misunderstood situation.

    How would you feel if the small strip of land you had was completely surrounded by enemies. Who wanted you destroyed and taken off the face of the earth. God gave this land to the Jews and will one day give them all they were promised thru Abraham. However I think I do not know that God will save those who are muslim converts to Christ. And those Jews he has chosen. We can not force people together only Jesus can bring the peace the world needs.

    Thank you Alastair for the link to this site. I had little knowledge and have tried to search more facts and real stories of what is going on. I have been a staunch supporter of Israel and it's right to protect itself, but this story and other accounts are changing my mind on "how" they are securing their identity and "their land." And yes, Jesus would never do what is happening to these defenseless families.

    The media in the United States portrays an image that is incorrect and unjust. Were it not for World Vision and a few close friends I also would believe that Palestinians were terrorists on the attack. But thankfully I know better and will continue to educate my friends and family and will ask them to educate their friends and family. Thank you for this World Vision blog that I can refer to.

    Like you, I can't help but feel that without examples and challenges like that in this post, it would be very easy to let the media drive our point of views and perspective about other people, other cultures, other religions, and everything in between. So glad that you feel this post is worth sharing with your friends and family, I've also done the same.

    Thank you for taking the time to write down your experience with the Nasser family. Speaking truth about what is taking place in Palestine is very powerful. Keep up the good work.

    I have visited Israel 4 times since the early 1990s. In 2002 my husband and I volunteered with a Christian aid organization in Jerusalem. It so happened that this was in March, the worse terrorist month Israel had ever experienced. There were daily attacks and attempts. One day when I was at my desk I heard a loud boom; a suicide bomb had detonated near the bus stop my husband used to get to his job at the food bank. He missed it by 15 minutes; unfortunately a young Jewish couple and their unborn child were killed. They left two orphaned children. I would urge anyone really interested in the truth to study both sides in the light of the whole Bible and with a view to a literal rather than political interpretation of scripture. Israel is promised to the Jews throughout the Bible, not just in "isolated verses". I know from personal interactions with both Jews and Muslims how far each is from our Messiah Jesus. But His promises are irrevocable, whether we like it or not. Furthermore, I would urge those open-minded enough to listen to all of Benjamin Netanyahu's recent speech to Congress and to find out about recent terrorist attacks on Israelis, such as the horrendous murder in March,2011 of the Fogel family, where a mother, father and three children (including an infant girl) were killed. Their killers are two teenaged Palestinians who have said they would do the same deed again, if given the chance.

    Thanks, Heidi, for the comment and thoughts. I, personally, will be taking you up on many of your suggestions.

    Heidi, what point are you trying to make here? That Israel should continue expanding into Palestinian-populated areas? That is the main issue at stake after all.

    I know that God wanted the Israelites to have their own land but didn't God's political assistance to Israel end when He allowed foreign nations to conquer it? Both sides have definitely wronged each other in grave ways, including the ones you've mentioned above, I agree. Sadly, this will continue because neither side is entirely Christian and so we can't expect either one to break the cycle by forgiving. But as Christians ourselves we cannot condone the things that Israel does that hurt the Palestinians. God would never say "Israel, you can have your land, and I'll make an exception to what I said about loving your neighbors if that commandment gets in your way." Isn't this what it comes down to Heidi?

    Austin, I wanted to present a contrasting viewpoint based on my personal experience of spending time in Israel. Also to point readers to God's unconditional promise of the land to the Jewish people: Genesis 12 and 15 (to Abraham and his offspring Isaac), reiterated in Gen. 28:13-15 to Jacob and expressed in other passages as well. There are conditional promises to the Jewish people based on obedience but the land promise is unconditional. I do not defend everything Israel does, because I know that most of them are not believers. (But I do pray for the Jewish people resting on what the Lord has said in Zech. 12:10 and Romans 9-11 about their spiritual restoration. There are numerous passages in Isaiah and Jeremiah also which speak of how Israel will be restored as they return to God.) Loving their neighbor is a commandment Israel exhibits sometimes (for example in treating Palestinians in their excellent hospitals) and fails at often (just as I do). I would urge you to visit Israel, if you can and see what a small place it is and imagine what it would feel like to live there when your neighbors vow that they want to wipe you off the map. That is Satan's plan(think Ahmidenijad and Hamas) and personally I don't want to aid him, either by word or action. The Palestinian people have been kept as refugees and used by other Arab nations to keep this conflict alive. The root of this conflict is ultimately hatred of the Jews. If you are interested I can give you a long list of books to read by mostly secular writers. O Jerusalem! by Collins and LaPierre is one.

    Heidi, you do not know what you are talking about. The covenant with the Jews, which you quote in Genesis, IS OVER! What part of "done, finished, over, kaput, finito" do you not understand? You are supporting a nation that built their land on the confiscation of lands which were already owned by others. That is THEFT in the Bible the last time I looked. The Jews have NO RIGHT to the land whatsoever.

    Get Ray Sutton's book on covenant principles and read it, please. It is called THAT YOU MAY PROSPER. One of the principles of covenant is that you can break a covenant. The Jews did this when they killed the Divine Bridegroom Who came and offered Himself to them. Without a bridegroom, there is no longer a wedding covenant (an analogy from scripture) and therefore, no longer any covenant.

    The New Covenant has taken place of the Old Covenant (Heb. 8:13) and the New Covenant is with a larger congregation than the Jewish Nation. It is with the whole world -- all ethnic races of peoples, including the Jews. For Jews to be saved, they must now enter the Church.

    Louis, you're really involved in the details of this case, which is great, but you're missing the point that both Israelis and Palestinians commit wrongs against each other and we as Christians should stand up for those victims no matter what nationality they are. We could count up all the sins that Nassar has committed but that is definitely God's job and not yours nor mine. I don't think you're intentionally trying to take God's place as Nassar's judge but that is ultimately what you are accomplishing. God has only asked us to love the Jews and Palestinians alike. Besides, if Nassar, as a Christian, does something wrong our goal is not to condemn him for it but to lovingly convince him to do the right thing. If Nassar really does do God a disservice by not speaking out against Palestinian terrorism, then perhaps someone close to him, perhaps Rich, has brought that to his attention. However, it isn't for you or I to make speculations like that about someone we don't know personally.

    Austin: Thanks for your reply. I have to disagree with your equation of my discernment of right and wrong on the Nassar issue as a judgment only God can make. If the writers of the New Testament took your stance, there would be no letters to churches that needed correction. And no, I am not putting myself on the level of a NT writer. God forbid. But Christians are stuck in this "do not judge" mode and it has hindered us from standing up for what's right and condemning what's wrong. I am not Nassar's judge but God has given me the ability to do research, look further into his claims of mistreatment by the Israelis and supply additional information to provide readers of this blog another side to Nassar's account. Isn't he being judgmental towards Israel and guilty of misleading the readers by providing partial information regarding the Israeli solderis? I guess that's okay.

    The fact both sides - Israel and Palestinian- "commit wrongs against each other" does not cancel out the need to provide correct factual information, which is a major weakness for the pro-Palestinian Christian movement. To be quite honest, Austin, I have yet to read what wrongs Palestinians are committing against Israelis when pro-Palestinian advocates are taking shots at Israel. I encourage you to read "The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement" (Hamas) and try to tell me that Palestinian Christians do not have a God-given duty to speak out against their corrupt government.

    Here is one quote from the Hamas Charter: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. ” for more go to http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Terrorism/Hamas_covenant_com...

    I was just referred by a friend to this beautiful post. As an American Israeli, whose four Israeli children have served in the IDF, as a modern orthodox Jew, and as a soon-to-be director of a Jewish Studies program at a major US research university, I commend you for it. And I think Kevin Morrow is spot on. At the end of the day, only one side has ruled over the other for the last forty years.

    Mr. Lapides quotes the Hamas charter -- while I certainly detest that charter and its hateful ideology, it is entirely irrelevant to the continuing injustice of the illegal expropriation of land and resources on the West Bank. Wishing to drive Israelis into the sea, as horrible as it is, is not nearly as bad as actually driving Palestinians off their land, which my adopted country, Israel has been doing since 1948, within and without the green line, always with the sanction of "law" (And Mr. Lapides errs when he says that the land Mr. Nassar belongs to Israel. In fact, none of the West Bank belongs to Israel in the eyes of anybody but some fundamentalist Christians and some fundamentalist Jews. The UN, the US, the ICC, the Israeli Supreme Court, and most Israelis see the West Bank as occupied territories. Only the Israeli rightwing parties, and their American apologists like Mitchell Bard, still view the territories as "disputed". Even Sharon called the West Bank "occupied".

    Readers of this blog would do well to read an excellent webzine edited by young Israelis, at www.972mag.com. Mr Nassar's slogan, "We Refuse to be Enemies" is changed in Arabic and Hebrew every week at the Sheikh Jarrah protests.

    And a final word -- as an orthodox Jew, I believe all of the Land of Israel, which includes much of Syria and Southern Lebanon, as well as the Eastern Bank of the Jordan, was given by God in perpetuity to the People Israel, and their are Jewish legal consequences for that. But that promise cannot be translated into a simplistic political program that denies Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, and Jordanians, their individual and collective rights. My God is not just the God of the Land of Israel, or the God of the Hebrews, but the One God, Who is Just and Merciful. When people say to me, "How can you, an orthodox Jew, be willing not to claim political sovereignty over the Land of Israel," my reply is "The Earth is the Lord's" -- not mine, and certainly not mine to do injustice with. The founding of Israel in the way it was founded -- though answering the prayers of many --
    was at the expense of many others. The God I believe in doesn't endorse the creation of a state that involves the Nakba of another people. He commands us to pursue justice for all people.

    Mr. Haber, thanks so much for your thoughtful, well-reasoned response. We're thankful for your compassionate perspective on this complex issue, and we'd echo your sentiment about the just, merciful nature of the One God who loves all people and pursues justice without regard for nationality, ethnicity, or otherwise. Blessings, -Peter, WV staff

    Thank you, Rich, for drawing our attention to this poignant story that is very typical of the sort of things going on in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank. Let's face it, no American would put up with such treatment.

    The Nassars are definitely on the Christian moral high ground with their refusal to be enemies and to live peacefully with their neighbors.

    Thank you for having the courage to go beyond the position that simply says: 'We are on the side of the children.' Still true, but when the children on one "side" of the conflict seem to be suffering disproportionately, it gives me great hope to hear you speaking up on their behalf.

    Thank you so much for this blog entry. Thank you for being bold in speaking the truth after witnessing the situation in Palestine and Israel for yourself.
    Reading this makes me even prouder of World Vision. Jesus would be proud too!

    Marianne Albina

    You're experience echoes several I had while studying in Israel and Palestine a decade ago. Raised with a strongly Christian Zionist extended family, my life was transformed when confronted with the realities of families like the Nassars'. My journey towards becoming the humanitarian practitioner I am today started with high school students in Gaza and the "forgotten" Palestinian villagers above Acre. I hope your life journey is enriched by the questions this experience opens as mine has been this past decade.

    I think this is an important example of moving toward the idea that as Christians, we should judge things on the basis of the rightness or wrongness of the actions themselves, and without bias toward any.

    No group receives a special dispensation to act without mercy, or without justice.

    The common theological interpretation that a state, this state or any state, can be free from the duties of love to their neighbor and the common responsibilities toward justice, because of an ethnicity, is one of the strangest developments in the history of Christian thought.

    That kind of thinking, however popular it might be, seems irreconcilable with the teachings of Jesus, who taught that in him, all of the nations should have peace, and reconciliation.

    Your comment has challenged (and encouraged) me as much as the post itself. Your words "that kind of thinking... seems irreconcilable with the teachings of Jesus" will stay with me for a long while. Thanks.

    This brought tears to my eyes as I could visualize what you saw and what families like the Nassar family have experienced. Thank you for making it real for us and leaving us questions to ponder.

    Thank you for sharing real life images of people just like us that we don't often get to see or hear. I appreciated your thought-provoking questions that are easier not to think about because then we don't have to do anything.

    Thank you Rich for this insightful blog and your call for public awereness that transcends political and religious ideologies which can blind Christians to these heartbreaking injustices and the suffering and violence they perpetuate.

    Thank you for writing on this topic, refuting the stereotype that all Palestinians are Islamic terrorists, and challenging the faithful to consider themselves in the shoes of Palestinians. Christians must remember that the Palestinian and Israeli conflict is the perfect opportunity to live out Christ's love and compassion here on earth; in fact, that is exactly what we are called to do. I appreciate you giving a voice to this much needed topic - I am so proud at times like these to be a World Vision supporter!

    Rich, I have always been proud to support World Vision, but perhaps not more so than after reading this blog post. Thank you for bringing a glimpse of truth to an unjust situation awash in stereotypes and falsehoods. And thank you, especially, for bringing this truth to us, we who call ourselves Christians. Faith cannot be lived blind to the realities of our world, and you have made it easier to see.

    I pray that World Vision will work diligently for Christ's Love, Peace, and Justice in Palestine and all other places around the world where it is needed most.

    Thank you for providing this scarcely publicized perspective on what is going on in the Israeli-palestinian conflict. This post was thought-provoking and I appreciate the questions you raised. It gives me great pride to be a supporter of World Vision when experiences and perspectives such as these are published.

    Hello, I am a 16 year old boy who has been to this exact spot the Tent of Nations, and in all my world travels this is absolutely the most beautiful place I've ever been to. It is so sad that in a place so beautiful such hatred can exist, and it is not only prevalent here but all throughout Israel and Palestine. You can feel the tension everywhere you walk, especially under the looming Israeli defense wall that watches you wherever you go. I pray for these people who I am proud to call friends every day and I hope that peace can be achieved before Jesus returns and sets the world straight.

    Jacob, It is such a blessing hearing from someone who has also visited this spot that Rich talks about. For me, it makes the location and the beauty that much more real hearing it from you, too. Your prayer is one we should all be praying. Thank you.

    Beautiful...a true eye-opener.

    I like the three questions, what justifies injustice? Why nothing. Well spoken Rich and bravely because such bright light is often unwelcome in corners where darkness is more convenient and less troublesome. Thanks for visiting the Holy Land and taking away some stories to make us look closer.

    Thanks so much for calling attention to the injustices happening to Palestinan Christians on that side of the world. It is easy to take a simple view or to inadvertently demonize people when we forget that these are families--people--just like us who hope for a better life for their children. I really appreciate the title "we refuse to be enemies." It's a poignant reminder that our response to this issue is a choice.

    This is why I'm proud to be a World Vision alum and a donor. I've seen the separation wall with my own eyes. I've met Palestinian Christians who have been displaced. And it's heartbreaking. World Vision doesn't have the political baggage of other organizations that are addressing the conflict...which is why it's so important that you continue to speak up for justice like you did in this post. Thank you for speaking truth to power...

    Thanks Rich. You have stated the situation eloquently and in love. This is the appropriate New Testament context for biblical perspective!!

    I teach world literature to seniors in a public schools. As part of the curriculum I teach from the Hebrew Bible, Holy Bible, and Qu'ran and I use the same analogy with my students about how they would feel if a govt. took their family land and gave it away. I also make sure my students understand that Allah is the Arabic word for God, just as Dios is in Spanish. To validate this point I was able to purchase a Christian Bible from a Christian books store when I was in Jerusalem in the summer of '10. The manager of the shop was kind enough to highlight the word God in it so I was able to share with my students that the word for God and Allah are truly the same! Thank you so much for awakening this insight into the minds of others. God is truly good and loves all of us!

    Rich, thank you for your story about the experience you had on the Nassar family farm. It is not unlike the other 5,000 visitors and volunteers who have gone to visit the land this year. But what makes it unique is that it is now Your story, and the opportunity, maybe the obligation to share it with others in your network. It's such grassroots efforts that will ultimately change the facts on the ground. May your tribe increase!
    Bill Plitt
    Friends of Tent of Nations North America (fotonna.org)

    Dear Rich: Thank you for your blog post concerning Daoud Nassar and his living conditions near Gush Etzion. Having been a Christian 40 years, earning several degrees in Old Testament studies and spending a majority of my Christian life studying the Middle East conflict, I have another perspective concerning your post.
    1. Mr. Nassar talks about peaceful co-existence with Israelis, but according to reports I have read, he only opens his home to Christians and other anti-occupation groups (http://missingpeace.eu/en/2010/06/demolition-orders-and-co-existence-in-...) I don't see much Christianity displayed by Nassar if he is not willing to dialogue with his "enemies."
    2nd, Rich, have you taken the opportunity to accept the same offers of hospitality by Israelis and hear their perspective on Palestinian mistreatment, terrorism and deception. I think it would only be fair as the president of World Vision that you spend an equal amount of time on a fact finding mission that includes Israelis.
    3rd, Nassar is not telling the entire truth when it comes to his claim to ownership of his land. The Israelis have threatened demolition nine times on several structures on Nassar's property because they are not in compliance with Israeli law (the same laws and threats of demolition apply to Israelis). All Nassar needs to do is change the roofs on some of his structures to avoid his problem but he would rather use his own laziness as an excuse to delude American Christians into thinking how "evil" the Israelis are in wanting to demolish his home. He also is not telling the truth about the ownership papers to the property he is dwelling on. The papers are dated 1924 and were honored by the Turks, but the Turkish rule ended in 1917. Is he telling the truth? (http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=55&x_article=1417). In addition, the land he is on belongs to the state of Israel but he can live on it as long as he cultivates it; the Israelis are not throwing him off his property.
    4th. no where does Nassar, a Christian lover of peace, demonstrate any condemnation of Palestinian terrorism towards the Israelis. Neither do you, Rich. Where is the denouncement of the terrorist ruling body of the Palestinians entity, Hamas and their daily deluge of rockets they send to fall on innocent Israelis; What about Palestinian suicide bombers? Hamas condemned the capture of bin Laden, our avowed enemy? Does Nassar embrace these terrorist monsters and their bloodshed? If not, as a Christian shouldn't he denounce their evil actions against the Jews.
    5th, Rich, I am fearful you are being lured into a Palestinian propagandist trap set by Palestinians (even Christians) to lure evangelicals with false information about Israel, thus causing churches to turn against Israel. Nassar is not alone. Sami Awad is another pro-Palestinian propagandist. Several pro-Palestinian films are making the rounds in churches such as Saddleback Community Church and Bill Hybel's church. These films Little Town of Bethlehem and With God on our Side show a distorted view of the history of the Middle East conflict making the Palestinians/Arabs to be the oppressed and the Israeli the oppressor. From reading the history of the Middle East nothing could be further from the truth.
    Last, the Christians making comments on your page are obviously coming from a place of emotions and not from a place of truth. I suggest Christians start reading books like Paul Johnson's The History of the Jewish People or Mitchell Bard's book, The Idiot's Guide to the Middle East Conflict.

    Rich, it does not matter how many Christian visitors come to the Tent of Nations. The volume of visitors to this location does not determine truth anymore than the growing number of Muslims determines Islam as a true faith. The only tent of nations according to Jesus is the Temple in Jerusalem (John 2), not a cave in the West Bank. Yes, the Father's house includes Palestinian Christians, but in the Messiah's kingdom all people will go to Jerusalem to be taught the Law and worship the God of Israel and His Son, the Savior of the World and Israel's Messiah.

    Louis, while some of your points about accuracy and fairness are definitely valid (some of the links you posted raise good questions about Nassar's honesty in speaking about land issues), I think you're missing the bigger point. Palestinians are, at the end of the day, the weaker party in this conflict. Yes, they are perpetrators as well as victims, like the Israelis, but the Israelis' power to oppress and mistreat their Palestinian neighbors far outstrips the Palestinian's ability to harm Israelis. I think this means that Israelis bear a greater moral responsibility for what goes on in that country. I like to think of it like this: compare it to the Indian Wars here in the States. The Native Americans were definitely guilty of hideous, murderous atrocities from time to time. But a). they were sorely provoked, and b). they were in the end overwhelmed by a military power that was greedy for their land and the resources in it, and which thought nothing of mass murder and theft to achieve its ends. While it is true that the Native Americans committed great crimes in defending themselves and their lands, you also have to ask yourself: would those crimes have even happened if we hadn't invaded their domain? Well, the Native American tribes were fighting amongst themselves before we came, but our invasion of Indian country brought things to a whole new level. Also, why is it that Nassar must speak for all Palestinians and take up the burden of the moral failings of his fellow countrymen? You ask why he doesn't say anything about Palestinian terrorism, but I say that at least he doesn't sing the praise of Palestinian terrorists. Is that not worth something? Okay, so Nassar isn't perfect. At least he's trying to not be a hater. Isn't that worth something? There are many other Palestinians like him who are now embracing non-violent protest. Don't they deserve some credit for forswearing violence as many critics of the Palestinians have demanded for years? Isn't it important to encourage Palestinians who have made a decision to step out of the loop of the armed conflict, rather than arguing over relatively minor details? Something to consider.

    Kevin: thanks for taking the time to respond to my comments. I was especially provoked by your comparison of the Palestinian situation to the Indian Wars in the US. I am not convinced the analogy will bear up with further investigation. A friend of mine who is part Native American shared her thoughts with me.
    1st, The European colonists were newcomers to America. In comparison, there has always been a Jewish presence in the Holy Land. There were times when the Jewish people were absent from the land due to persecution and expulsion by Byzantine and Crusader Christians. Other than that, there would have always been a Jewish presence in the land in accordance with the timeless Jewish hope, prayers and obedience to the Scriptures. So the Holy Land was not a domain invaded by the Jewish people the way the colonists invaded America.
    2nd, you say the Palestinians are the weaker party of the two peoples locked in conflict. According to history, as in the Six Day War, the PLO launched their attacks against Israel from Lebanon with the blessings and support of the nation of Syria. The same is true with the attacks on Israel from Jordan. In the meantime on Israel's southern border, 10s of 1000s of Egyptian troops were amassing for a major assault on Israel. Who was the weaker party? Israel was attacked by a comradery of Arab nations when the nation was a newborn in the War of Independence. The same is true in '73. I can honestly say that if Palestinians were the ones with the nuclear weapons and the stronger army and air force, there would be no Israel. Palestinians, according to the PLO charter and Hamas are dedicated to wipe Israel off the map. Even with Israel's nuclear capabilities, they have shown tremendous restraint against their enemies. I wonder if Israel would even exist if the Jewish nation did not have nuclear empowerment, providing a deterrent to keep the Arab nations from their goal of obliterating Israel. Is there a more opportune time for Israel to become the more weaker of the two parties?
    Third, according to history in the 19th and 20th centuries Jewish people came to the land of Israel fleeing their persecutors (Cossacks, Nazis, etc) and bought the land from absentee Arab landlords. This cannot be said of the colonists who came to America. The Jewish people were not the only ones to emigrate to Israel. Non indigenous Arabs also came to Israel especially when Israel started to become more agriculturally richer under Jewish farming and horticulture. The Arab emigrants joined with Palestinians who were already living in the land of Israel. Why aren't they condemned for coming to Israel? Also, no one condemns the Arab nations for expelling nearly 8 million Jews from Arab lands. All of this history is ignored with pro-Palestinitan Christiians due to a refusal to deal with the facts and react to the present crisis emotionally.
    Finally, I'm glad Nassar, a Palestinian Christian does not sing the praises of Palestinian terrorists. But as a Christian who wants peace, it still behooves him to speak forcefully and peacefully to his leaders who promote terror and for the same reason peacenik Israelis already speak strongly with Israeli leaders. For Palestinian Christians to remain silent in the face of Palestinian leaders who seek to terminate Israel only emboldens the leaders of Hamas. It appears as though Palestinian Christians are giving their terrorist leaders a pass and instead focus all their anger, blame and protest on Israeli soldiers.

    Sorry...although you talk about not being on a political side. Your political agenda comes through really clear :) Genesis 12-15 makes it very clear that the Land belongs to the Jewish people. Modern day political rhetoric has taken the place of Scriptural truths.

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