Some Tough Numbers
© September 2003 by Asher Intrater
Personally, I'm not in favor of "expelling" Arafat from Israel. Strategically I think it would just make him an international ambassador of terror. However the recent vote (September 19, 2003) in the UN was for just the opposite reasons: to demonstrate support for Arafat.
These were tough numbers: 133 against Israel, 15 abstentions, 35 absentees and 3 for Israel.
It's hard for Israel to figure out just what it is that those nations want to support. There was a certain advance on peace initiatives between Sharon and Abu Mazen. Then the PLO under Arafat, and the Jihad - Hamas coalition torpedoed the process. Arafat did so by undermining Abu Mazen; Jihad and Hamas did so by terrorist attacks.
And the UN wants to express support for Arafat.
Those numbers begin to sound like the seemingly unbelievable prophecies in Zechariah that all the nations of the world would come against Israel to battle (Zechariah 14:2).
My youngest son Amiel, age 11, sat next to me as we read the paper and said, "Why does it seem like everyone is always against us?" (We then had a brief conversation in which he noted that everything Islam seems to hate: Israelis, Americans, Evangelical Christians and Jews - we're all of them put together.)
US President Bush made a very simple and clear statement that Arafat had proven himself untrustworthy, that he has not done anything to stop the terrorism, and that he was the key person who undermined the peace talks. Bush seems to have a very strong quality of speaking honestly even when it is highly unpopular.
Here are some other tough figures: 900 million dollars!
That's the amount that the new PA treasurer Salam Fayad has uncovered in a hidden account that Arafat has under his own personal use that he has siphoned from tax money given to the Palestinian Authority from Israel. (Israel paid money to the PA for tax revenue on oil, cigarettes and alcohol.) Thank God for the good work that Fayad is doing to clean up the accounts in the PA.
Here's another tough figure: 3 million people.
That's the number of Palestinian and/or Israeli Arabs living west of the Jordan river - in other words, in the sovereign Israeli and disputed territories. The problem is - that's a big number. There is no simple solution, either on left wing politics or right wing politics. We can't make them all citizens; we can't move them all; we can't grant them full statehood; we can't fight them all the time.
Many of the simplistic "prophetic" solutions presented by my dear friends among Christian Zionists and Messianic Jews are not dealing with the reality of the present population of the Palestinians. There is a humanitarian, social, demographic, economic and logistic problem of immense complexity. We have to deal with both the long-term prophetic issues as well as the immediate humanitarian issues at the same time. While we have to fight terrorism and fight it militarily, our hearts have to be broken for the suffering of this group of 3 million people.
Here's another tough figure: 21 countries.
There are 21 Islamic/Arab nations surrounding and adjacent to Israel. Just what exactly are the claims of "colonialism" and "occupation" by Israel on this land? The talk about the return to the '67 borders ignores the fact that there was no Palestinian state in 1967. The border in Gaza was with Egypt; the border in the West Bank was with Jordan.
One last interesting figure: 400 shekels.
That's the amount of money that Abraham paid to buy the cave of Machpelah from Ephron in the area of Hebron to bury Sarah his wife. Later Abraham himself, Isaac, Rebecca, and Jacob were buried there as well. The money was counted and weighed and delivered in a legal contract of the day. The account in Genesis 23 represents the first commercial document recording ownership of this hotly disputed land.
Please continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalms 122:6), for all Israel to be saved (Romans 11:26) and for righteousness in the government of Israel (Isaiah 1:26).