Israel vs. Palestine: A Very Short Introduction to the Problem

Israel vs. Palestine: A Very Short Introduction to the Problem March 28, 2015

Screenshot 2015-03-28 15.26.10Last week I posted on this Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the plight of Palestinian Christians who are persecuted at the hands of the Israelis. There’s been a lot of good discussion (and some not so good) on both that and an old post I’ve written on pro-Israel theology and why it’s biblically flawed.

While the conflict between the two sides is complex, it’s apparent in a lot of discussion that there’s often a lack of awareness of the global overview of the situation. And, I get it- many of us grow up with a false narrative about Israel and that’s all we know. It’s one of those classic situations where “it’s not our fault, but it is our problem.” There’s also a pro-Palestinian side to the debate that’s equally as unreasonable as the pro-Israel crowd, which further complicates our ability to discuss the topic in a reasonable way. My hope is that we can continue talking about this issue, and be honest about the brutal oppression Palestinians face at the hands of Israelis- who are often in violation of international law- without conversations spiraling into a cesspool of hatred.

I think many will benefit from reviewing the basic history of the conflict. While no short video will ever do justice to the complexity of the situation, I found this one to be a good historical overview (albeit simple) of the conflict between the two sides. I’d invite you to give it a watch:

If you find this topic interesting, there’s a few more I recommend:

– My highest recommendation is the documentary, With God On Our Side. You can see that here. This documentary is a “must watch” and I hope you’ll take the hour and a half to see it. This documentary further explores some of the errant and harmful pro-Israel theology and the plight of Palestinians.

– And here’s a good one on the violence often faced by Palestinian children, though some images on this one may be disturbing and viewer discretion is advised.

Later next week I’ll have an interview on That God Show with a Christian missionary who has lived in Palestine for the past decade, and we’ll talk about her first hand experiences living and serving alongside the Christians and Muslims who encompass the Palestinian people as we continue some blog discussion on this controversial, but timely and important topic. In the meantime, take some downtime this weekend and check out some of the documentaries above.


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Deidre Meese

    What about the outside pressure from the surrounding countries? Isreal has to have borders it can defend. It’s not that they are only land grabbers…there’s strategy to their borders.

  • Herm

    Deidre, 3,000,000 have been subjugated in the name of God as an imperialistic strategy under the exact same excuse the USSR subjugated all the satellite nations they did, to have borders they could defend. The Christian evangelicals are not only supporting the spirit of that subjugation but are funding it. We as a nation triumphed in our effort to tear down the Berlin Wall and are major contributors to the Palestinian Wall erected by Jews separating Palestinians from Palestinians just like Germans from Germans. Is this a dictate of the Lord Jesus you know or you would like the world to know this Jesus? How might those who do not know Jesus in their hearts and minds, like the Jewish or the Muslims, not see the similarity between Stalin’s army and God’s army?

  • otrotierra

    Jesus is more interesting than the earthly lust for oppressive, militarized borders. And since one cannot serve two masters…

  • Herm

    Ben, I viewed the first two videos and I am truly confounded. Where have the evangelicals gone? John Hagee is a pompous fool with a charismatic voice. The following link is to his ministry for any who would like to see for themselves:

    http://www.jhm.org/Home/About/WhySupportIsrael

    He is constantly alluding to Genesis 12:1-3 as his leading scripture for supporting the nation of Israel as the Jewish Nation against all other nations. Right there, in that very scripture, it says, “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Hagee and the government of Israel are destroying Palestinian families in the name of Abraham and God.

    Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3 (NRSV)

    Even little old I can refute authoritatively how wrong Hagee and his thousands of evangelical followers are in their interpretations of all the scriptures they cite to support the atrocities perpetrated by the Jewish Nation today.

    As a Christian I naturally know that through Abraham and Sarah we can track the lineage all the way to culminating in Jesus. Until Jesus the Jewish people were chosen to protect the Covenant and its Arc. The Arc was kept in the Holy of Holies until the curtain was torn exactly at the time Jesus died on the cross. This is easily gleaned from the Bible Hagee refers to for all his supporting arguments if he weren’t so blind. Hagee wants to establish the borders of Israel back to their original dimensions to hurry Jesus’ return to Earth. He is arrogantly insane, ignorant and totally blind to the fact Jesus is here and rules all who have the heart and mind to know Him. Jesus blesses all the families of the Earth and Hagee does not.

    I’m overwhelmingly, empathetically and compassionately pissed because of all the families suffering from what they and the rest of the world see as Christian sponsorship. How do we people get ourselves so far removed from the true Spirit of God and Lordship of Christ?

    I am in a deeply anguished prayer right now with God, searching for either what I can do or how I can withstand this grief to be useful later. I hope there are more like me because Christianity has been usurped! I hope there are some close who can give me some hope for the disciples, the church and lost of Christ.

    Love you! Thanks for letting me know how much I care! This is no joke I am shaking and crying!!!

  • Michael Newman

    Ben, these are great resources and to be seen. I have aways had a disconnect between blindly being for Israel and the Nation of Israel, things that I have always put in two very separate buckets. For me it started on one of my trips in Jordan when I met some Palestinian friends who challenged my thinking at the time as they were Christians and were displaced. This began what has since been many years of intellectual and spiritual struggle and questioning. Thanks for the post.

  • otrotierra

    Thank you Herm for your unapologetic devotion to Jesus and the Greatest Commandment. Prioritizing Jesus is terribly offensive to the ways of the world and the ways of men, especially when they arrive in the form of Zionist terrorism and deadly occupation.

  • otrotierra

    Thank you Benjamin. Excellent resources that should be required viewing & reading for every U.S. evangelical. Palm Sunday is a great time to come to Jesus and the truth.

  • Herm

    When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.” Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. Genesis 17:1-6 (NRSV)

    Two of those nations spawned from Abram/Abraham were the Jewish and the Samaritans. The Samaritans today are known as Palestinians. Who is your neighbor that you love as yourself the priest, the Levite or the Samaritan? Which one of the three is said by Jesus to be merciful? Which one of the three by their actions would most likely in everything do to others as they would have others do to them?

  • Herm

    Thank you otrotierra, I am more composed now. The grace of shock has set in, the peace is more but the joy is numb. People can call me all they want but the spirit of empirical Muslim, Christian and/or Jewish subjugation is not the Spirit of God I know in my heart and mind. When I was growing up only as a child of Man I thought every Christian I was raised with knew better than this. The more I grow into my childhood as God’s I’m finding too many of those very Christians I knew and loved as anti-Christs. I’m sane enough to know just how inflammatory that last sentence is and still I cannot deny its truth. I’m certain John Hagee is worse and much more destructive than any Christian I knew as a carnal child. In my time on Earth we’ve gone from the inclusive love of Billy Graham to the exclusive hate of Franklin Graham. I guess the time has come where the sword of my mouth is called to be wielded.

    I love you, which you make especially easy since you’ve been a good supportive friend. Thank you! Happy Easter!

  • imokyrok

    It seems almost miraculous to me that Americans are finally starting to see beyond the propaganda they have been exposed to in their media all through the decades. Thank goodness for the internet.

  • Janice Brantner

    Herm, I love your compassionate heart. I also feel deep sadness for any injustice being done, not only to the Palestinians but also to the Jews who were forcibly removed from their homes in Gaza so there could be peace, the Jews who had rockets fired at them for years from Gaza, Jews who have been killed or injured by having rocks thrown at their cars and so on. Do you know that the Palestinian Authority through their media continually incites hatred and violence to innocent Jews and pays out $12,000,000 every month to terrorists in prison or released from prison and calls them heroes? It certainly is a big mess there and I do not defend any atrocities committed by Jews but the Palestinians are not blameless either. There are 300,000 Jews living in Samaria and Judea and six times that many Palestinians living in Israel. The Jewish communities in the West Bank provide employment for many Palestinians. It is a very complicated situation, as I’m sure you know.

  • Jerry Lynch

    Totally clueless this issue was so one-sided–in the opposite direction. After what happened to them during WWII, and that Israel was their ancestral home, I guess I turned a deaf ear to any criticism for half a Century. And my next door neighbor growing up had been in the camps, a man I greatly admired. But those videos did the trick. Mr. Winkle has finally awakened. Yet this is a hard sell to the vast majority of Christians and Americans: Muslims are on the other side of the equation and the Palestinians are getting support from terrorists organization. Plus for Christians today, who in the past freely persecuted Jews, the link with Israel seems biblically sanctified and inviolable, the End Times being just around the corner. Then we have the precedent of the Canaanites; messy business that though not to be overlooked in a worry about the Palestinians. The Chosen People and the Promised Land, so tread lightly.

  • And I appreciate your heart for Israel, which I share. However, your support of them is leading you to ignore reality: the oppressed has become the oppressor. We can live them without pretending they are not in gross violation of international law and without pretending that they are violently oppressing the Palestinians.- both Christians and Muslims. Just this past week illegal Israeli settlers bashed a young Palestinian girl’s head with rocks while on her way home. We can love them and still call their behavior what it is: illegal and evil.

    It’s hard to let go of the old narrative- I know, it was hard for me. But truth is more important than blind support.

  • I’m so glad you watched them- I wish everyone would. The violent injustice the Palestinians are suffering at the hand of Israel must be dealt with.

  • Rissa

    My God, the one about the children. Firing tear gas at the school. “He was nine years old when he was first arrested.” It’s obscene.

  • Janice Brantner

    Anyone harming someone is doing evil. I don’t support that. It’s just that you seem to be saying all the wrong is on the side of Israel and I see so much wrong on the other side as well. Some Israelis are harming Palestinians and some Palestinians are harming Israelis. I honestly don’t know which side is doing more harm.

  • Brandon Roberts

    i feel bad for the jewish people after all they’ve been through and do think they have a right to their own land to live but i cannot support what isreals goverment is doing yes the persecution the jews have been through is terrible but violating the palestinians human rights isn’t the way to fix things thank you for the educational article ben

  • Matthew

    Good point Janice. Both sides are doing some things which are not in line with justice, equality, peace, etc. Both sides represent broken people living in a broken world making broken decisions with limited information and lots of force fed propaganda. It´s a very difficult and complicated situation to assess — particularly when one is attempting to be a centrist.

    I absolutely see Benjamin´s point(s), but I also see some of the points some pro-Israel people make as well — and the Christian theology aspect of all this gets even crazier as the normally pro-Israel dispensationalists battle it out with the covenant theologians. It seems like the madness will never end.

    Lord have mercy.

  • Janice Brantner

    Yes, there is a lot of propaganda on both sides. If you listen to only one side you will not get the whole truth. For instance, when you hear “more than 100 Jewish settlements” you don’t hear that most of them are long time Jewish communities that are not illegal at all. And whether the newer ones are illegal or not is widely debated. There are two different legal opinions on that. But the main thing is as you say people on both sides are doing things which are not in line with justice and peace and I do agree that anyone who supports Israel no matter what they do is making a mistake.

  • Herm

    Janice, before compassion can be effective we have to be empathetic to all affected sides, including our own. Then we will have a more constructive idea of how to apply our available choices.

    What would I do if I were Palestinian, Jewish, a citizen of the USA, John Hagee or Jesus Christ? Since I have a continual Instructor on such matters, leading my compassionate heart and mind, I raised my hand and asked. This is the answer. In everything do to all others as you would want all others to do to you. In everything lead from the least of these by example and never do as those who persecute you, yours, ours or Mine.

    Mankind loses every time we choose to fight the “War on Terror” with “Shock and Awe”. WE lose every time when we worship and kill for a creator god who does not love, good and evil, all They created.

    The Palestinians, Samaritans, have equal biblical rights to every bit of the land granted Abram for they are, also, children of Abraham. The Arabs relocated by the United Nations in recompense for the Holocaust were both settled and nomadic relatives of the “Good Samaritan”. How would you feel when the world government takes your rooted family home of 40 generations justified under a world law of eminent domain?

    That is the least of my pent up wrath that I as a human being am responsible to how it will be released. John Hagee has set himself up as the perfect model of a Christian Pharisee. He is misrepresenting the love of God equally as did the sources of educated authority that had to be for Jesus to be crucified. NO WAY does Jesus authorize His name to be used to finance and facilitate the literal slow, painful, and certain genocide and/or displacement of any families on this Earth much less children of Abraham by children of Abraham (blood and/or adopted). Just as the Pharisees of old so misrepresented scripture without direction from God so as not to recognize God in their midst, John Hagee is exclusively trying to set up a scenario to bring the Christ he does not know back early to the land he thinks Jesus wants to return to. He is intentionally facilitating and encouraging the sacrifice of some of Abraham’s children to get back all lands for the children of Judaism as were given to Abram by the Lord God. This is now sibling rivalry to the death precipitated by children who do not know the Father.

    Janice, I appreciate your respect for my compassion, thank you. I appreciate your empathy for the Jewish plight. You show me a heart and mind easy to love.

    The solution is easy but the results we both desire cannot be instant. The results Jesus and our Father want They have had eons of patience to yet realize but They will not give up. Jesus is the Prince of Peace with full authority over Heaven and Earth right now. We have to speak up and call the destructive fraud of usurping of God’s authority in God’s name just what it is, just like Jesus did, all the way to the cross if need be. What good is a world where you can’t be guaranteed a home for your family or their family? Only the Father promises such an eternal guarantee as possible. We must wield the swords sheathed in our mouths as students of Jesus. We must love our enemy with real empathy and compassion Christ like!

    Love you and thanks, again, for the encouragement and sharing what you know to be true!

  • Herm

    Jerry, in our world today from a perspective filtered behind the biggest war machine the others are the terrorists creating terror to subjugate us to their will. From the side of the otherwise impotent fighting against being subjugated the biggest war machine is the actual terrorist. “Shock and Awe” to once and for all win the “War on Terror”?

    Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. Luke 14:31-33 (NRSV)

    Good morning! It is nice to see you’ve finally wakened. It is a good day to speak out our love for those we mourn. Love you!

  • But that’s just more propaganda, Janice. The United Nations has declared the settlements illegal. They literally kick people off their land, empty their houses, bulldoze their crops– and it’s illegal. The only debate on the legality is between the people breaking the law and the international community.

  • Janice Brantner

    All Jews were ethnically cleansed from the West Bank in 1948, until they began going back to reclaim their lives in 1967. There is so much hurt on both sides. The only thing I know for sure is all mistreatment of others on both sides is wrong.

  • Janice Brantner

    Jerry, the issue is not so one-sided actually. These videos only show the Palestinian side of the problems of violence in the West Bank. Their side is certainly valid. Nothing justifies the abuse the people are receiving from Jews and from Israeli military. But behind that story is all the violence done to Jews including attacks on the military when they have not retaliated and the extreme frustration of the authorities to maintain order. In their frustration they are doing things that are not right, this is true.

  • Janice Brantner

    The Internet allows us access to huge amounts of propaganda on both sides. It becomes very difficult to find out what is actually true. What we do find out is just how deep the hurt goes on both sides and how hopeless the whole situation is. It’s incredibly sad.

  • Don Lowery

    Jerry…I used to believe the BS about supporting the Israeli government because of the “end times” and too many delusional people misreading their Bibles. When Jesus prophesied against his own people when he was alive…God promised them the land…if the Hebrews actually followed Him. This didn’t happen and hasn’t happened in 2000 years. Just because a theory came out during the delusional times where many other non-orthodox beliefs of the early 19th century doesn’t make it right.

    So now…you have ill-informed people more than willing to follow bad theology for a group of people who are actually doing worse than those who persecuted them for centuries. Chosen People and Promised Land…only if the people had followed God in the first place would you be right.

  • Don Lowery

    Too bad that for too many American christians…money and power trumps justice and God’s love in too many fundamentalist/evangelical American churches

  • Paul Norton

    they do more than can be called frustration IMO. They are between a rock and a hard place. If they let them come back, they’ll out vote the jews, if they continue to be unable to get them to leave, they are racist occupiers.

  • Paul Norton

    I don’t know. Seriously. What did Jesus say;

  • Herm

    Paul good question. I can share with what was perceived by a very good researcher:

    On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:25-37 (NIV2011)

    Peace! Love your question and your care to ask.

  • Blake

    Sure they can but on a Terra Nullius somewhere not on a land that belongs to some other inhabitants. Germany should have given them a safe homeland as the Holocaust had nothing to do with the PALESTINIANS.

  • Blake

    Ancestral homeland? European Jews (Ashkenaz or Yekke which both mean “Jews of German origin”) – 90% of modern day Jewry – had never stepped foot on that land. Go read some non fiction for a change instead of falling for their really insane lies.

  • Blake

    Who went where and did/is doing what to who? Its clear who is the occupiers and oppressors of a native peoples’ land.

  • Brandon Roberts

    agreed. i really don’t see why they needed that land or why they have to mistreat the palestinians

  • Matthew

    Good point. However the Christian pro-Israel folks and I suppose some of the Jewish population see it all as a biblical mandate to take back the land — even if it means kicking people off and out. This mandate — in their view — supercedes what even the United Nations has declared as illegal. How does one deal with that? It makes a plan for peace even more difficult to carry out. It makes attempting to figure out this mess that much more mind boggling.

    I know you have written extensively about why the pro-Israel theological paradigm is flawed, but there still are other arguments out there. As always … thanks so much for your work.

  • Jock Spice

    Benjamin, you seem enamored of that animated video. I really hate to burst your bubble, but the group who produced it, Jewish Voice For Peace, is a rabidly anti-Israel organization. Their goal is not detente between Israel and Palestine, but something far more sinister. The Anti-Defamation League revealed that JVP is one of the top 10 anti-Israel groups based in the US. In a September 2010 report, the ADL noted:

    “While JVP’s activists try to portray themselves as Jewish critics of
    Israel, their ideology is nothing but a complete rejection of Israel. In
    May 2008, for example, members of JVP protested many of the
    celebrations of Israel’s 60th anniversary that took place around the
    country, essentially illustrating that they oppose Israel’s very
    existence.”

  • Imago Dei

    wow, you’ve really got your facts wrong…there were only indigenous Palestinian Jews, a minority coexisting peacefully for hundreds of years with Muslims and Christians throughout historic Palestine up until the ’48 UN partition when the European Jewish terrorist militias that migrated to Palestine during WW1 formed and started forcing Palestinians from their homes and villages. This was called the Naqba–google it. These Jewish militias–the Strern Gang, the Irgun, Lehi, the Haganah– were the original terrorists who committed terrible atrocities. Look up the bombing of the King David hotel as an example. 90% of the current population of Israel were immigrants from E. Europe that started arriving during the British colonial period then increased during and after WW2 and took over Palestine by force. There was no “West Bank” until the Jews ethnically cleansed Palestine and pushed the Palestinians into refugee camps in Gaza and what became known as the West Bank, areas now under full Israeli military occupation and absolute control. The Gaza Strip is a densely populated tiny area of land blockaded by air, land and sea by Israeli military for 8 years now, and has been bombed by Israel killing thousands of civilians every 2 years since. I too am an escapee from dispensationalist delusions and have spent the last few years educating myself on the reality on the ground in Palestine and Israel. Israel has committed terrible crimes against humanity, with impunity. The Palestinians have been suffering immeasurably under the worst conditions of oppression and apartheid imaginable. There are many excellent resources out there if you really want learn about it. An important film I just watched tonight is about the Palestinian Christians forgotten by the world and their experiences under Israeli occupation. It is really important to see. It’s called “When the Stones Cry Out” and is available on You Tube. All Western Christians need to see this to understand our brothers and sisters living there under persecution.

  • Janice Brantner

    It’s impossible for 90% of Israel to be from Europe since 20% of Israelis are Palestinian and a million Jews were expelled from Arab countries and taken in by Israel over many years in the past. When Jordan took over the West Bank in 1948 50.000 Jews were expelled. I’m pretty sure they weren’t all terrorists.

  • Janice Brantner

    Do you know that every time Israel bombed Gaza they warned all civilians to evacuate? Not that I approve of bombing, not at all. But I don’t know of any country in the world that would tolerate the thousands of rockets fired at their civilians for years and not retaliate. Do you also know that with all the massive rebuilding supplies Israel has supplied to Gaza over the years they could have improved their icing conditions but instead they used the supplies to build tunnels (using their own children as labourers) to attack Israeli civilians? Hamas lies about so many things it’s impossible to know what to believe. They accused Israel of flooding them, which was reported by international media, and was completely false.

  • Janice Brantner

    I am not saying Israel is right in everything they do. They should be criticized for human rights violations, there is no doubt about that. But if you listen only to the Palestinian side you will not get the whole truth. You have to listen to both sides and try to figure out the truth. Which is not easy given all the propaganda from both sides.

  • Jerry Lynch

    Where is the original home of the Jewish faith, its ancestral source? You also seemed to miss my reason for mentioning “ancestral homeland.” Don’t be so quick to correct someone you don’t listen to what they are actually saying. Or perhaps I was unclear?

  • Jerry Lynch

    I am not unaware of the violence perpetrated by the Palestinians; I mentioned their support from terrorists. My point was simply my ignorance as to the root of the problem: Jewish occupation and the injustices it heaps on the Palestinians, who retaliate with violence to help free themselves from the injustices.

  • Jerry Lynch

    I agree and I am truly embarrassed at my lengthy ignorance. My comment on “the chosen people and promised land tread lightly” was what those supporting the delusion will use as their argument, with the ominous footnote of how God cleared the way for the first occupation of that land.

  • Imago Dei

    Do you know that their “warning” was another bomb? Do you know that they were given only minutes to leave usually in the middle of the night? Do you know that families who left were then shelled in the street? Do you know that many homes were bombed without any warning? Do you know that evacuated families taking shelter in UN schools were also bombed during a humanitarian ceasefire no less? Do you know the Israeli military regularly assassinates civilians of Gaza including children and attacks and kills fishermen while out on their boats and routinely breaks the conditions of ceasefire? There are no rockets during these time–only Israeli savagery. Rockets? Yes those primitve homemade missiles that are fired as a sign of resistance against their occupier answered by illegal white phosphorous bombs and carpet bombs and F16 bombs and depleted uranium bombs and tanks and jets and naval gunboats. Did you know that Israel uses Gaza as a laboratory so when they sell arms to Singapore, Indonesia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia or the latest incarnation of al qaeda they can boast they were tested on people? This is not about listening to just one side. ALL we heard about was the Jewish Israeli side for 70 years through filtered media. Now we are finally listening to “the other side”. The indigenous of Palestine have been silenced and demonized by those that hold power, shamefully aided by evangelical zionists who believe their god is a real estate agent. I suggest you should start listening to the other side of the story too. And regarding the floods? Yes, the Israelis had built 3 reservoirs along the Gaza border to service their adjacent colonial settlements. The reservoirs are emptied every winter to drain to the sea. The only ‘false’ part of the news story was that flooding was done by dams.

  • Imago Dei

    and regarding tunnels, do you know that Gaza has been under a complete blockade by Israel for 8 years now? Do you know the Israel was restricting what could come into Gaza in the way of building materials, medical supplies, and even food supplies? Do you know that Israel was counting the calories of the people to just above starvation and allowing only that much food in? Do you know that the tunnels were built to smuggle in a literal underground market to bring in necessities that Israel refused them? Do you know that not a single tunnel was ever used to attack any Israeli civilians? Do you know that Israel knew about these tunnels for years? Do you know Israel used them as a pretext to invade Gaza with ground forces and to massacre civilians?

  • Imago Dei

    I should have clarified–that’s 90% of the Jewish population. It’s hotly debated whether the European Ashknazi Jews that founded Zionism and colonized Palestine in the 20th c. were of semitic ancestry at all. Here’s a good resource that breaks down Jewish immigration. http://www.ifamericansknew.org/history/demography.html

  • Imago Dei

    I’d like to see some documentation of your assertion about expulsion of Jews from the West Bank. It was the Palestinians being forced from their homes as the Israeli forces were taking more and more of Palestine after they refused the UN partition plan that transferred the majority of land to the minority of Jewish foreigners that took up residence in Palestine. You can learn more about that here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Palestinian_exodus_from_Lydda_and_Ramle

  • Imago Dei

    Here’s another important one for Christians to watch–our brothers and sisters in Palestine have been suffering in silence and under a cloak of invisibility for 70 years. We need to see them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4QS_Nc4Tpo#t=15

  • Imago Dei

    what does the “home” of a faith have to do with having any right to go and steal land away from others by force committing abominable crimes against humanity as they did? The founders of Zionism were yiddish speaking Eastern European atheists who happened to come from European Jewish cultures. Because they wear the brand name “Jewish” does that give them some kind of divine right to steal a whole country away from indigenous Semitic people who’ve lived there and practiced their faith for millennia?

  • Janice Brantner

    I do listen to both sides. There are so many partial truths and outright lies on both sides it’s practically impossible to know what is true. Any argument on either side has an equal and opposite argument on the other side. It’s just all a mess and I don’t see much hope for improvement, sadly.

  • Imago Dei

    It’s not that difficult to find the facts. There are UN reports and investigations. There are NGOs working directly in the West Bank and Gaza. There are Israeli-born journalists like Gideon Levy and Amira Hass who’ve made it their life mission to give voice to the Palestinians of the West Bank. There are Jewish human rights organizations who document events and try to represent Palestinians to Israeli courts such as B’Tselem, Yesh Din, Israelis against home demolitions, Breaking the Silence, there is renowned Israeli historian Ilan Pappe who’s written extensivley about the history of Israel, the ethnic cleansings and the occupation. To say that it’s all propaganda so why bother looking for the truth is an excuse and a cop out. People who say that are generally afraid of what they might find out and have to deal with their cognitive dissonance. Christ was always on the side of the oppressed. As his followers that’s where he’d expect us to be too.

  • Janice Brantner

    I don’t say it’s all propaganda, but there is a lot. What about the 12 million dollars the Palestinian Authority pays every month to Palestinians in prison or released from prison for killing or injuring Jews just for being Jews, is that a lie also? I absolutely agree with you that Christ was always on the side of the oppressed and we should be too. Are all the reports of violence against Jews by Palestinians false?

  • Imago Dei

    Again you make a pretty wild assertion about Palestinians in prison getting paid monthly for killing Jews–what source tells you that? Most Palestinians who are in prison are political prisoners–journalists, professors, community leaders, even elected officials, women and children. They’ve been arrested and rearrested, tortured, beaten, sometimes to death, and held in “administrative detention” without charges for years. To be sure there are Palestinians who’ve been pushed to the limit of sanity by the brutality of Israeli apartheid and occupation have lashed out and killed an Israeli, but they don;t make it to prison. They’re killed on the spot. So tell me where do you get the ludicrous notion that the PA is paying anyone for killing Jews??

    “Since the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory in 1967, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been detained under Israeli military orders in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). This number constitutes approximately 20 percent of the total Palestinian population in the oPt and as much as 40 percent of the total male Palestinian population…8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested since 2000.”
    Source: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Addameer Monthly Detention Report. As of February 1, 2015, there were 6,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centers, including 465 administrative detainees, 23 women, and 156 children.

  • Fred Bohm

    Maybe because the Arabs have started all five wars with Israel trying to exterminate the Jews. Perhaps because the Palestinians committed ethnic cleansing of Jews in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem while the area was under British rule. Maybe because the Jews have been living there for more than a thousand years before the Arabs came and conquered their land. Perhaps it has to do with the expulsion of more then 600,000 Jews from North Africa by the Arabs since the birth of Israel. If you like I can go on and on. Try reading a history book on the area before commenting.

  • Fred Bohm

    The majority of Palestinians never set foot in that land before the end of WWI. Most came from neighboring lands hoping to find a job now that the British rule the area.

  • “Try reading a history book on the area before commenting”

    — Good advice, you should give it a shot. You might also try actually talking to an actual Palestinian.

  • Fred Bohm

    I’ve read dozens of books on the subject. You obviously have not. I also have several muslim friends as I lived in Paris for twenty years.

  • I didn’t say a Muslim, I said a Palestinian. Those are not synonyms.

  • Fred Bohm

    You are right, they are not the same. However, all the Muslims I know have not taken the side of Israel in our debates. How many Israelis have you spoken to?

  • Imago Dei

    I see the hasbarafia have infiltrated to spew their fiction.

  • Fred Bohm

    You mean history and the truth rather then your phony propaganda.

  • Blake

    So you think censuses werent done? When you make claims like that substantiate them with sources. Heres two tidbits:
    In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte found only 3,000
    Jews.
    From “Chambers Encyclopedia – A universal knowledge for the People (19th century)” :
    “The Jews are all foreigners – almost exclusively inhabiting 4 holy cities Jerusalem; Hebron; Tiberias & Safed. Their whole number, in 1863, estimated at only 9000.”

  • Blake

    Your “facts” dont even sound intelligent never mind backed up by your own Israeli historians who would NEVER discredit themselves by lying.

  • Clayton Ryan

    Can’t recommend highly enough the book “The Lemon Tree” by Sandy Tolan. It’s a gripping (true) story of two actual people on either side of this struggle who struck up an unexpected friendship. You won’t find a solution tied up in a neat little bow as to which side is right or wrong (if that’s what you’re seeking you should probably reconsider your M.O. anyway), but you will find a refreshing portrayal of the struggle with a human face attached to it on both sides.

  • nabil89

    Both my grandparents became refugees after the formation of the state of israel in 1948 on Palestinian land. Thank you for writing about this Ben. Please keep speaking up about this injustice!

  • Jock Spice

    Really? Can you provide some evidence/links to back up your claims? Especially the part about the ADL putting people in prison. (Generally, it’s hard for an NGO without a police force to do that sort of thing.) Also, can you elaborate on the “scientific” disputes against “aspects of the Holocaust”?

  • Lorri Trimble

    I have traveled to Palestine and have witnessed with my own two eyes what the Israeli government has done and ARE doing to the Palestinian people. I could write a diatribe about my experiences with Israeli solider’s and their ugliness towards the U.S. and certainly the Palestinian people. For the life of me, I can not understand why the U.S. gives SO MUCH MONEY to Israel? I urge you to go visit–see for yourself. I guarantee you will have your eyes and hearts opened and you will be a changed person upon your return. Thank you, thank you Ben for writing about this issue.

  • Ben I invite you to peruse a post on my blog that you might consider adding to your list of recommendations at the end: http://kirbyhopper.com/why-christians-and-all-americans-should-support-the-palestinians-not-israel/

  • Jock this is why it’s so hard to have a reasonable conversation about this topic – anyone who supports Palestinians being equal to Israelis is considered “rabidly anti-Israel”, or more generally, anti-Semitic. Prior to 1948 the Jews and Palestinians were equal. To have equality today means either of two things: a two-state solution, or one big democracy covering all of the land with no apartheid. In order for there to be equality in the area Israel is going to have to give in somewhere but not only have they been unwilling but they have purposefully drawn out the conflict as long as possible because time is on their side while they populate Palestinians territories. These Jews are fortunate to have their own land which was stolen from other people – I would expect them to make things right and bless others even as they have been blessed themselves by the French and the US. We Americans should demand no less.

  • Peter

    Have a look at the imbalance of power

  • brassyhub

    Great film too. There are a number of excellent films on and in Israel/Palestine.

  • Brien

    That is a fable!

  • Herm

    … and who is your teacher?

  • Brien

    Silly… irrelevant… childish…!

    Now prove a god exists!!!

    (we https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60ace1ab502b078a918b9c7f23e2420f944cde8cb1bf22e263ee59448fde43f5.jpg know that these moses and abrahams and noahs are all fiction – time to grow up…!)

  • Herm

    Your ignorance does not “upset” me. Prove to me, for your sake, that your teacher is more credible than they who I know within me and I in them, please.

    Until you can conceive, beyond a shadow of doubt, that life in relationship has no beginning, and no end, then it is you who has not matured beyond physical. It is you who immaturely trolls those who dare to sense beyond the finite. Should you act in care for all others of mankind, who you know, as you would have all others care for you, you then have reason to share in the eternity of influence and awareness bound by love, who you show today you do not know. Should you continue in your competitive self-centered self-righteousness you will surely cease to be aware and influential when your elements return to this earth. If in all humility, befitting your limited awareness and influence, you choose to seek a teacher who knows beyond your finite opportunity then you will find the value of serving you seek. Love you as I would have you love me.

  • Brien

    Just prove your god exists and quit the childish nonsense…

    Your inability to understand the sciences is no excuse for this sort of stupidity…. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d27c423c4b10ffea12a262150fc33f68558cb6be32cc22d4c0ea5dbab1b33138.jpg

  • Herm

    I am a retired engineer and fully functional in physical sciences. I have a social science major that I was unable to solely apply because I was too empathetic and could not serve sufficiently objective. I am a seminarian and for the last 25 years have not served in any form of organized religion, not since I’ve been a little child with and in the relationship you call god.

    I could actually prove to you that relationship in eternal spirit exists more surely than a quark sustains your footing or the misguided inherited influence of your great-grandmother exists as your social foundation today.

    Just what do you hope to gain for yourself, your family or your animal species of mankind when the physical gets sucked whole into a roque black hole, the antithesis of the big bang?

    Just how complete is our trusted physical sciences that you can so fully discount “God” relationship in eternal spirit as a possibility?

    The “God”, within whom I am one, is far more real, sustaining, full of eternal hope, and trust worthy to the good of all of our species’ than pitifully little of all the accumulated sciences of mankind.

    How much do you know of all there is to know that gives you the credentialed audacity to teach me more than those I know sharing life without beginning?

  • Brien

    We know all about mental and psychological dependencies and delusion of religions…..
    and if you are ‘functional’ in the sciences – then you know that you have no evidence to prove the existence of a god!!
    You are dismissed….. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1255f57511860c9767a2e6628fb61c0d0f2cf37171e46561bd54733cb87ad762.jpg

  • Herm

    For you I have no evidence. I have no evidence, for you, that my grandmother had polio and of any wisdom she shared with me … or even that she even existed. But, for me, the absolute proof was in the relationship we shared and I carry on to this day.

    You fool yourself by denying relationships of others simply because they are not yours. I do not deny relationships of yours that cannot be mine. Why do you seek to deny mine?

    How does my relationship with and in God, secured forever by love, hurt you so that you seek to offend what you do not know? Have I, in any way, sought you out to offend you as you seek me out to offend me?

    What do you fear from my relationship as a child of God born of the Spirit of truth living with and in me forever? What does that have to do with you?

  • Brien

    The Lies!! The lies of gods to children!!
    Yes – you have no evidence…. believe in allahaha then or Shiva…..
    Take your lies and shove them…!
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0c58c96141b3a9e8a98b2e7233b0f96e6708ef312c8f0d65fe36ccd019682451.jpg

  • Herm

    Oh, you of little to no faith. Do you really believe that you survive founded on your or human kind’s ability to know all the necessary truths of the moment?

    I must assume you are older than eight years of age using a computer you couldn’t possibly have earned from your sole value in knowledge and skills. Why do you sound like a child surviving on the imperfect abilities and maturity of your parents all the while telling them, “faith is child abuse”.

    I know “God” as one divine family of spirit bound together in all love freely sharing each their heart, soul, strength and mind. My faith is that they/we will support one another even more surely than was I by my family of Man. My Father knows from experience gathered and tested over a period of life with no beginning. My father contracted Alzheimer’s at age 59 and became dependent on his faith that his family of love would support him for the next 12 years. Unlike you, I could not as peacefully savor this opportunity of caring influential cognition without faith that there is more than I know this moment. I am secure as a responsible adult of Man and a little child of the family of God founded on my 75 years of tried and true faith.

    I am not religious in the physical or the spirit. I hurt for you that you so religiously insist to teach others that all you know is sufficient. There is more to relationship than can only be understood from a carbon based perspective, infinitely more. … love you!

  • Brien

    ‘Faith’ is defined as a claim with no proof!!!
    ,’, no gods here!!

    How erudite!
    In other words – you got Nothing ,’, no gods here…..

    Yep, y’all jest kip etin’ them thar smart pills….

    ”ah done sayd that thar is uh gawd – so that thar’s ma pruf…”.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/944484d066464e1f9db1486fa3f12add50abbb7b78db209ecc483e6bac12545d.png

  • Herm

    What absolute proof do you have that there is no “God” including absolutely that there is no relational life before, during and after individual responsible physical influence and awareness, as in cognizant spiritual relationship separate from carbon based dependency?

    Your claim that there is no relationship other than that of finite physical relationship is based solely on your belief that you have no such relationship affecting you. Do you know, for certain, that you are fully aware of what is affecting and supporting all aspects of your life?

    If you expend any of your limited life as a member of mankind, other than to experience the present moment, you do so on faith alone, because you have no proof that you will have any awareness and influence (life) in the next moment. Why are you wasting your valuable limited awareness and influence denying my relationships that otherwise have no affect on your relationships in this moment?

    You appear to troll in the faith that you will one day prove to yourself how worthy you are to the maximum of 120 earth revolutions around its dim sun graciously allotted you?!?! … and then you die.

  • Brien

    and get what ? an opinion?
    a ‘forced opinion by their Hamas mates?

    I, too, have watched all this over 5 decades and there were times that I defended the Palestines, but they just kept continuing this 70 year war and refusing to recognise a legitimate nation!!!!