Statehood Of Palestine From A Priests Perspective

Why Christians need to support Palestinian drive towards Statehood?

By Dr. Alex AwadBethlehem Bible College September 18, 2011, I just finished writing an article on the Palestinian bid to be recognized as a state at the UN. I wrote this article for Christians who are wondering as to what is going on and why the Palestinians are making such a move that Israel and the US are vehemently against. If you think it is helpful, pass it to people who wish to be exposed to a different perspective.

In the coming days, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be at the United Nations to request an official recognition of Palestine as an independent state with full statehood status at the UN. The majority of Christians and church leaders in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip support the Palestinian bid to seek full statehood at the United Nations. This position is not driven by anti Israeli or anti American sentiments but rather because most Arab Christians believe that without a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict they have no future in the Middle East and without Palestinian statehood, there will be no end to the conflict. The political turmoil in Palestine and the neighboring countries has prompted many Christians to abandon their homeland and seek refuge in Western countries. This trend will continue until the political chaos that springs up from the Arab-Israeli conflict ends.

Consequently, Western Christians who are concerned for the future of the Church in the Palestinian territories and the rest of the Middle East need to support the Palestinian drive for statehood. Palestinians, like most nations, are seeking a free, independent and peaceful state on 22% of historic Palestine and have already recognized Israel’s sovereignty on 78% of the land.

Palestinians have shown willingness to swap land with the State of Israel in order to make accommodations for what Israelis call ‘new facts on the ground’. In addition, Palestinians are willing to consider the Israeli demand that a future Palestinian state would be demilitarized and allow for measures that create secure borders for the State of Israel. Furthermore, as the Middle East and North Africa experience tremendous political awakenings, peace with the Palestinians is the top guarantee to peace and security for the State of Israel.  A genuine peace treaty will bring as much peace to the Israelis as to the Palestinians and to many countries of the world including the United States.  Those who pray for “the peace of Jerusalem” need, at the same time, to support the immediate creation of a Palestinian state.

Christians tarnish their testimony in the world when they continue to endorse or be passive about the lingering injustice in Palestine. The Israeli government refused to halt the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank in order for negotiations to resume. Even when the American administration requested a two months’ freeze on settlement construction to allow for negotiations, the Israeli government wouldn’t cooperate. Now, Israelis are accusing Palestinians of refusing to return to negotiations. How can one negotiate with a friend on dividing a cake when, all the while, the friend is eating the cake?

It is not that Palestinians are against negotiations, but rather, they are exhausted by two decades of fruitless and painful wrangling with Israeli leaders.  It is our Christian duty to become aware of what is going on in political circles and on the ground and then to take a stand with the truth. Christians are not called to be morally passive and politically indifferent but rather to be active in promoting solutions that will bring about reconciliation and an end to the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Some Christians hesitate supporting the Palestinian bid for statehood for fear that it may result in creating a militant Islamic state. Fortunately, the current move for statehood is driven by the most secular, progressive and non-violent branch of the PLO. For this reason, Hamas, the Islamist movement in Palestine is not in agreement with the move.  The danger is this, if the Palestinian Authority fails to deliver to Palestinians an independent Palestinian state due to US and Israeli political maneuverings, in the near future, the secular Palestinian government will surely fall and only Hamas will be left to lead the Palestinian struggle for independence. This does not bid well for Israelis, Palestinians, future peace talks or for the Christian communities in the Middle East.
The Church has loses its influence in the world if it abandons its mission to be “the salt of the earth and “a light to the nations”. May the light of Christ in us help guide the Palestinian people in their perilous path towards statehood.

7 comments to Statehood Of Palestine From A Priests Perspective

  • Gary

    In the Gospel of John, Jesus warned us about the Jews . The Muslims hate anything that’s not them. Here’s the solution: let the Jews and Muslims have at it in one final war. We’ll deal with the winner – if there is one.

  • James

    To Gary above,
    And you are an adherent of Christianity, the religion of peace? You and your ilk are the beyond hypocrites. Never forget that the biggest atrocities in the history of man was made in the name of your religion.

  • Chris Brouwer

    If the Palestinians are such peace loving and open-minded people, why has the 1800 year old Christian community lost about 80% of its members, driven out of Bethlehem by whom again? By the peaceloving Muslim of course! This happened in all of the Christian communities in the Middle East, one need only to look at the Copt’s in today’s Egypt.
    It seems that Muslim cannot stand anybody of a different faith. And you always forget Hamas. Abbas is old, when he dies the power struggle is on and I bet my shirt that the peaceful Muslims in a new Palestine state will go for Hamas rule. It is only a matter of time. Muslim cannot fool all the people all the time! You real face will show through eventually

  • Jeannon Kralj

    I think the title of this article is deceptive.

    You should have explained in the article that this “priest” is apparently a priest in the Baptist Church. This “priest” is not a Roman Catholic priest or any Catholic Rite that is in full communion with the Vatican and the Pope.

    “D. Ministry: Senior pastor of the East Jerusalem Baptist Church since 1994, missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church since 1989, board member of Evangelical Local Council of Churches in the Holy Land, director of the Shepherd Society, BBC’s charitable ministry.”

    I believe in Palestinian statehood but both the Jews in Jerusalem and throughout Israel persecute Christians as do the Muslims throughout the Middle East persecute Christians.

    Israel cannot be trusted to ever respect the statehood of Palestine. I do not see why Palestine has to be a non-militarized state. I do not see why Israel has never been required to fully declare ALL of its nuclear warheads and submit to full United Nations inspections.

    I think that this conflict will continue until Christ returns. I think that any and all forms of the Islam religion and any and all forms of Judaism are rejectors of the One Who Said He is Truth.

  • Steve

    Why would anyone be surprised at the comments by Gary? Christian and especially Catholic dogma has been so morally bankrupt for so long how could they know good from evil? This is a religion polluted by pedophiles and those who would protect them. How in the world can they have the intestinal fortitude to take the moral high ground on any issue???

  • carl

    We are in the days of Jacobs Sorrows and the way things are going we’ll soon be in the days of Jacobs Trouble(the tribulation). Jahshua will not return and save you (He can’t return until Jah makes His enemies his footstool) but Jah will do it through the power of his Messiah from Heaven in mankind.Jahshuwah called himself the son of man did he not?Is this priest or any teachers of the flock telling you of that one verse that runs through the entire scripture,I think not. These two words keep in mind when you read that verse..Restoration and are calling yourselfs christians are you reading the book of Hebrews and the Old Testament as well as the New Covenant ? We ALL are a mixed up bunch of people christians and muslims;for Satan has deceived the Whole World ! That verse(s) Acts 3:20-21

  • carl

    I give thanks to JAH ,the Father of Glory , the God of Jahshua his beloved Son who he made both Lord and Savior for a step the Palestine people have made in the UN.However,do not be deceived there are times of tribulation that will come upon the whole world. These twin boys Jacob and Esau and because Jacob stole the birth right of Esau ….and Esau has EVERLASTING hatred for Jacob and is now taking what was given to Jacob.Satan has such a strong hold of the US and GB/commonwealth through false teachers and blind guides of the flock…I just do not know if either will repent.

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