Questions About the Middle East from a Journalist’s Perspective

By: Dr. John Ankerberg / Jimmy DeYoung; ©2004
Drawing on interviews conducted over the past 15 years, Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. Jimmy DeYoung present a unique “on the scene” look from a Christian and biblical perspective, at events in Israel during that time period.

Questions About the Middle East From a Journalist’s Perspective

Dr. John Ankerberg interviews Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, a journalist who has lived in Israel since 1991. Dr. DeYoung gives insight from his unique perspective on the events in the Middle East since that time.( This material is compiled from a number of interviews conducted since 1991.)

Why is Israel so important in the world and in biblical prophecy?

Dr. John Ankerberg: A lot of people, Jimmy, are wondering why, when we talk about biblical prophecy and world events, we would even focus on the land of Israel. You are right there in Jerusalem. What is the connection between biblical prophecy, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and why are we starting with the nation of Israel?
Dr. Jimmy DeYoung: Well, Israel is God’s timepiece, and we can understand exactly where God is in His prophetic scenario that is laid out for us in the Word of God by simply looking at Israel. The key to understanding all of prophecy is found in the Book of Daniel, Chapter 9 and verse 24, where He said, in effect, “I have a special plan for a special people in a special place.” Those special people were Jewish people; that special place is the city of Jerusalem. As you focus on those two entities, the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish people, you will understand what God is doing and uniquely in this time in which we’re living, God, who said He had a plan for Israel, is starting to bring that into fulfillment.
You know, I see in Ezekiel 37, John, that when He gave us the story of the valley of drybones and then He explains what He was talking about when He was saying the bones are going to come together; the bones will have flesh upon them and then these flesh-covered bones will be filled with the breath of life. And He said, now, if you want to know what I’m talking about, the next verse, He said, “Those bones are the whole house of Israel.” They’ll be gath­ered. And out of 108 nations of the world, they have been gathered.
Since I’ve lived in Jerusalem as my full-time residency since 1991, we’ve seen 750,000 Soviet Jews immigrate, make hegira, to the land of Israel. Jeremiah 16, Jeremiah 23, Jeremiah 31, Zechariah 2 all said at the time of the end—we’ll not talk about the exodus out of Egypt anymore, but instead we’ll talk about the exodus out of the North, and that’s when I’m gathering nations from all nations of the world.
Let me just tell one little story. May 24, 1991, as a journalist living in Jerusalem, I would monitor other news gathering organizations. That afternoon I was listening to the BBC. As I was listening, I heard somebody give a report about “Operation Solomon.” I wasn’t exactly sure what that was, but I got on the line to some of my unnamed sources, and I found out exactly, possibly at least, what it was talking about. So I made an educated guess and reported over a news network here in the United States, beating ABC, NBC, CBS, all of them by about two and a half hours. “Operation Solomon.” Forty-two aircraft took off on a Friday. Now, airplanes don’t fly in Israel on Friday. That’s sabbat, that’s the Sabbath. They took off; they flew to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Meanwhile, one of the most unbelievable logistics situations I’ve ever seen in my life— 15,000 Ethiopian Jews were making their way towards the airport. Twenty-eight aircraft in the air at one time with the greatest airlift in 24 hours that the world has ever seen—15,000 Ethiopian Jews were transported to Israel.
By the way, interesting little story. One 747 that normally carries about 500 people taking up every seat. They had 1,087 people on the airplane, and while the flight was in the air from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Ben Gurion Airport, seven babies were born in the air. But as I saw this and as my wife and I went to greet these Ethiopian Jews making their way into the country, as we were talking to them, as we were endeavoring to help to feed them because they didn’t know how to open a yogurt container or to crack a boiled egg, we were feeding them. Tears started to come in my eyes as I thought about Zephaniah 3:10 where it seems to allude at the time of the end God will reach into Ethiopia and bring His prize back to His land, back to Jerusalem. That’s what we’re seeing unfold right now in the city of Jerusalem and throughout all of Israel.

How will Jerusalem become “a cup of trembling”?

Ankerberg: God says in Zechariah 12, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.” What is this “cup of trembling” all about?
DeYoung: I believe it’s talking about that Jerusalem is going to be intoxicating. When you saw the cup and it was trembling, Proverbs, remember, it says, “Don’t go near that cup when the ingredients in the cup are moving.” I think what it’s talking about in the end times there are going to be enemies of Israel, those who want to take over and take charge of Jerusalem, which God has given to the Jewish people for His special purpose, and they are going to be intoxi­cated with power. For example, 1994, Bill Clinton came for his first visit to Israel. He came and in the Arabah they signed the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan. But then he came into Jerusalem. As a journalist I was covering this situation and Bill Clinton said he wanted to go into the old city and up onto the Temple Mount. He had never been there. Wanted to do some sightseeing. The Mayor of Jerusalem, Eherd Olmert, said, “I’ll be happy to take you up there.”
When he said that, Yasser Arafat said, “You will not take him up there! Nobody will take him up there!” They locked every single gate to the Temple Mount. They put armed Palestinian guards behind them. And Yasser Arafat made the statement, “Nobody goes on the Temple Mount un­less I take them up there and do the tour with them.” Well, this man has become intoxicated with power controlling what is the most important spot on the face of the earth for the Jewish people.
And you know, for over 1,305 years, from 691 when that Dome of the Rock was put on the spot where the temples stood in the past, they have controlled the Temple Mount area. That’s longer than both the first and the second temple stood up there. I think the “cup of trembling” is talking about those who will be intoxicated with power as it relates to the city of Jerusalem.

How strong is the sentiment over Jerusalem among the Jews and the Palestinians?

Ankerberg: The Bible says, “It will happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away [wanting to get rid of it] will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” Well, Israel, God said, someday would become a nation, come back into the land. People would be gathered from all over the earth. That’s happened even in our lifetimes, some of us. In the wars they have now recaptured their holy places right on the Temple Mount, Jerusalem itself; but the very point of that city being in existence and in the nation of Israel’s hands is a sticking point.
Let me just read a few statements and, Jimmy, I’d like you to go further with us. A lady that was dating Peter Jennings at ABC News. She’s the official member of the Palestinian team. I think we’ve all seen her on television in some of the reports, Hanan Ashrawi. She’s been negoti­ating with Israel on behalf of the PLO. Very educated, very sophisticated lady. This is the state­ment she made about the city of Jerusalem and how important it is to the Palestinian Arabs. She said, “Jerusalem is an indivisible part of the occupied territories. It’s a fundamental issue. It is the heart of occupied Palestine. It is the heart of the Arab world. It is the heart of the Islamic world, and no person, no group or Palestinian leadership can relinquish it. We see Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian State and reject any attempts at defining its future in advance. Arab Jerusalem remains the Jerusalem of the Arabs, the Jerusalem of Palestine. It’s the essence and the beating heart of Palestine.”
The Islamic Mufti of Jerusalem said this: “I am one of the holy warriors for Jerusalem. Jerusa­lem is a part of our religion. It is a part of the religion of every Muslim. We consider ourselves holy warriors for this city and we will not abandon it.” On the other side, before Rabin died, at the Oslo Accord, even though he put it on the table as a point to be negotiated the city of Jerusalem in the future, in doing so, he issued this statement: “Jerusalem is the ancient and eternal capital of the Jewish people,” and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs right now has on the Internet this statement: “An undivided Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty with religious freedom for all is and remains a fundamental Israeli position.” It won’t be changed.
Well, now, we’ve got two people that say we’re agreed we’re going to negotiate it. Both won’t let it go. What’s going to happen, Jimmy?
DeYoung: It’s going to be an unbelievable conflict. The Word of God talks about it, that indeed there is going to be a gathering of the nations of the world around the city of Jerusalem, Zechariah 14, and that’s going to be an unbelievable time. Let me make a statement, though, as to the validity of both the statements that you’ve just read. Number one, I was at the celebration when they kicked off the three thousandth anniversary of the city of Jerusalem being named not only the political capital but the spiritual capital of the Jewish people. And that was in October 1995. Yitzhak Rabin made the statement you just quoted that Jerusalem is the eternal capital. And basically what he was doing was quoting David Ben Gurion who said that as well when the nation was established in 1948. But there is biblical undergirding for that statement. You go back to 2 Samuel 5, you’ll see that King David moving from Hebron came to Jerusalem, was estab­lished as the king of all the Jewish people, and he needed at that point in time a capital city. He chose the Jebuzite stronghold, the city of Jerusalem, and he established it. That’s over 3,000 years ago that happened.
On the other side of the coin, we hear the Palestinian leadership saying Jerusalem is going to be their capital for the Palestinian State and they say that it is very important. The Mufti said, “It is very important as far as our religiosity is concerned.” It’s the third most important city or most sacred city as far as the Muslims are concerned. Mecca, Medina and then Jerusalem.
But let me tell you this, the Qur’an, the holy book for the Muslim people, never, ever mentions the city of Jerusalem. Never, ever says a word about Muhammad coming to the city of Jerusa­lem. And never, ever in the history of the city of Jerusalem was it ever a capital of the Muslim world in any way, shape or form. Within the last 150 years, political decisions have moved these people to saying this is an important city as far as our religion and as far as our existence is concerned.
The end result is going to be an unbelievable war over who has the sovereignty of the city of Jerusalem. I have read all of the book. I know Psalm 132 where God says, “I have chosen Jerusalem. It will be my resting place. I will abide there forever with my people.” I think God has the last word.
John, in December of 1995 the United Nations had a resolution come to the floor to vote on and the basic element of the resolution was that Israel has absolutely no jurisdiction over the city of Jerusalem. There was only one nation that voted against that resolution, and, of course, that was Israel. Even the United States of America abstained in light of the fact that the U.S. House of Representatives, the United States Senate had voted that the embassy of the nation of the United States would be moved from Tel Aviv into Jerusalem by law by the year 1999. But it’s a controversy. And when you’re talking about the Third World, you’ve got to realize, I mean, within one week we had the President of France, we had the Prime Minister of Russia, we had the head of the European Union all come to Jerusalem and say why they felt they must have a say in the final status on the city of Jerusalem.

Why did a tunnel near the Temple Mount spark such controversy?

Ankerberg: I’d like to talk about is an event that happened when Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, opened up a tunnel close to the Temple Mount and the world over there actually erupted. I heard over a thousand people were injured and went to the hospital. There were about 78 people who died. Then Israel finally called tanks out into some of the cities, the first time since the last war. Now, when that event happened, how close to war did we get?
DeYoung: Let me say, first of all, it was a war. Seventy-eight people were killed—15 Israelis and 63 Palestinians were killed. The tanks were aimed at the people. They were up in the Gali­lee. These people were at war. People were getting killed. Now, it happened to be a mini-war, and praise the Lord for that. It could have broken wide open and the entire Middle East could have been at war.
But let me go back to the tunnel. Basically, the tunnel was a non-issue. I happened to have been in the tunnel in question the day all of this broke out. I had opportunity to go through the tunnel. You see, about two-thirds of this tunnel had been open since 1984. I went there when I was covering the elections in ‘84. I went through the tunnel before they had all the barriers set up and everything. And then in 1991, I did a television documentary from the tunnel. 1996 in
September, when this tunnel was opened up the rest of the way—in other words, the last one-third of the tunnel was basically a tunnel that had been there for 2,200 years. It was built by the Hasmoneans. It was a water tunnel. They did not take one shovel worth of dirt out of that new section that was opened up. So they didn’t dig a tunnel. They didn’t open up a tunnel. They were just simply allowing people to go through that portion that had been there for 2,200 years. All they did was put an exit door at the end of the tunnel which actually went into the Arab quar­ter and was going to enhance the economy of the Arab quarter because now tourists were going to be going out, and they figure something like 750,000 to a million tourists a year would be walking by the merchants in the Arab quarter.
The situation was that back in January under Shimon Peres when he was Prime Minister, the Israeli government made a deal with the Palestinians. The Palestinians wanted to expand their prayer space at Al Aqsa Mosque. Now, just imagine in your eye if you were looking straight ahead at an imaginary wall. That’s the Western Wall. Look up to your right. That would be the silver domed building. That’s the Al Aqsa Mosque. The gold-domed building, the Dome of the Rock, and the entrance to the tunnel to your left. The tunnel went the opposite direction from the Al Aqsa Mosque. They weren’t going near the Al Aqsa Mosque. They were not going near any Muslim archaeological remains at all. They had made an arrangement that you could, under Solomon’s stables basically, under Al Aqsa Mosque, they could put a prayer center for the Muslim people because they needed more space for prayer. What was actually taking place was that they were simply opening up a tourist attraction for the Israeli people, for the Christian people, for the Muslim people. All were invited to come there.
I went through that day with Dan Bahat, who is the archaeologist in charge of the entire operation. I said, “Dan, are we endangering any building at all? Forget Muslim artifacts; forget Israeli archaeological remains. Are we endangering anything?” He said, “Absolutely not.” He said, “I respect the Muslim archaeology as well as I do the Israeli archaeology.” This was a non-issue.
Three weeks before, Yasser Arafat tried to call the Palestinian people to a big demonstration on the Temple Mount. He wanted the Temple Mount flooded with people. They had 15,000 people show up. That’s a drop in the bucket. I’ve been on the Western Wall reporting news from that spot when they had upwards of 200,000 people on the Temple Mount there worshipping in the Muslim worship service. So it didn’t work. It did not come together for him. He needed an event. When Netanyahu returned from a European trip at the time all this took place, he said, “Whatever I would have done, Yasser Arafat would have used that to launch what he did.” And, in fact, he came out of a meeting in Gaza meeting with his cabinet and he told them, “We will accelerate this thing. This is the issue we’ve been looking for.”
Ankerberg: One of the scariest things in doing the research for this program was to realize the police force that the Palestinian Arabs now have, the size of that, what Israel did in arming them, and what happened during this incident? Speak to all of that.
DeYoung: The Oslo Accords set up a police force for the Palestinian people. And to be exactly that; simply a police force with small arms on their side. That’s all they were supposed to do. They were allowed by the Oslo Accords to have 9,000 members in this police force. As I speak, there are over 50,000 people involved in the Palestinian police force which has become a military might. Those Israelis were killed by their own weapons and by that I mean, the Israeli government under Shimon Perez gave the weapons, the long rifles, to these Palestinian police. They turned on the people of Israel with the weapons that Israel had graciously given to them to police their own people.

Who are the Palestinians?

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?
DeYoung: Well, the word Palestinian comes from the use of the location, the geographical location, called Palestine. Palestine is not a biblical word. The book of Matthew chapter 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 A.D. 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, a Scofield King James Bible, and it has a map in the back where 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, 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 A.D. 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 el­Husseini 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.

How big a threat is Arafat to Israel and the rest of the world?

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.

What role does Palestine play in worldwide terrorism?

Ankerberg: Mubarak of Egypt said, “If Arafat is not successful in negotiating with Israel, the Palestinians will not sit with folded arms. Violence may start, not only against the Israelis, but against those who support the Israelis.” What are we talking about there?
DeYoung: We’re talking about terrorism worldwide. That’s what they have guaranteed. You see, part of the Palestinian operation would be Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah, three of the most notorious terrorist organizations in the world; Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and then in Israel proper you have Islamic Jihad and Hamas. They are a part of the PLO, Palestinian Liberation Organization. That’s a conglomerate of Palestinian terrorist organizations of the past, although Yasser Arafat, who happens to be the chairman of the PLO, has supposedly become a statesman instead of the greatest world’s best-known terrorist.
Anyway, as they have moved to a position where they are now endeavoring to take back to Jerusalem to establish a state in the land of Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and to annihilate the Jewish people, it is, in my opinion, a fulfillment of two very interesting prophecies. Ezekiel 35 and the Book of Obadiah talks about in the last days there will be a people that will rise up with the desire of taking the land of Israel. Ezekiel 36:5 says, when that happens, these people with despiteful minds and joyful hearts will go in to try to take the land that God gave the Jewish people, take it away from them, and get rid of a Jewish presence in the Middle East. Now, whether you want to say that’s the Palestinians or not, whoever that prophecy is talking about have to arise in the last day and try to destroy the Jewish nation in the land of Israel.

What are some of the major terrorist groups in the world?

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 politick 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 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.

How is Israel learning to cope with continual terrorism?

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 [2002] 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.

What really happened in Jenin?

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 F16’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 F16’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–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 harms 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.

What makes Bethlehem such a political hot spot?

Ankerberg: Bethlehem has become one hot-spot politically. Jimmy, you live in Jerusalem. You’ve been traveling down to Bethlehem. I’ve been there myself, and boy, things have changed. Tell us, what’s been happening in Bethlehem?
DeYoung: Well, before I say that, you know, we have a unique place that we live in Jerusalem. We’re right on the edge of Jerusalem adjacent to Bethlehem. I can look out my living room window, see Bethlehem; out my bedroom window, see the Mount of Olives. A neat place to live. And, indeed, my wife and I would go over to Bethlehem and purchase fruit and we needed some fruit because they have some delicious fruit from the valley of Jericho area. Bethlehem has become an unbelievable hot spot.
Christmas of 1995, Yasser Arafat came to Bethlehem because they had just given—the Israeli government—had just given the responsibility of administering and managing Bethlehem back to the Palestinian people. At the southern border of Jerusalem there is Bethlehem. Yasser Arafat stood there on Christmas Eve 1995, a big banner behind him in Arabic that said: “Jesus was the first Palestinian.” And he made a statement at that meeting, “We’re here in Bethlehem this year to celebrate Christmas; next year in Jerusalem.” Well, they have, of course, an unbe­lievable gathering on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem. Choirs from all over the world. There’s a telecast goes worldwide to that unique little spot of Bethlehem. And I happened to have an opportunity to have a meeting with Mayor Frige who was the Mayor of Bethlehem and he said that he happens to be a christian Arab. Now, when I say christian Arab I mean “little c” christian, not “big C” Christian. If he’s not a Muslim or a Jew, he would be a christian. Bethlehem used to be as we say a christian Arab city. Eighty-five percent Christian in population; 15 percent Mus­lim. The mayor told me in our last meeting together, that has completely reversed. It’s now 85 percent Muslim; 15 percent christian. And indeed, I have talked to the Christian community in Bethlehem who say that they are either being run out of town or persecuted as they stay there. Merchants in the area…in fact, scribbled on the wall in Bethlehem not along ago was the sign, “We’re taking care of the Saturday people, the Jewish people. Next will be the Sunday people, the Christians.”

What really happened in the Church of the Nativity?

Ankerberg: How did the Palestinian Arabs that went into the Church of the Nativity leave the church? 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 A.D. 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. It was just…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’redoing! 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.

Will a Palestinian State help Israel?

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 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.

Will the PLO change their charter, dropping the mandate to eradicate Israel?

Ankerberg: Henry Kissinger in his weekly syndicated column in the New York Post has joined a growing list of prominent Americans and Israelis who have publicly now called on the PLO to change 30 of the 33 clauses in the PLO National Covenant that called for the destruc­tion of Israel or that urge violence against Israel. Now, Kissinger is simply saying this, and I’m going to quote him: “Dropping from the PLO charter the mandate to eradicate Israel is symboli­cally important, which is the reason why the PLO’s delay in carrying out this commitment is so disquieting.” Actually, in 1993 they told the world they were going to change the charter; they haven’t done it yet. Kissinger says, “No such changes have been made nor has the PLO speci­fied which particular articles will be changed or when they will go into effect. By leaving the covenant intact [the PLO charter] the PLO is sending a clear message that it has not renounced violence nor accepted Israel’s right to exist.” Jimmy, what is going on with the PLO? Why haven’t they changed the charter? Do you think they intend to?
DeYoung: I don’t believe they intend to. The reason they have not changed it, that is still their goal—to eliminate the Jewish presence in the Middle East through armed struggle. Right here in my file I have a copy of the Palestinian Covenant, and in my file also in my office I have a copy of a letter that Yasser Arafat sent the first week of September in 1993 promising Yitzhak Rabin, 1.) he would denounce terrorism; 2.) he would do everything he could to get rid of terrorism in the Middle East and in particular Israel, and 3.) he would change the Palestinian Covenant taking out those clauses in question. In this last year, they have had a meeting of the PNC, the Palestinian National Council. The purpose was, propagated to the world anyway, that they were going to come together and change the Palestinian Covenant. At the conclusion of that meeting, Shimon Peres, who was the Prime Minister, announced to the world the most historic event in the last 100 years had taken place because the Palestinians had changed the Palestinian Covenant. President Bill Clinton, based upon that statement, invited Yasser Arafat to Washing­ton, DC to be his special guest in the White House. This man who is the world’s best-known terrorist, responsible for more Jewish blood on his hands than any other man since Adolf Hitler, responsible for over 1,000 Palestinian deaths, those deaths coming at his command, this man was a guest of the President of the United States propagating to the world that they had changed the covenant. And as I speak, and as Henry Kissinger gives us evidence, that Palestin­ian Covenant has not been changed because their intentions are still the same: they want to wipe out the Jewish presence in the Middle East.

Is the secular media perpetuating myths about Israel?

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, 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.

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