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War in the Middle East: Israel v. The Palestinians

posted Jul 29, 2014, 1:15 PM by First Baptist

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most complicated and intractable conflicts in human history. The current fighting is only the latest skirmish in a long history of them.


A Brief History


You’ll recall that at the time of Christ, the Jewish people were living in Palestine under Roman rule. In 132 AD, there was an uprising and the Roman Empire responded swiftly and brutally. According to a Roman historian, 580,000 Jews were slaughtered and those who survived were expelled from Palestine. For the next 1,700 years, hardly any Jews lived in the region; instead, Palestine was inhabited by Arabs (called Palestinian Arabs).


Then, in the late 1800’s, there began a movement called “Zionism.” The objective of Zionism was to re-establish a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine. Thus, Jews began to immigrate to Palestine in large numbers from such countries as Russia, Poland and Germany. (Immigration was obviously accelerated by the Nazi Holocaust.) When Zionism began, there were only 24,000 Jews in Palestine. By 1946, the number had grown to 608,000.


As you might expect, the Palestinian Arabs weren’t too happy about this and tensions increased, often resulting in violence. Eventually, the United Nations got involved and, in 1947, proposed a so-called “partition plan” for Palestine. The Jews accepted the UN’s plan and they became an independent state on May 14, 1948. The Palestinians, however, opposed the partition plan and declared war on Israel, along with 7 other Arab nations. The war lasted 8 months during which Israel seized additional territory -- beyond the land allotted to them by the UN.


Over the next 20 years, Israel was urged to relinquish the captured territory, but for security reasons, they refused. In 1967, they were attacked again and once again Israel prevailed (acquiring even more land).


This is roughly where things stand today. The issues are complicated and defy easy solution. The Jews consider the land to be theirs by divine right (going back to God’s covenant with Abraham), while the Palestinians feel they’ve been displaced from land that had been theirs for hundreds and hundreds of years.


How to Pray


§  The Scriptures specifically tell us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).

§  We’re also to pray that the Jewish people will turn to Christ (Roman 10:1).

§  Finally, we should not neglect praying for Palestinian Arabs, many of whom are Christians. They too deserve to live in peace and security.


Pastor Dan