The Emmaus Walk Presents:

"BBC's Symposium of Left Bank Arab and Israeli Youth,"

A Review by Ronald Ginther

A few days ago, a British Broadcasting Company radio interviewer gathered together young people from the Friends Boys School of the Left Bank, Ramallah (which was Yassir Arafat's headquarters before he moved to Gaza to be freer to conduct his terrorist suicide bomber strikes against Israel) and Israeli young people. There was an even or nearly even grouping of both, and of boys and girls. Here are my impressions. The secular-humanist interviewer was doing a brave thing, of course, bringing such together--and he was nervous, I think, wondering how this was going to go.

He interrupted only a few times, for the discussion hardly needed him, it went so briskly. He asked several questions, and the rest was up to the young people to share their views. They seemed to want what the interviewer was seeking: the start of an open discussion between Arabs and Jews. With the youth he held out his hope that this could be possible--more possible than it would be with adults holding long-established, diametrically opposed viewpoints.

I found the young people, both boys and girls, ideologically trained, spouting like monkeys on a leash what they had been fed. It was the same, tired, old agenda of the terrorists of the PLO that they tried to use to dominate the discussion. Simply put: Israel is squatting on our land. We were the original people here, and we are being treated criminally. We cannot go about our own land as we please. We can't occupy all of it as we please. We are being shot and killed, and don't have an army to fight back. Our children are being killed. We are being imprisoned by the thousands for no reason. We are oppressed, oppressed, oppressed--we poor, harmless, peace-loving Palestinians--and it is all Israel's fault!

The thing that amazes me is that these young people--with such fervor and passion--do not question in the least what they have been taught. It is like the Gospel to them--this Gospel of anti-Zionist Terrorism. They know no other Gospel. They are not even discussing the problems in religious terms. They don't have to, though Islam lies behind every word they utter.

My view of the Israelis is that they are secular-humanist and misled too. They immediately conceded what they should never concede: the land of Israel. They agreed with the so-called "Palestinian" youth that the whole problem they both face is "over the land." Not so! That is a politicalization" of what is a religious conflict being waged to the death between Islam and Judaism. Neither will win, though Judaism will prevail. Only Christ will win this struggle, as both sides bow to him on His Second Coming.

The so-called Palestinians, after blaming Israel for every evil they could think of, got a more or less weak defense by the Israelis. One bit of the quarrel concerned who was in the land first. The so-called Palestinians said they had always been in this land, and the Israelis came after them. Not so, an Israeli who knew history better corrected them. I noticed that the so-called Palestinians were better at dominating group discussions--claiming a word, then preaching for an extended period--both a boy and a girl did this at key points. The Israelis were better at give-and-take discussions, able to keep back inflamatory, ad hominem attacks and able to listen to hostile points of view without making angry speeches.

The so-called Palestinians employed ad hominem attack speech from the beginning--using the emotional term "enemies" when referring to the Israeli youth present. An Israeli girl bravely questioned this, without getting angry and using ad hominem attacks in response--a win in the argument. But the so-called Palestinians did not seem to learn from this. They ganged up on an Israeli boy who said he would go into the Israeli Army when the time came. "How can you do that, join the Israeli Army and kill us?" he was asked. That is how they framed the whole question of Israel's self-defense. Israel was always the aggressor, the killer of innocent "Palestinians" in their view. They claimed they had no army--a bold lie. They claimed they had only rocks to throw and no weapons like the Israeli Army (another egregrious lie--since they have all the missiles and AK-47s from Iran and Syria and other suppliers that they could want). They claimed that children weren't any threat to Israel, so why should they be arrested and put in prison--when stones are lethal weapons, as they know full well, in a land where stoning to dealth is a national pastime. They never once mentioned (and the Israelis failed to point this glaring omission out) their Al Aksa Brigade, their Hamas, their Al Fatah, and all the other well-armed, highly trained terrorist armies (this was what I found most telling, when I had to decidee whether they were being less than fair and honest with the Israeli youth--and I would say they were not being fair and honest). They went on to use rhetoric you might expect from Yassir Arafat or the leaders of Hamas. To hear them describe themselves, you would think that they had absolutely no terrorists among them, that they were all innocent doves! To listen to them, their leaders had never sent out a single suicide bomber or shot off a single missile from Gaza or southern Lebanon. They excused the kidnapping by Hezbollah of Israeli soldiers inside Israel, protesting that the Israelis had thousands of their people, innocent people, in Israeli prisons. The Israeli girl tried to make the point that these people were scaring her country, that they were not innocent--but her language was very weak on these points and entirely too conciliatory. As the "Palestinians" continually made the point, it was only the Israeli Army that was the aggressor--never the so-called Palestinians!

As Perry Stone has pointed out, God gave all the oil to the sons of Ishmael (which is an incredible thing, giving them unlimited riches), but none to Israel. What did he give to the sons of Jacob? One thing: the land. He gave this land to the Jews, not to anyone else, so that they would preserve a place where He would return, as prophesied, to rule the earth from Jerusalem. It is the Jews' land forever in an Everlasting Covenant, not just for their keeping but to provide a place for his royal throne and footstool as King of kings, Lord of lords during the Thousand Year Reign.

Yet, since the whole discussion was predicated by both sides as a political symposium over the question of the ownership of the land, the Covenant (and, of course, Christ's coming rule from Jerusalem) was never mentioned. This was the major failure of the Israeli youth, who are secular-humanists. They really have no claim to the land, other than the one made by the girl, who said they had been there before, thousands of years before the present generation she was speaking to. Of course, the so-called Palestinian youth thought this was preposterous and wanted to deny it, but there wasn't time left in the discussion, which the BBC interrupted in order to close the program.

I listened as closely as I could, to understand if I could what is going on in the thinking of current, contemporary Israeli and "Palestinian" youth. I learned a few things, I think. 1. It is a sad conclusion. It is impossible to change the minds of these indoctrinated "Palestinians," young as they are. They were on their best behavior in this interview, seeking to appear to be the feckless victims of Israel they constantly claimed to be, but I had to wonder if they wouldn't go out sometime after this symposium and strap bombs to their backs and head for the nearest Israeli school or movie theater. There was such hostility and full-blown close-minded hate for Israel in them, which I could detect behind their mostly quiet, controlled speeches. The BBC interview, himself, seemed a bit discouraged by the responses, though he did not admit that it was the "Palestinians" that were the chief reason for his discouragement. If he were honest, and he may not be, he would have to admit that the Israelis were far more rational, open-minded, and free to engage conflicting points of view--whereas the "Palestinians" demanded, without missing a beat, that things go all their way and that they were victims, and Israel must pay for it!

2. The Israelis, despite the best secular-humanist education, are sadly ignorant of the basic foundations of Israel, which is not secular humanist, as they obviously think. To these youth, the conflict is political. Basically, it is not--it is spiritual or religious. They would not even discuss (dismissing it in a cavalier way) the issue as one of religious differences or the collision of two conflicting religious world-views--Islams as opposed to Judaism's. This is their major short-coming, their major weakness. We see this weakness in the secular-humanist dominated Presidency of George Bush and the U.S. Congress and the State Department. Because they refuse this view, they cannot deal with it appropriately. The Muslim terrorists have no such weakness, and they are on the offensive, with increasing success. They can and seek to exploit our known weakness, for secular humanism plays beautifully into their plans, the psychological part of Islamic strategy, which was always a primary part of Islamic expanism since the time of Mohammed.

The BBC interviewer signed off, saying he had hoped that the discussion and symposium would end with an exchange of shaloms (which are virtually the same in Hebrew and Arabic languages), but he said he was not surprised, given the brevity of the program, that it wasn't to be. He commented that the discussion was brisk and had good participation, which it did. It is the low mental quality, the unquestioning partisanship on the one side--the "Palestinian"--that I find most disturbing. Trained to hate Israel for "stealing their land," they performed exactly as their trainers back in the schools or the streets had taught them. Trained to believe they were innocent victims, they are not innocent victims. It is true their physical movements are restricted, perhaps severely. But it is true their own terrorist caused Israel to institute the restrictions, in order to keep the suicide bombers out. This, from start to end of the symposium, was never admitted by the "Palestinians."

On a trip to Israel, I visited the Boys School for Arabs in Ramallah. It was a Christian school. If this is the same as the one the boys in the symposium came from, it is raising brain-washed terrorists. But since the early 1980s Yassir Arafat who made the city his headquarters had time to infect that whole generation with his terrorism, misguided philosophy, and falsified history of the "Palestinians" and his own hate of the Jews. His indoctrination of whole generations, the older and the younger, with his ideology of "victimization by Israel," paid off royally. It made him a billionaire, at the expense of the very "victims" for which those billions had been given him by the West. It made him a tinpot dictator, this half-pint-sized, bald little man, able to parley with the Greats on the World Stage, hobnobbing with such as President Clinton, and the Nobel Prize Committee and the king and Queen of Sweden, not to mention the plutocrats of the United Nations and the oil-rich potentates of the Middle East. He was greatly feared, rich beyond his wildest dreams, and respected even by the Israelis who did not dare kill him (despite his signing the authorization papers to send out suicide bombers) for fear of the liberal, secular-humanist-controlled-nations' outrage. How could one little man, with so much hate, achieve so much in a destructive way? How could he blind millions to his own duplicity and greed and self-aggrandising lies? How could he get foreign journalists from the West--news anchors from the U.S. from the najor networks and news programs--to eat out of his hand and give him bear hugs as if he were the next best thing to Jesus Christ?

A documentary I saw a few years ago made an impression on me. I watched the struggles of a young "Palestinian boy," who grew up in a culture of hate for Israel and yet wanted something different, something better. He found no hope, no positive life, in his circumstances, and tried, with running, to win a big award so that he could gain the means to lift himself out of these hopless circumstances he found surrounding him in his Left Bank home. Right on camera I saw the end of his dream for a better life. Another boy shot ahead of him in the public race, and he could not regain his lead. He stumbled and fell. He lost the running match, and his golden dream crumbled and died right there in the dust and stones where he lay. He had wanted badly to make friends with Israeli youth, and was even invited to Israeli homes (where he was treated, I thought, somewhat condescendingly). But in the race he lost his dream. Meanwhile, his mother was constantly reminding him that they were victims and the Israelis were aggressors and land thieves as they paid a visit to their former home in the ruins of a village the family had left, perhaps in the first war of the Arabs against the state of Israel in 1947, or possibly in the 1967 war that followed--conflicts that sent millions of Arabs running to various countries, in the vain belief that their host Arab countries would take care them better than Israel would if they remained in Israel.

"The Israelis stole our land," she told the boy. She would not let him forget that the Israelis were responsible for all their problems. This is the utterly mistaken message (that the boy imbibed with his mother's milk) that Yassir Arafat and his ilk exploited, using it to advance themselves at their people's expense. It is the same message that fuels the continuing conflicts and wars--because, unknown to the mothers, there is a spiritual reason behind the teachings they give heir sons, or the hatred of Israel and "They stole our land!" sermon preached daily to school children by PLO instructors in the schools. The children, consequently, can only see Israel in these terms--they have blinders put on them by birth and religion. Only Christ, his atoning blood, his sacrifice on the Cross, his forgiveness, his salvation, his healing virtue, can give sight to these blind children and their blind parents. Jesus Christ is the only hope for the boy I watched stumble and fall in the documentary. It is up to me and Christians everywhere to see that he hears about this Hope. That is why this is written. Pass on this message, if you can.

Postscript: On a first trip to Israel, I was taken on the tour to an unplanned, actually unprecedented, gathering of the evangelicals of Jerusalem and the surrounding towns. The whole community was honoring our tour leader, Art Katz, a converted to Christ Jew. He was regarded at that time, thanks to his books, as a rising star of the evangelicals and the charismatics. Evangelicals, such as Baptists and Lutheran, recognized him for the authenticity of his Christian conversion and his testimony to his knowledge of the scriptures and the reality of Christian commitment and perhaps other qualities. Charismatics were drawn to him, because he was a Spirit-baptized Charismatically-gifted person such as themselves, not just because he was a converted Jew, though that added a certain lustre and cachet to his image, undoubtedly.

Christian convert, Jewish, charismatic, evangelical, vibrant testifier and witness of Christ, writer, intellectual--Art Katz was still young enough to attract the younger generation, for he seemed one of them--the seeking, somewhat troubled, passionate generation who had lately come to Christ. His books lent themselves to an ardent following and discipleship of such young people. He was "prophetic," an actual prophetic speaker, who addressed large conferences of Christian evangelicals and charismatics in America and Europe. He was thought to be on the cutting edge of the Spirit's dealing with the Church, for the Holy Spirit was perceived to be calling the half-hearted, complaisant Church to a deeper walk, to a Mary-like devotion and "dying to self" written about by Andrew Murray, Watchman Nee, Oswald Chambers, Basilea Schlinck, and other greats in the libraries of charismatics and evangelical believers. Christians. Right amongst stood his own books--his biography, and his book, Reality in the Church, and others. His Minnesota-based religious community, Ben Israel, also produced a newsletter that hundreds or thousands received regularly. Taking tours, speaking at conferences, speaking at invitations to student groups in colleges and universities, visiting churches and preaching all through Europe, Art Katz's name and reputation had spread internationally.

This man, when he came to Jerusalem, was at the epicenter of what was considered the move of God in today's living Body of Christ--if anyone was. When we reached Jerusalem on our 11-day tour of Egypt, Jordan, and Israel, we encountered the usual tour sights, but his itinerary, though published, was always subject to last minute changes. Sometimes he consulted the whole tour group what they wished to do--since they had signed on thinking they would see certain places, and if he wanted a change he sometimes asked us what the group wished to do--see the scheduled place or do something different. He had impromptu gatherings of various kinds--meetings with evangelicals in Jordan (not pre-arranged, for the political situation was risky for Christians) at our hotel, and meetings at various churches and Christian youth groups in Cairo. In Jerusalem we found ourselves going to a conference, which had not been planned either. It came about suddenly, without fanfare. Word spread like a fire in a wind, and a large hall was quickly filled with hundrds of people. It became an event, one of the rare times (perhaps the only time) all the evangelicals and charismatics convened in one group.

I do not recall much that happened. Art Katz was being feted and honored--that is about all that they accomplished in the gathering. There was a high degree of excitement, I recall. What I learned was a major cause of it was prophetic. A prophecy had gone out amidst the evangelicals and charismatics that dealt with the Christians in the Holy Land--and though it seemed to exclude the Arab Christians, it was very popular and was found appealing.

I recall that I felt very somewhat ill at ease in this "august" gathering of the leaders and founders of all these well-conducted ministries, churches, and missions. Who was I? An absolute nobody! A young man, a Bible school student, from far-off Tacoma, Washington State! Who could care what I thought? Who could think I might have a true word from God for them? In Egypt on the tour, I had been passed over by our tour leader Art Katz when he selected speakers from our midst to give words at various churches. It was as if he saw nothing worthwhile, in a Christian witnessing way, in me. Nevertheless, I rose and gave a word, which was a correction, though I did not know anything about the prophecy that was currently splitting the Arab believers from the Gentile believers. The prophecy was not received, for the leader of the gathering, whose name I forget, stood and said he spoke for everyone and did not receive the prophecy. Somehow, I was not surprised, and I got up to go. Suddenly, an Arab Christian youth stood by me. He thanked me for the prophecy. I hardly acknowledged hearing him, when he moved away. The meeting was over, and no one else spoke to me, either agreeing or disagreeing.

Later, however, Art Katz, who had never spoken personally to me on the tour, asked me a few questions, as if for clarification. I tried to answer his questions, and he muttered something I did not catch, and dropped the conversation. That seemed the end of it. The tour soon ended, and I never heard anything again about the response to my prophecy.

I am thinking about this now, in regard to the BBC symposium, as it brings together some threads. The place of the Arab Christians is the one most ignored and shoved aside, by Jews, by Arabs, by even Evangelicals and Charismatics. I heard repeatedly in the years after the tour how the Christian Arabs were leaving the Holy Land to settle mainly in the U.S. This emigration has continued, until even non-Christians are alarmed about it. The Holy Land, with its many Christian shrines and churches, some among the most famous in the world, with no Christians living there? At best a tiny minority, the Christians were fast shrinking to the point of being a vanished species in the Holy Land. Why?

I had seen from the Jerusalem gathering called to honor Art Katz that the Arab Christians were being given no place in a new Israel, as far as some Christians were concerned! This was just one more door shutting on them, and they had decided to seek a new home somewhere else--and were doing so by the thousands. Caught in the crossfire of Muslim Arabs and Israelis, the Christian Arabs were a third party no body seemed to consider had legitimate rights and a vital role to play in the area's development. This is a tragic mistake on the part of the Muslims and the religious and secular-humanist Jews of Israel. The Christian Arabs are the most educated and prosperous community in the land. They take away from the society their educational skills and businesses and capital--along with their faith in Christ. It is true many are nominal Christians, but many are--like the young man who thanked me for my prophecy affirming the Christian Arabs, or so he understood it--fervent followers of Jesus Christ. These believers Israel and the Muslim Left Bank can ill afford to lose.

Thread by thread, view by view--tour, conference, prophecy, an Arab youth's remark to me, a symposium, a documentary--they speak something about Israel, the Left Bank, and the Middle East. I do not know how or why I was involved in some major changes and dislocations taking place in the 1980s--which was the time of the beginning of the infamous Intifada, or Great Uprising of the Palestinians against Israell. A prophetic dream told me on this tour by a missionary is also pertinent. She told me she had dreamed about two beasts--one black, one brown. Now this was just before the Intifada's breaking out. We had no idea that there was going to be an Uprising, such violence and fighting by Arabs against the Israeli army occupying the Left Bank. But the dream seemed clear, on the surface. There was going to be a terrific struggle in the land between Islam and Judaism, and Judaism would prevail.

Indeed, such has come to pass. Judaism, which rules in Israel along with secular-humanism in a most uneasy coalition int he Knesset, has prevailed over Islam, or the Arab forces of terrorism centered in the Left Bank and the Gaza Strip. That is all the dream told us, or could tell us, though we did not discuss it in these terms at that time.

Much turmoil and trouble has followed, as we know, since the early 1980s. There has come many attempts to make peace with these warring parties. We see how each has failed, and we have arrived now in 2006 with a ceasefire in southern Lebanon--which is a stalemate, in truth, during which the contenders are given some time to recoup losses and reposition themselves for a resumption of active hostilities. The fence Israel erected to keep the Arab-dominated areas from sending suicide bombers easily into Israel's towns and cities has worked very well. But now Israel is being threatened by a major player in Middle Eastern politics--The Islamic mullah-ruled, police state of Iran, which has joined the Islamic state of Syria. This anti-Israel Iran has threatened Israel with nuclear annihilation, and is on the verge of making nuclear bombs. Iran has developed the missiles to carry such a weapon. He has defied the U.S, which is Israel's chief ally, even threatening the U.S. with destruction if America continues to support Israel. The world is most reluctant to do anything against Iran, despite its threats, despite its efforts to join the nuclear-armed nations.

I can only look back and see that the Black Beast of Judaism prevailed over the Brown Beast of Islam. We know from Revelation that Judaism will not be annihilated, but we do not have that assurance for the present government of Iran. Evangelicals such as John Hagee are calling for swift and stern dealing with the military against Iran before they can strike us a terrible blow with a nuclear suitcase bomb or a nuclear-armed missile fired from off a ship drawn close enough to our shores and yet not close enough to draw attention by our protective ring of submarines.

Indeed, we are poised in a lull between the storms of the Intifada and whatever will next transpire. The dream I had lately of the two storms of the ocean coming against people huddled on a tiny sliver of rock in seemingly mid-ocean--that may well speak of this coming catastrophe or seeming catastrophe, when our very lives will seem to be on the point of being taken in some kind of nuclear onslaught or massive, coast to coast, well-coordinated terrorist attack on our major cities and infrastructure.

If I cannot know, without being told by God, exactly what will happen next, I still have the dream to warn me that it will seem to be hopeless for us, but God will step in and the worst of the destruction will fall back away from both sides of us--lest we be utterly swept away. I have no idea how much we will suffer up to that point, when God steps in personally and delivers us. He alone has the right and authority and power to tell the oceans how far they can come up upon the land. he alone has the same might and power to push back all our enemies that will be exerting their utmost to destroy us in the coming weeks and months

I thank God, that He loves us, that He is faithful to His covenant with our forefathers, the Pilgrims and Puritans, that He heeds the prayers of the godly in this land, so that he will ultimately spare us, despite our grave national sins and our forgetting Him in so much of our culture and the way our society and government are run.

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