Friday, October 16, 2015

Matt 24 watch, 276: "Intifada again . . . " -- burning Joseph's tomb and setting out on random stabbing attacks

The latest ramping up of headline-grabbing terrorist acts in the Holy Land (necessarily, inhabited by not so holy people, we are all fallen . . .) is the attempted burning of the complex at the traditional site of Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. 

(Where of course the location of the patriarch's tomb in the West Bank zone helps tell us that Judaea and Samaria are the heartland of the historic homeland of the Jewish people.)

As Times of Israel reports:

Fire set by Palestinian Arab rioters at Traditional site of Joseph's Tomb, Nablus (HT: Times of Israel)

A large group of Palestinians set fire to the compound containing Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Channel 2 television said Palestinian Authority security forces dispersed the hundred-strong crowd and managed to douse the fire at the tomb, believed to contain the remains of the biblical patriarch Joseph. Israel Defense Forces troops arrived at the scene once the confrontation was over and the fire was out, the television station reported. 

The Walla website also reported that PA security forces had brought the fire under control and dispersed the rioters. The blaze caused major damage to the women’s section at the site, the website said.

There were no reports of any injuries in the incident, which followed a day of relative calm in Israel and the West Bank after weeks of deadly Palestinian terror attacks and clashes.
And, of course,  the presence of IDF personnel was used as an excuse for further riots.

The incident, of course speaks to several levels. First, it underscores the 4,000 year old roots of Judaism in the Holy Land, over 2,000 years beyond claims by invading Arabs in the 630's AD. So, this points to the need for willingness to recognise legitimacy of claims to a stake in the Land, on both sides. Where of course the link to Joseph points beyond, to Abraham, and to the need to recognise and respect membership in a common family.

Now of course, some news reports pointed out that the site is sacred to Jews and Christians, with the implication being, Palestinian Christians and tourism. 

So, we have here a reflection of a characteristic pattern of Jihad from the days of Mohammed's raids on Meccan caravans to the attack in 2001 on the World Trade Centres, and also to the strong tendency to desecrate and destroy or seize and build a Muslim site on holy sites of other religions. Jihad is often economically focussed warfare, and it seeks to impose Islamist dominance by desecration, despoliation and seizing control over sites and people alike. 

(Hence, BTW, mass rape, torture and murder as weapons of Jihad, as was recently seen in ISIS' public rape of Christian women just before sawing off their heads in Syria, while mutilating a 12 year old boy to try to extort the conversion of his father. When that failed, the boy, his father and several other Christian men were then nailed to crosses for two days, until they died. This should give us a picture of what Jihad has meant for 1400 years, from Arabia to Spain, France and Ireland's shores in the West, to India in the East, and now in Nigeria. That, is what we are up against. And yes, it by far antedates Western Imperialism and the Crusades, in fact it is the Jihad that provoked the crusades. We have to re-think, the old conventional wisdoms and standard talking points just simply do not fit with the historic and ongoing realities of Jihad. And if you think this is "harsh," ponder this from James the Just:  
James 3:14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. )
David Horovitz, in obvious pain, asks:
What do you do when the people who are trying to kill you live in the neighborhood down the street?

Or when they live in the same village as that lovely man your son’s been working with? 

When they try to kill anybody — uniformed soldiers and police, ultra-Orthodox Jews, all the passengers on a city bus?

When they target men, and women, and children.

When they are men, and women, and children?

When their leaders — politicians, spiritual leaders, teachers — lie to them about us, lie about our history, lie about our ambitions?

When some of their leaders tell them they will go to paradise if they die in the act of killing us?

When they (sometimes) lie to themselves about the killings they carry out — claiming that it is we who are rising up to kill them, that their bombers and stabbers are being attacked in cold blood by us — and thereby widen the circle of embittered potential killers?

When they (sometimes) lie to themselves about who it is they are killing, falsely claiming in widely circulated social media exchanges, for instance, that Na’ama Henkin, gunned down with her husband in the West Bank two weeks ago, was deliberately targeted because it was she who had insulted the prophet, calling Muhammad a pig, on a visit to the Temple Mount this summer?

When all they need in order to kill is a knife or a screwdriver and a mind that’s been filled with poison?

And when that poison pours into them from most every media channel they consume, and from the horrendous Facebook postings of their peers and their role models?

What do you do?
The Henkins, with two of their children (HT: Times of Israel)
 The horrific fate of Mrs Henkin, murdered in front of her children, gives us a clue. The enablers of this murder realise they have gone beyond all bounds of decency, so, they have to lie and taint the victim to make murder seem to be acceptable.

And, we the onlooking world refuse to take this up as iconic, demanding enough is enough, a mother murdered in front of her four young children for the crime of being a Jew in the Jewish homeland for 4,000 years must mark the terminus to such hate and murder that blasphemes God by taking his name in vain.

Enough is enough, and those who resort to shameful misdeeds or seek to justify them, must face the consequence of being shamed again and again until the shame registers. Nothing excuses murder, especially manifest in cases like this.

Justice demands that.

Then, we can turn to the task of rooting out the sources of incitement

But the longer term problem is, in my considered view, not going to be settled. Every time that a settlement that would be even remotely plausible is on the table, hate and violence driven in the end by Islamist Supremacism, have come to the fore, consistently -- revealingly -- from the Arab side.

 No wonder Horovitz observes:
Ultimately, the only way to thwart people bent on murder, with their minds poisoned by racism and religious extremism, is to curb the flow of toxicity. Different lessons at school; different priorities and values from spiritual leaders; different messages from political leaders; different approaches on mainstream and social media.

But all that, of course, is far easier said than done. A different tone, a different approach, from the Israeli government, might have helped until recently. Then again, we’ve tried different tones and different approaches. As former prime minister Ehud Barak once said, it’s doubtful, when the Jews in their exile through the millennia prayed for a return to Jerusalem, that they were thinking of Shuafat refugee camp. But Yasser Arafat rejected Ehud Barak’s peace terms in 2000, and opted instead to foment the Second Intifada. And Mahmoud Abbas, eight years later, failed to seize Ehud Olmert’s offer to withdraw from the entire West Bank (with one-for-one land swaps), divide Jerusalem, and relinquish sovereignty in the Old City.
Yes, there is much wrong on both sides, and we can go look at a slice of the history of Modern Israel and see how that may help us understand, but understanding the roots of intransigence is not solution.

In the end, only the gospel and the kingdom of God, led by One who showed the nature of his kingdom when questioned by Pilate, can solve the problem. Let us read:
Jn 18:33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 

34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”  

35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 

36 Jesus answered,
My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 
37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” 

Jesus answered,
“You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.
  38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
Pilate's cynical what is truth, said to the One who is Truth Himself, speaks sad volumes on our dilemma and the only true solution -- the one we are desperate to avoid.

Or, as Daniel's vision put it:

 The ever warring, domineering worldly kingdoms of men will not prevail over the Kingdom of God and its humble King who came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.

Let us hear also Nebuchadnezzar as he recovered his sanity after arrogance led to his judgement:
Daniel 4:34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,
for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
    and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
    and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
    and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
    or say to him, “What have you done?”
36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 

37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. [ESV]
Sobering words for Governmental leaders and politicians of all stripes.

The true solution lies not in the kingdoms of man, but in the Kingdom of God. 

So, in the end -- exactly the opposite of a common saying -- it is only those who are truly, soundly heavenly minded who will do the earthly good we so desperately need.

And, we too can bear witness to the truth, calling one and all to the true Kingdom of God, a kingdom of the truth in love, purity, genuine peace from God and God-blessed transformational spiritual power:

And yes, the gospel has much to say to all of life, including the now famous seven mountains of the human world.

Are we willing to listen? END