Hot Questions Concerning the Middle East

By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung; ©2002
What is a Palestinian? Can Israel live in peace with her neighbors? What does the Bible say about Israel’s neighbors?

The Hot Questions Concerning the Middle East – Hope for Peace in the Middle East


Announcer: Today, Dr. John Ankerberg examines The War on Terrorism and the Hope for Peace in the Middle East. John’s guest is news correspondent Jimmy DeYoung, who lives in Israel. Today, he reports on what has been taking place in the last two months. Will a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs last? Will Yasser Arafat and other Arab leaders be willing to publicly denounce those involved in terrorist activities? Will Israel be willing to stop settlement activity in occupied territories, and be willing to give up land for peace? Who will govern the city of Jerusalem in the future, and what will happen in the Middle East if the peace plan fails? We invite you to join us for this special report.

Dr. John Ankerberg: Palestinian is a word that’s being used by the media quite a bit. What is the definition of Palestinian, and how does this apply, or does it not apply, to Arafat?
Dr. Jimmy DeYoung: Well, the word Palestinian comes from the use of the location, the geographical location, called Palestine. Palestine is not a biblical word. Matthew 2 calls the land Israel in two different locations. The word Palestine is never used in the Bible. Philistia is the area of the Philistines which would be on the Mediterranean coast, but it is not the entire state. The word Palestine came into existence in 132 AD when the Roman Emperor Hadrian named that piece of the world Palestine, and it was a political move and statement at that time. And of course, it’s been used over the years. I’ve got a Bible here. I’ve got, you know, a famous Scofield King James Bible, glory to God, and in it it has a map in the back and it calls Israel Palestine. So, even the Christian community uses a term that should not be used, a political term. That’s speaking volumes. We’ve got to watch. Words have meanings, and we must understand that when we use words, it’s very dangerous.
Now, as it relates to Yasser Arafat, there is debate. I am writing now a book on Yasser Arafat, and there is debate as to, the fact is he says he was born in Jerusalem. Most evidence indicates he was born in Egypt. But it’s not where you’re born as to whether you are a Palestinian or not. You can trace all the way back to Esau the Palestinian people of today. And in 70 AD they had become the Idomeans and they joined forces with the Jews when General Titus dispersed the Jews to the four corners of the earth and he dispersed the Palestinians to the Balkans. And they came back into the land in force during the war in 1948, the War of Independence, and they came in the form of an elite commando unit from Bosnia that Hitler had used in the blitzkrieg, as the apex of his blitzkrieg, when he was fighting in World War II.
And so Yasser Arafat is of that background. He has an interesting background. Husseini el-Husseini was appointed the first mayor of Jerusalem by General Allenby in 1917, when the Brits defeated the Turks and they took the surrender from the Turkish Empire there in Jerusalem. Husseini el-Husseini had a nephew whose name was Amin el-Husseini, who became the Haj Amin el-Husseini. And Haj Amin el-Husseini was the Mufti of Jerusalem at the time of Hitler. Hitler invited him to come to Berlin to learn how to rid the world of the Jewish people. And he put up a powerful radio station—this is all documented at the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem—a powerful, one million-watt radio station in Monaco. By the way, that radio station today is owned by Trans World Radio and they’re preaching the Gospel. Well, Haj Amin el-Husseini went on that radio station, a million watts of power, and called the Muslim world to go to Jerusalem and to destroy the Jewish people. And of course, the Haj Amin el-Husseini had a nephew. His name was Yasser Arafat, and that’s Yasser Arafat, a Palestinian, a leader of the Palestinian people, who believes he has a destiny to capture Jerusalem, even to be a martyr to get Jerusalem. The Palestinian people, the Bible tells us in Ezekiel 35 and Obadiah will one day be as if they never were. The book of Jeremiah says they’ll be as Sodom and Gomorrah. That’s their eternal destiny.
Ankerberg: From all you’ve seen, all your time in Israel reporting, should Israel, will Israel, deal with Yasser Arafat?
DeYoung: They have in the past dealt with him. They have announced that if he will reform his Palestinian Authority—that’s his legislative body that he controls—if he will get rid of his corruption, if he will stop the violence, they’re willing to go back to the negotiating table. Shimon Peres, who is the foreign minister of Israel, is more prone to do that. The Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has said he’s irrelevant at this point in time. “I’m not going to talk to him. Let’s kick him upstairs to a symbolic position in the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, whatever.” President Bush seems to indicate that he’s in favor of that as well. But the European leaders are saying Yasser Arafat’s the only game in town; you’ve got to talk to him if you’re going to have peace between the Jews and the Palestinians, between the Israelis and the Palestinians in Israel itself.
If he indeed could somehow stop the violence—and I think he’s in charge; I don’t go along with the fact that “he’s lost control,” I believe he’s in charge—if he stops the violence, if he’s willing to do that and go back to the negotiating table, I believe the Israelis will meet with him and talk with him. The only other possibility is, some of his own people could take him out, could assassinate him; because there’s infighting going on now in the lower echelon of Palestinian leadership, they would like to replace Yasser Arafat.
Ankerberg: Take us around the Middle East in terms of the terrorist groups. Start with PLO, go to Hezbollah. Name some of these groups. And then how are they related?
DeYoung: Well, the PLO is kind of the headquarters of the conglomerate of Palestinian organizations who want to liberate Jerusalem, liberate Israel, from the Jewish people. That’s what PLO stands for: Palestinian Liberation Organization. You have within the framework of that, for example, in Israel itself, in the land itself, you have Hamas and you have Islamic Jihad. These are both Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups living in the homeland of the Jewish people, in the belly of the Jewish people so to say. You have Hezbollah located in southern Lebanon at the northern border of Israel continually firing Katyusha rockets over into northern Israel, continually a menace there. They are of the Shiite Muslim persuasion, which is what the Iranians are; thus, the Iranians have, number one, brought them into existence; number two, supported them, given them all the monies they need to operate, all the munitions that they need, all the military armament they need to go after the Jewish people. They have the same philosophy. All of these monies and munitions and military armament has come through Damascus, Syria, so there’s a relationship as well, not only with Iran but with Syria. Bashar Al-Assad, the young president who took the place of his father when Hafiz Al-Assad died a couple of years back. The first move he made when he came to power—he’s got to try to make certain he has control of the Syrian military might and all that is in the body politic of Syria itself—so he stood with the Hezbollah leaders and said, “These are my people.” Forty thousand Syria soldiers are located in Lebanon and they work in alignment with Hezbollah.
Al-Qaeda who has, of course, played a role in the attack on the United States, they have put some of their peoples now into southern Lebanon and joined forces with Hezbollah. In fact, we even have intelligence reports that tell us that there are some al-Qaeda agents inside the Palestinian Authority located in Israel itself working with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. So those are the main three players.
You have other terrorists—Saddam Hussein who has put together the Jerusalem Army. We’re talking about seven million of his people who have volunteered, some of them to be suicide bombers, to go to Jerusalem to liberate Jerusalem for the Palestinian people. Seven million? That’s one third of the entire population of Iraq of 21 million people! They’re ready to go.
You have the elite commando units of the Syrians at the northern border. So, these other national military operations joining forces with these Palestinian terrorist organizations. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, located in Syria. In fact, there are ten Palestinian terrorist organizations headquartered in Damascus, Syria, itself. Damascus is the headquarters, the capital for the state of Syria. They’re on the Security Council of the United Nations, but they are as well listed by our State Department as a state that sponsors terrorism. And so they’re one of those five states listed at the State Department that we’re not supposed to even be involved with and negotiating with; however, we continue to do that with the Syria leadership.
Ankerberg: What’s the speculation among the news correspondents in Israel about our going into Iraq?
DeYoung: Everybody believes that we’re going to go. It’s when we are going to go. The Israeli government has prepared. They’ve made certain that their gas masks are available. They have told the President of the United States in private meetings, and in public appearances, that they are not going to sit still like they did in 1991. I was amazed. We were there for 39 SCUD attacks and the Israeli Defense Force did not retaliate. Now, the F-16’s were on the ramp. The pilot was in the cockpit. The canopy was down, the engine was running, the foot was on the brake. They were ready to go. If they got the order, they would have gone right into Iraq. But they did not retaliate in 1991, but they say, “We’re not going to do that this time. We’re going to go. We’re going to go with all the force we have.”
You might remember, it was back in the 80s, had it not been for Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel at that time, sending his F-16’s into Iraq and destroying that nuclear reactor, we’d have fought a nuclear war back in 1991, or they would have the nuclear power for sure at this point in time. So everybody believes that it’s not a question of are we going to do it? It’s “when we’re going to do it.”
Ankerberg: From what you are observing in the Middle East, when that happens, how do you think the other Arab countries are going to respond in terms of Israel?
DeYoung: Publicly they’re saying, we’re got to stand with Saddam Hussein because their street, the Arab street, the common Arab in all of these countries is saying, “We like Saddam Hussein. He stood up in the face of the superpower of the world, America, and said, ‘I’m going to back you down! Don’t you dare touch my people!’” They like that. And that’s what the Arab world likes. They like strength. They don’t like weakness. And so the public pronouncements by these Arab leaders is, “We’ve got to stand with Saddam Hussein.” Privately, they’d like to see him taken out. They’re sick and tired of what he’s doing, causing trouble. They can’t exist in any type of a relationship with anybody in the Middle East. I was over in Atlanta, Georgia, speaking in a church and the sign outside the church said, “Jimmy DeYoung, Journalist from Jerusalem, speaking.” And so people came to hear me that just saw the sign. One young lady, who was a Muslim, came to hear me. And after the service she came up and talked to me for a few moments. She said, “I’m Palestinian. I was born in Beirut, Lebanon.” She said, “But I grew up in Baghdad.”
I said, “You did?”
She said, “Yes. I want you to know everything you said about Saddam Hussein, I agree a hundred percent with.” Now she was Muslim. Not a Christian. She was Muslim.
She said, “We hate the man! The people hate him. They want him to be rid of in that part of the world.”
So I think that the unspoken belief of these leaders and the peoples is, they’d like to see him removed, but they’re afraid to do anything now. I mean, he not only is a little man who carries a big stick, he’s a big man with a big stick and he is a treacherous dictator who runs his people and has them shaped up to do what he wants them to do.
Ankerberg: Five years ago I had you on the program and you made a statement that was really prophetic in the sense of September 11. You said that America had just started to taste of terrorism and we were going to experience more. Well, we’ve experience a whole lot after September 11. Have you in Israel now found, I don’t know what you would call it, but the suicide bombing, you can’t use nuclear weapons against suicide bombers. Is this something that is something that could overthrow Israel in the sense, if you had enough people that just decided to die, be suicide bombers, how is Israel figuring out the future, if this continues?
DeYoung: It’s a phenomenon that they really don’t know how to deal with. During the recent defense shield operation, the military operation of the Israeli Defense Force when they went into these areas like Jenin, for example—which was the headquarters for the suicide bombers. That’s where they trained them. That’s where they put together their belts that they would put on, prepared the explosives and everything else for these suicide bombers. They slowed it down a bit. But even in that, they still had, after that, almost two weeks of no suicide bombing when there was one a day almost there for a period of time, another one struck at a social club just outside of Tel Aviv. It’s a phenomenon that I think can spread around the world. And, in fact, if you listen to the news, you have heard in India there was a suicide bomber the other day; over in Spain there was a suicide bomber. In different locations I believe they’re ready to strike here in America with suicide bombers. Again, I’m not a prophet nor the son of a prophet. Five years ago I was simply watching the trend and understanding the mind-set of these people. I’m still saying that exact same thing. And I’m not a prophet. Don’t go out and say Jimmy DeYoung said it’s going to happen for sure. But I do believe that what we have seen happening is going to continue on.
Benjamin Netanyahu, former prime minister of Israel, has written an excellent book on terrorism. And he said that there’s a difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter. A freedom fighter is a military unit that goes against another military unit. A terrorist is a coward; he’s a murderer. He is not willing to take on a military unit but he goes to the defenseless: children, women, the elderly. And that’s what the suicide bombers have been doing, and they’re trained up from early on. In the summer camps, for example, the little Palestinian children, six, twelve years of age, are trained that it is desirous to give your life for the Palestinian cause by becoming a suicide bomber. The phenomenon of young ladies being involved as suicide bombers has just happened in Israel, two of them most recently. And this is going to continue on. It’s going to be very difficult to shut it down. You can use all the military operations you want to; you can shut down all of the headquarters for training these suicide bombers, preparing them with their weapons, their bombs itself, but they’ll just move to another location and go back at it again. I think it’s going to be a phenomenon that we’re going to have to deal with until Jesus Christ comes back.
Ankerberg: I was just talking with one of the major television networks and went out for dinner. And on the way to dinner, turned on the radio and there was Jimmy DeYoung. And you were reporting on what happened in Jenin, and what you were talking about was a whole lot different than what we were hearing here in the United States. Talk about what you saw; talk about the things that you actually know happened, and how Israel conducted that little operation.
DeYoung: You know, it’s very interesting to note that Jenin, as I’ve mentioned in the past, was the headquarters for preparing the suicide bombers to attack the Jewish people, like, for example, the Passover Massacre when they killed 29 or 30 innocent people that were just gathered together for their religious Passover meal. When they went into Jenin, the Israeli Defense Force said, “We’ve got two options here. We can use our F-16’s. We can flatten all of Jenin. We can flatten the refugee camp where most of the terrorists are located.” But no. Now, that’s the way the United States did it in Afghanistan. But “No, that’s not what we’re going to do.”
They met the people of Jenin with this announcement three hours before they started the attack: “We are getting ready to go in and we’re going to arrest, or going to capture the terrorists. We’re going to destroy all the bomb-making factories. We’re going to confiscate any illegal weapons. We’re giving you three hours to get out of the area. We’re going to come in in three hours.”
That’s what they always do. By the way, they videotaped every single thing they did do, so it’s recorded on video, and so they don’t have a real argument. And then, instead of sending the F-16’s in or the Apache attack helicopters, they went in door to door. They sent their troops in. They lost 23 soldiers themselves. And then Yasser Arafat stands up and says, “There’s been a massacre! Five hundred Palestinians have been killed!”
The BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation, in London recorded 900 had been killed in a terrible massacre.
They think its 50 or 60 possibly being killed, maybe at the most 100. But no mass graves; no genocide really took place there. They were going door to door.
Why did they destroy the buildings? They destroyed those buildings because they were booby-trapped. In fact, dead Palestinians were booby-trapped with bombs so if they had gone in and tried to help that individual or bring that dead Palestinian out, they could have been blown up. They put a bomb on a little ten-year-old boy, had him walk down the street, knowing that the Israeli Defense Force soldier would not shoot him and kill him. Instead, he went into a building, blew himself up, the building fell down and killed 13 Israeli Defense Force soldiers.
They went in, house to house, door to door, looking for the terrorists, destroying the infrastructure of the terrorist’s organizations, confiscating illegal weapons and shutting down these suicide bomb making factories. By the way, what I just said the Israeli Defense Force did is what Yasser Arafat agreed to do in the Oslo Accords when he signed it at the White House September 13, 1993, and did not do the job. Prime Minister Sharon said, “If Arafat won’t do it, we will do it. We’re going to shut down terrorism!” That’s what happened.
I’ve got on my Web site aerial pictures of Jenin. And you look and then it focuses in on the little area in the refugee camp. By the way, let me just take a moment here, a parentheses. Refugee camp? Why a refugee camp? That refugee camp of Palestinian refugees is not there because the Israeli government makes it be there. Jenin is a prosperous Palestinian community. Why do they have a refugee camp there? Because the Palestinian leaders need that propaganda to the world. That’s where the terrorists are located. And then you look from the sky and those pictures taken of the little section, less than the size of a football field, that they devastated because of what was going on there. And they try to keep from allowing Palestinian civilians to get in harm’s way. There are collateral casualties in a war. This was war. Nothing compared to what happened in Afghanistan, again, but it’s the same war—fighting terrorism—that the United States says we have to do.
Ankerberg: How did the Palestinian Arabs that went into the Church of the Nativity leave the church? I mean, we’re just getting reports now of how they left it. Maybe there’s other things you know about that we don’t know about that happened in Bethlehem.
DeYoung: Well, ironically, they took over this—one of the oldest church buildings in all of the world, dating back to Helena, fourth century, 326 AD. Helena, Constantine’s mother, came in and selected that as the spot, the official spot for the birth of Jesus Christ. Traditionally, it is the spot. If you’re a Christian and you’ve ever traveled into the Holy Land, you’ve been to that spot to see that 14-pointed star there—but they took over. The Palestinian terrorists went in there. The Israeli government didn’t cause them to go in there, didn’t force them to go in there. They went in there to take up a place of protection. And then they kidnapped the leadership of the church. They have the Orthodox Church there; they have the Catholic Church there. They kidnapped all of those people. They had some other Palestinians who came in who said that we were held by these Palestinian terrorists—at least 39 of the Palestinian terrorists wanted by the Israeli government for killing Jewish people. Thirteen of them went over the Cyprus when they left; 26 of them went into Gaza and they were treated like kings when they got out of there. But, boy, they sure didn’t act like kings when they were in the church. They desecrated the church. They did things that we can’t even talk about on public television in that church. They set fire in the church. They killed people inside the church. And, you know, the Christian world, I’m talking about mainstream Christianity. You and I, we got up in arms about it, but mainstream Christianity never said a word about the Palestinians. All they said, “Israel! Look what they’re doing! They surrounded….”
You know, the Israeli government gave orders for all of those Israeli Defense Force soldiers: “Don’t fire at the church. Only protect yourself, but do not fire at the church.” They could have wiped that church out in a matter of minutes, finished off everything. But instead, for almost six weeks they waited there, and then, they allowed it to be negotiated away.
When they came out, the church was filthy with human excrement, everything else that they did inside. I just really don’t want to get in much more of a description, but it is so vulgar and nasty what happened. And the fact is, they took over this, what is to the Christian world a very sacred spot, and used it for their own purposes.
Ankerberg: If a demilitarized Palestinian state does come into existence, hook or crook, somewhere up ahead, should Israel and should the world rely on it?
DeYoung: Well, you know, I think that’s almost an oxymoron: a “demilitarized” Palestinian state. I don’t see how that’s ever going to come to existence, because the philosophy of the Palestinian people and their leadership is, “We’re going to have our own independence and we’re going to rid…our covenant”—the Palestinian Covenant—“calls, in 36 places, 36 clauses, get rid of the Jewish state. Get rid of the Jewish people here in the Middle East.” So I don’t think that’ll ever happen. They talked about it, but talk is cheap. Are they going to have a demilitarized Palestinian state there anyplace? I don’t think they’re going to sit still. I mean, I can’t imagine any Palestinian leader, if Yasser Arafat is off the scene, any other potential leaders coming to power and saying, “Okay, lay down your weapons. We’re not going to have any military force.”
Well, hey, listen, that’s what the Oslo Accords called for. It called for 18,000 policemen, Palestinian policemen, to police their people–not to be a military operation. Now, I’ve driven by—maybe you have, too, John—Jericho, where that camp to train those Palestinian policemen is located down there. They weren’t training them as I know some of the city police are trained. They were training to be military operatives, and that number, 18,000, grew to about 60,000 and they were Yasser Arafat’s personal military operation. And many of those Palestinian policemen were the ones, members of Fateh, members of the al-Aqsa Brigade, these terrorist groups who perpetrated the violence and the suicide bombing and all of that on the Jewish people.
So, I’m not sure how you could ever have a demilitarized Palestinian state. I think it would just be a lie. Could we rely upon them? Absolutely not. You can’t trust them.
Ankerberg: You’re a journalist; been there since ’91, okay? What are the myths that the media is presenting to the world about Israel?
DeYoung: That Israel is holding down the Palestinian people. That these refugee camps where the Palestinians are located is where Israel is making these Palestinian people live. That’s not true. It’s the Palestinian leadership that’s causing them to live in those camps. They need that propaganda tool to give to the rest of the world.
I have some dear Palestinian friends who have become very successful, very successful because Israel has as its number one industry tourism, and Israel is inviting the Christians especially of the world to come visit the land of their forefathers, the land of their heritage. And of course, the Palestinians reap the benefit from that if they will move ahead. And so a Palestinian, I’ve got one Palestinian friend who’s a guide. He has a home in Jerusalem; a home in Amman, Jordan; a home in Switzerland. I mean, he has made it very well, better than I have, you know. And he says any Palestinian can do the exact same thing if he’s willing to get up and work. But they’ve held the people down. So that’s one of the myths that the media is propagating upon the world, that the Palestinian people have been held down by the state of Israel. Israel is willing to assist the Palestinian people to develop their communities, to help them develop electrical systems, water systems, to put their schools together, to train the children up. But the Palestinian leadership says, “No. I’ve got to hold you down so we can use this. This is the fodder in my cannon to get rid of a Jewish state.”
That’s one of the many myths that is propagated. You know, every news story…I’ve gotten on an airplane just out of Tel Aviv at Ben-Gurion Airport, flown back to the United States. Seven hours difference between the East Coast of the United States and Israel. I would report a story in Israel, get on the plane, fly back to the United States, listen to the newscast here seven hours later, and hear another completely different story. That’s one of the major myths. Every media outlet—ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, maybe not Fox News, but New York Times, Washington Post—they have an agenda. And their agenda is politically motivated. Well, I have an agenda. One of the reasons I went to live in Israel and become a journalist, my agenda is to tell the truth about what’s happening, and that’s what we’ve endeavored to do. But you’ve got to know the source from which you’re getting the information; that is key, especially for a Christian. I’ve been honored that God has allowed me to come to the Body of Christ, use television, radio, whatever means possible, to tell the truth about what’s happening there. And I believe that we, as believers in Christ, need to understand the times in which we’re living. We look at the political, and John, I always say I report the “political” because it is setting the stage for the prophetic to be fulfilled.
Ankerberg: Jimmy, you’ve written an excellent book called Sound the Trumpets. Why did you write that book and what’s in there?
DeYoung: Well, John, between the trumpet sound for the rapture of the Church and the trumpet sound that Jesus, when he comes back to the earth, tells the angels to blow the trumpets and call the Jews from creation back to Jerusalem, between those two trumpet sounds will be seven years. And in those seven years there are four major trends that will unfold. Alyia of the Jewish people. Now, that word alyia is a Hebrew word meaning basically to go up to Jerusalem, but now referring to immigration back into the land.
And then, alignment of the nations. The nations surrounding Israel will come against them in the last days, according to the Bible scenario of the prophetic events to happen.
Anticipation for peace. The Antichrist will confirm a peace agreement with the Jewish people. That anticipation is rampant in this world.
And arrangements for the temple. When the temple will stand in Jerusalem where the Antichrist will go in and sit down as God himself during the tribulation period.
So, those four major trends: Alyia, alignment of the nations, anticipation for peace, and arrangements for the temple, is the content of this book, telling us how close we may well be to the second coming of Jesus Christ. And thus, if we’re that close to the Second Coming, the rapture which happens seven years before, could be even today.
Ankerberg: Sounds like you wrote that for a lot of lay people that have asked you questions over the years.
DeYoung: I certainly did, John, because people want to know what is going to lead up to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Listen, Christians are not looking for signs. The Bible tells us, 1 Corinthians 1:22, signs are for the Jewish people; but, indeed, we can eavesdrop on the signs that God gave to the Jewish people and understand if that is what is going to happen before Christ comes, and we see that unfolding, boy, maybe we’re getting close to the Rapture of the Church.
“What are the things that are going to happen before the Rapture, Jimmy?” Well, nothing.
“What happens after the rapture?” These four major trends. “Oh, we must be close to the rapture.” That’s what people wanted to know, thus I wrote the book to answer those questions.

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