After a spate of blog posts about Israel and the “Palestinian question” (see here, here, here, here and here), from primarily a theological perspective, but also mindful of the political and social justice issues, I have been rather quiet on the subject of late. As well as turning my attention to other important matters, the main reason is there has been less media reporting of late, including among my social media friends and other events in the Middle East, notably around the emergence of ISIS and the atrocities they perpetrate, being thrust more into the news limelight. Besides which, I have said much of what I needed to say and having laid down the gauntlet to those siding with Israelis and Palestinians respectively, I still await a reasoned debate on the issues and will continue to reflect on events unraveling while I do so. I am under no illusion though that there is a lot of unfinished business to be completed and that the rights and wrongs of what has happened and is happening in and around Israel are difficult to fathom. My position has been stated in my earlier blogs, which is God has not finished with Israel, who will return to the land he promised to Abraham, but righteousness and justice is still required with Israel falling short. Israel is not just significant from a world events perspective but also is key to our understanding when we enter into these last days, where we will see much evil but also the eventual return of Israel’s Messiah.
There are at least three reasons why I felt I needed to return to the subject at this time. Firstly, there were the Israeli elections that have just take place, returning a coalition government lead by Benjamin Netanyahu. Secondly, I recognise this is a hot subject among some of my Christian friends where passions are raised. Sometimes I find myself biting my lip when confronted with prejudice, which sadly is often. Increasingly, there are those siding with the Palestinians over what they see as Israeli excesses. Then there are those siding with Israel, some of whom have no relation at all to Israel other than what they read in the Bible about them being God’s chosen people. Unsurprisingly, this can lead to splits among Christians, when unity is called for. Thirdly, I note today on my Facebook page one of my “friends” urging me to sign an online petition: “We demand that Intl. Criminal Court & UN charge Benjamin Netanyahu & Israel for War Crimes against Humanity”, something I haven’t done as I am still unsure where the balance lies even though some of the actions of the Netanyahu regime in recent months to the detriment of the Palestinians have left me feeling decidedly uncomfortable, but is something to be added to the pot when discussing these matters.
In one of my earlier posts I reflected that Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas and Obama, leading respectively Israel, the Palestinian territories (Gaza and the West Bank) inside Israel and the USA are not my favorite people when it comes to leadership, or in who I have confidence in to bring about a resolution, yet they do lead the three most important players in the prevailing situation. It was notable then that despite Netanyahu not carrying popularity among western leaders, especially Obama, he was re-elected in the elections that took place. While sometimes taking issue with Israel Today on its pro-Israel bias, I found its reporting on the elections and reflections on the implications, to be helpful, in particular that whatever reservations Israelis have over their re-elected Prime Minister’s leadership, they see him as the one best placed to take care of their interests which I would say in a nutshell is securing a Jewish Israel state. When we look back in history, no governments were perfect and many a lot less than perfect, so when I look at election results, and this one especially where it seems my hopes for Israelis and Palestinians have yet again been dashed, I realise it is all in the hands of the Almighty. Where this will lead us, who can tell? As for me, I will continue to do what Jesus said I should: “watch and pray”.