Anyone who knows me or has read my blog on a semi-regular basis knows that I am extremely concerned about what is happening in the Middle East and concerned about the propaganda and misinformation U.S citizens are constantly fed about Middle East events. I am frustrated by the way the current conflict in Gaza is portrayed in such a cut and dry manner. I am frustrated by so many people I know who see Israel’s relationship with the rest of the Middle East in black and white when it appears to me as anything but. On the extreme are some of my family members who believe Israel can do no wrong and the U.S. must support them at all costs – no matter what immoral thing that may cause our country to do – or face the wrath of God.
I think sometimes it is hard for Christians, especially dispensationalists (which I’m not), to know exactly how our nation should rightly relate to Israel. The dispensationalists’ view is clouded by their eschatological beliefs, and they see all that is happening in the Middle East as the necessary movement toward Christ’s return. And indeed, they often try to do all that they can to “help” God bring about the end. They support Israel without question because the Jews are God’s chosen people, and because of this, for some reason, they believe that everything Israel does is right and just. At least this is what I have gathered from discussions with such people. They believe God will reestablish many of the Old Testament functions of the nation of Israel and that the Temple will be rebuilt and the sacrificial system will once again be in place. Therefore, in their eyes, modern day Israel must maintain a firm grasp of their region and regain all the land they were originally given by God. The dispenationalists, as well as many other Christians, do not distinguish between the political State of Israel and God’s people Israel, and this is where I believe much of the trouble lies. In addition to this view, I know there are many who will argue that we must support Israel because they are a democracy, and this argument is one that I hope to address when I have more time.
I think that I have a rather rational outlook on this situation based on what I do know, but I’m willing to admit that I am still learning and thinking this all over. I don’t think that it is appropriate to take the position that we must support Israel at all costs and neglect to question any of their actions. I would love to hear other Christians’, particularly reformed Christians, perspective on how we are to view the policies and actions of the modern day state of Israel in relation to God’s biblical commands, and what kind of involvement the U.S. should have with Israel.
I have been trying to keep my eye on what is currently happening in Gaza, but I admit, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to become informed on the details of what is taking place, and like most Americans, my knowledge of the details of the history of the strife between Israel and the Palestinians is woefully lacking. But, I am trying to educate myself.
There are very basic untruths regarding this situation that should be common knowledge, but because of media misinformation, are widely unknown. For instance, the Palestinians are being blamed for breaking the cease fire, when it was actually Israel who originally broke the truce on November 4th 2008 by performing a raid that killed five people. Another fact that is essential in forming a clear and educated position on what is taking place is that Israel is illegally occupying the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and the Palestinians there are ill treated and starving as they live under Israeli military rule. This occupation is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is only common sense that an occupied and abused people will rise up and do what little they can against the powerful force that dominates them, is it not? Yet, the U.S. media portrays the actions of Hamas as terrorism against Israel, completely neglecting the terror Israel has wrought on the Palestinians. The acceptable position is that Israel is protecting itself. They are not aggressors. End of story.
Here are some pictures of the death and destruction in Gaza, juxtaposed with the meager damage that Hamas has done with their homemade rockets in Israel. The woman who put these photos together collected the pictures of Israel from Zionist sources, so she can’t validate the accuracy of them. It is possible that they are merely fabricated by the Israelis, and damage is even less extensive than shown in the photos. At any rate, I did an image search for pictures that show damage to Israel, and I couldn’t come up with much that looked different from those in the link above.
I am not trying to suggest that Hamas is innocent. What I am trying to communicate is that contrary to most media reporting, Israel is not innocent either. This is a complex issue, and I think it’s really important that we understand that instead of treating it as a black/white, good/evil issue as many are prone to do. It’s a lot easier to do that. It takes a lot less effort and care. But it’s wrong, and it’s unfair.
I found this video to be thought provoking. It is a few years old, from what I can tell, but completely relevant to what is going on now.
I hope to write more on this situation as I learn and think more on it.