The Middle East, the War on Terrorism and the Hope for Peace in the Middle East – Program 1
|By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung; ©2002|
|What actually lead up to the Al-Aqsa Intifada? What is it like to live under constant threat of violence?|
Violence on the Temple Mount
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 cease-fire 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: Welcome. My guest today is journalist Jimmy DeYoung. Since 1991, he has been living in Jerusalem, the media hotspot of the Middle East. Over the years, he has interviewed many of the international leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, including Israel’s Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon; Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres; Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
- Now, besides being a noted news correspondent, Jimmy is also a biblical scholar with a Ph.D. I’ve asked him to come and give us a personal behind-the-scenes report of what has been taking place, but also to relate recent events to the overall picture of biblical prophecy.
- Jimmy, let me start with the Mitchell Report. This report was given to President Bush, April 30, 2001. In reading it, I found that Senator George Mitchell, Senator Warren Rudman and others believe that the current round of violence that we’re seeing right now between the Israelis and the Palestinians began with an incident on September 28, 2000, when Ariel Sharon decided to visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. I came to Israel three weeks later. You were there on the scene when this happened. Over a thousand Israeli police accompanied Ariel Sharon up to the Temple Mount. Still, after that and around it, violence broke out; 70 Israeli police were injured, four were killed; about 200 others were injured. And from that time on, the fact is, we’ve had violence that has been in the Middle East. What was going on at that time? And what is the atmosphere like in Israel right now?
- Dr. Jimmy DeYoung: Well, when you talk about that September incident in the year 2000, actually, Mart DeHaan and I were doing a television shoot—“Day of Discovery” television program—and we were on the other side of the Old City at the gate, Joppa Gate, that enters into the city. And we kept hearing these sirens, and why in the world was this all going on? We found out that the now Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon—then, really just thinking about being a candidate—had gone up onto the Temple Mount. He has a home in the Old City of Jerusalem. He believes that Israel has the sovereignty over the Temple Mount, which is the most sacred spot in all of creation as far as the Jewish people are concerned. And he said that every Jew has the right to go up onto the Temple Mount. Well, he did. He was accompanied by some security people.
- When they went up there, there was actually no incident that morning when he visited the Temple Mount. He did not go into either the Dome of the Rock or to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He did look at the destruction—they say construction but really the destruction—that’s going on. He came off the Temple Mount—no incident at all—and then there were four or five of the members of Knesset who have an Arab background who started inciting young Palestinians, and they are the ones who started throwing the stones. They had collected stones. They had collected broken bottles. They started throwing them over the western wall—down on the worshipers there at the Western Wall—and the Israeli Defense Force and the border police had to come in and shut down the violence that was taking place on the Temple Mount.
- As you look at what happened really that day, it did not provoke—I remember when I read the Mitchell Report, they said, in essence, the visit by Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount did not really incite or invoke this, what they referred to as “the Al-Aqsa Intifada,” but the response, when the rioting broke out, is what started everything.
- In reality, the Palestinian media had been putting together footage, showing it to all the Palestinian people, for three weeks prior to the incident to try to get them geared for such an event as this. And then Yasser Arafat came out of his office in Gaza; he talked to some of his underlings. He said, “This is what we needed. We will respond.” The Al-Aqsa Intifada is underway.
- Now, it’s interesting to note that the word Intifada, the Arabic word, means “a public uprising.” This whole thing was orchestrated, John, from the very beginning, with the Palestinian media using every means they had to incite the Palestinian people to respond.
- Ankerberg: Let’s throw in right there, the last time I think we were together, the United Nations released a videotape, or had a videotape, and they actually passed a resolution condemning the Palestinian Arabs for what they were showing the children. A lot of folks haven’t seen that, but the fact is that, describe the kind of things that were being shown to Palestinian children on their children’s program—the equivalent of Mickey Mouse Club and Sesame Street. What were they showing the kids? Because it goes to this thing of, why are little kids six years of age becoming suicide bombers, blowing themselves up?
- DeYoung: One of the particular productions that the Palestinian media put together was, you might remember early on in the Intifada there was a young boy that died in the arms of his father. It has come now to be revealed that,… a commission from Great Britain proved, that that was not a bullet from an Israeli Defense Force rifle but, instead, from the Palestinian police that really killed the little boy.
- Ankerberg: Do you know, by the way, that that is still in the Mitchell Report going against the Israelis?
- DeYoung: Yes. I do. And they did not do a thorough investigation on that particular incident. But what they did, then, was they took the memory of that little boy dying in his father’s arms there, when he’s caught in the crossfire, and they portrayed him as a martyr for the Palestinian cause, for the Islamic cause. They then had a production that showed him from the “seventh heaven,” inviting other children to participate in being martyrs for the cause, for the Palestinian cause. They have used that continually to try to excite the children of these families to get involved some way in the action. Of course, they have been, from the very outset of the conflict in the Middle East between the Palestinians and the Israelis—they have been using children. They send the children ahead. They send the children in front with stones. We have cameras here in this studio, and they have a viewfinder and we can see so much. But peripheral vision shows that behind that view that we see from the camera, here are the Palestinian police—who were supposed to be policing their own people but now have become a full-blown military unit—and the Israeli Defense Force firing at each other, but they send the children out throwing stones, throwing broken bottles, whatever they can, to try to give the idea to the rest of the world that, well, this is “David” trying to fight “Goliath.” David, the little Palestinian children with their stones; Goliath, of course, the Israeli Defense Force and the mighty Jewish nation who wants to destroy the Palestinian hope of having their own Palestinian state.
- Ankerberg: Alright, you live in Jerusalem. I’ve been going there for 36 years, alright? And to me, the atmosphere is changing. Describe what it’s like for your friends, for yourself. You know, sometimes I wonder, why are you staying over there, living there, when you’ve got these bombs going off? Especially when these bombs are now going off in some of our favorite restaurants, hotels, places that used to be off-bounds, we thought were safe. It seems like nothing is safe anymore on any of the main thoroughfares in Israel. What is it like when you’re living there to have that happen?
- DeYoung: John, when we are in the state of Israel, I live in the neighborhood in Jerusalem called Gilo. Now, Gilo is 250 yards across the ravine from Beit Jala where the Palestinian terrorists have set up in Arab Christian homes, some in bell towers of churches over there in Beit Jala, and have been firing armor-piercing bullets into our neighborhood, and they have been penetrating four-inch thick walls. People have been killed. Destruction has taken place. I mean, we’re right on the frontlines.
- There’s a joke in Israel, when we were leaving the country, for example, and the security people asked us where we live. I said, “Well, I live in Gilo, on the frontlines protecting the rest of the Israelis.” But, in reality, that’s where we’ve been living. And to think that they can fire any time at us. Our sons were in Israel with us. We went to a prayer meeting on a Wednesday night at the church where we worship, and we thought it was thundering and lightning outside. I said, “Now, wait a minute. This time of the year it does not even rain in Israel, much less thunder and lightning!” We stepped out, and it was the bombing that was taking place. They were firing Katyusha rockets. They were firing all types of mortars into our neighborhood of Gilo. I called my wife to see if she was alright.
- When you go to the marketplace in downtown Jerusalem where, when we first moved to Jerusalem ten years ago, that’s where we did all of our shopping. And they send a suicide bomber in there and blow themselves up and kill as many as they possibly can; Ben Yahuda Street, a pedestrian street. Nachman Kleinman is the spokesperson or has just retired as the spokesperson for El Al Airlines, and because of the tours that we do to Israel, I have a real connection with El Al. In fact, we did a television program on a 747 from El Al and got permission from Nachman. It was his daughter, the school teacher who was shot down by a roadside terrorist who shot indiscriminately at this woman—she had absolutely nothing to do with the Israeli Defense Force—and killed her.
- So, you know, it breaks your heart. And when you think about the possibility that you could get on a bus and be blown up, or you could be driving your car into downtown Jerusalem, park beside a bus, and it could blow up. Or you could go into the marketplace, or to your favorite restaurant, as you just said. And that’s how the people live constantly. I think the people in America after September the 11th have a little bit of an understanding. Now, that’s only been since September 11 of last year that they’ve had this understanding, but think about it. For 54 years—since the War of Independence in 1948—that’s how the Jewish people of Israel have been living. And they’re going to continue to live that way until they have peace or they can shut down the violence that’s taking place.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to take a break right here, and when we come back, Jimmy, I want you to talk about the PLO and Yasser Arafat. Can Israel actually negotiate with the PLO and with Yasser Arafat? And we’ll find out what he says when we come right back.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back, and we’re talking with Jimmy DeYoung, a news correspondent who actually lives in Jerusalem in Israel. And, Jimmy, the question at hand right now is, will Israel, will Ariel Sharon, do business with Arafat and the PLO? Start us off with, give me a definition of what the PLO is. How did it originate? What’s its power base?
- DeYoung: PLO stands for the Palestinian Liberation Organization, basically established in the 60’s. In 1964, Yasser Arafat, who heads up his own individual organization called Fateh, was elected chairman of the PLO. That’s why they refer to him as “Chairman” Yasser Arafat, which is his only true title, by the way. And they came together, a conglomerate of these different Palestinian organizations, for the purpose of “liberating” what they refer to as “their state,” the Palestinian state, and having Jerusalem as its capital.
- Yasser Arafat has been the head of that organization through the years. Their plan has been, in fact, their covenant—the Palestinian Covenant—calls for the demise of the state of Israel, the destruction of the Jewish state, and the pushing into the Mediterranean, or wherever they can get them, of the Jewish people. Get them out of the Middle East and have not only Gaza, Jericho, Judea and Samaria, referred to as the West Bank, as their Palestinian state, but Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Tiberius, every part of Israel should be a Palestinian state.
- And so Yasser Arafat, who heads this organization, has to play both sides of the road. To the world community, he has to be the peacemaker, the Nobel Peace Prize Winner—and that is the reason, of course, he went to Washington, D.C. in September of 1993 to sign the Oslo Accords. But when he was returning to the Middle East, he stopped over in Morocco and made a speech there in Arabic, and what Yasser Arafat says in Arabic is absolutely different than what he says in English. When he talks to the Arab street, to the Palestinian street, he is saying, “We’re going to have one million martyrs that go to Jerusalem.” When he talks to the world leaders, he said, “We want to sit and negotiate and make peace with the Jewish people, but they continue to oppress us and keep us in the occupied territories of this state from having the state and the rights that we should have as a Palestinian people.
- Ankerberg: Alright. You’ve known him. You’ve seen him interviewed on the news. You’ve been at the conferences where he has talked. You have interviewed him personally. What kind of guy is he?
- DeYoung: I sat in the palace in Jericho, there were just about five of us journalists, foreign journalists there. Gerald Kessel with CNN and myself were the two you might recognize, and a couple of other foreign journalists. We were in a small room. There was King Hussein—the late King Hussein of Jordan, and Yasser Arafat. I looked him right in the eye. I was as close as from here to you, John, from this man. And I could just see the sin, the hate for the Jewish people in his entire existence. And as I would listen to him, his philosophy that he propagated, it’s evidence of what the Bible talks about. All the way back in Genesis, 25, God made a statement to Rebekah, the mother of twin boys, Jacob and Esau. They were struggling within her womb. She said, “God, why is this happening?” He responded by saying, “There are two nations, two nations within you.” Jacob and Esau will become two different nations, and they’re going to struggle throughout all generations. Well, we know Jacob came out, had his name changed to Israel, 32nd chapter of Genesis; he becomes the Jewish people. Esau had his name, in the 36th chapter of Genesis, changed to Edom. He was sent to southern Jordan—what we know as southern Jordan today, near the Red Sea. It became Edom. He became the leader, the father of the Edomites. And I suggest to you that you can trace from the Edomites all the way to the Palestinians, and we see that struggle going on between the sons of Jacob and the sons of Esau. God told Rebekah it would go throughout all the generations. I believe that’s what we see today.
- Ankerberg: Define what a Palestinian is.
- DeYoung: A Palestinian is an individual that’s being called a Palestinian by the world, who is Arab today. But that’s not true prior to 1948. “Palestinians” were people who lived in what they refer to as Palestine. Now, that’s a misnomer as well. I mean, the word Palestine was introduced way back about 132 A.D. by Hadrian, the Roman Emperor. It should never be used. The Bible refers to that piece of geography as Israel. No place in the Bible does it call it Palestine. But Jews and Arabs living in Palestine prior to 1948 when they established a state called Israel were called Palestinians. The Jerusalem Post was the Palestinian Post, for example. So you had Palestinian Jews, Palestinian Arabs. But they’ve taken that name, now. They’ve moved ahead with it and they say, “We deserve a state. We have rights. Here’s our leader. Let’s move forward. We need to have two different states: a Jewish state and a Palestinian state in this part of the world.”
- Ankerberg: Take us through the definition of “occupied territory” and, you know, just tell it like it is. Go back to ‘48. We’re talking about people that say they have rights to the land. Alright? That they ought to be allowed to come back in the land. Take us back to ‘48. What happened? Then take us to some of the different wars—what happened? And define what “occupied territory” means, because we’re using it in the news all over the place.
- DeYoung: We sure are! And you know, the media needs to use words properly. It’s not occupied territories, it’s captured territories. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
- Going back even to 1947, the United Nations came out with a partition plan. They said that, we’ll take this piece of geography. We will allow a portion of it to be given to the Arab peoples and a portion of it to be given to the Jewish peoples. Well, the Jews agreed. “Okay, that sounds fine with us. We’re just looking for a homeland.”
- The Palestinians, the Arabs, said, “No way.” And in fact, they sent their children out. They sent their wives out, the elderly out. Most of them went across the Jordan River into what we know as modern-day Jordan. They said, “Look, you go away for about three weeks. We’re going to wipe these Jews off the face of the map, and when we get finished, you can come back in.”
- Well, they left. And of course, we know the story. The Jews won that battle, or at least that part of the War of Independence. Through the years, there have been many, many wars. I guess the main one that deals with the Palestinians and the Jews and what’s been going on would be the “Six-Day War.” There is a military strategy, as far as the Israeli government is concerned and their military might, two-pronged. Number one, you go for the jugular. They don’t like to fight so they want to get the war over quickly. And number two, you don’t fight in Israel; you fight in your attacking enemy’s geographical territory.
- So what happened? Well, in 1967 in the Six-Day War, from the north the Syrians were attacking. Where did the Israeli Defense Force fight? In the Golan Heights—at that time controlled by the Syrians. They were attacked from the south by Egypt. Where did they fight? In the Sinai Desert. They were attacked in the east by Jordan. Where did they fight? What is referred to as the West Bank—Judea and Samaria, between Jerusalem and the Jordan River. And so they pushed their attacking enemies back. They set up buffer zones. And this was not to occupy this territory, but simply to capture it and protect themselves—put up a secure border so they could have their people sustain life. That’s all that has happened!
- Now, what they have done is, they have sent families into the Golan Heights. In 1967 until today, those families that have gone in there, they’ve raised their families, built their homes, started their businesses. The same in Judea and Samaria. The same in the south. And they’ve just tried to sustain life in a secure atmosphere for the Jewish people. That’s what has been going on.
- But now the Palestinians stand up and say, “Hey, wait a minute. This is occupied territory. We had a state here.”
- No. There was never a Palestinian state. Maybe at another time we can talk more about that, but “We want our state!” What state? You never had a state.
- You know, if you’re talking about occupied territories, I think the United States, as they push Israel to come out of those occupied territories, better be consistent, because if you want to follow that philosophy to its ultimate end, we’d have to move out of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California. That is exactly what the United States did early on in their history. That’s all the Jewish people have done. And the world media needs to recognize the truth of what’s going on and quit using the term…you use the term “West Bank.” That’s a political term. It’s talking about the west bank of the Jordan River belonging to Jordan. It’s not the west side of the state of Israel. It’s the east side of the state of Israel. Occupied territories! Words have meanings, thus we have to use the proper words when we address certain issues.
- Ankerberg: Alright. For a person that has tuned in and we’re actually saying our thoughts, not just current events but what the God of the Bible has to say about where history is headed, answer the question today, “Why does God give us that information anyway?” We’re going to talk more about it, but why does God give us prophetic information?
- DeYoung: Jesus said in the Upper Room in John Chapters 13 and 14, “I tell you” —He was talking about His death, burial and resurrection— “I tell you this before it happens, so that when it does happen, you can know I am who I said I am.” And He has written prophecy so we can see His hand at work and understand His coming is close at hand–thus, we had better be prepared for that time.
- Ankerberg: That’s right. Alright, next week I hope that you’ll come back and join us because I’m going to ask Jimmy to outline what the Bible says about the Arab nations as well as Israel–what God says is going to take place up ahead. I hope you’ll join us then.