Update 13 February, 2024.

It is extremely disappointing to see our Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs supporting Hamas by calling for an immediate pause and ceasefire which would allow Hamas to regroup  and re-arm and continue attacking Israel.

THE WAR MUST END IMMEDIATELY! THE US SECRETARY OF STATE HAS ALREADY POINTED OUT IT WOULD STOP TOMORROW IF HAMAS LAID DOWN THEIR ARMS AND SURRENDERED AND RELEASED ALL HOSTAGES. I HAVE NO DOUBT ISRAEL WOULD CEASE ALL FIGHTING. Then the Gazans can stay alive return to what is left of their homes and a long term solution, such as I have suggested below, could be found. Aid could flow freely, and full medical services be restored within days. If Hamas will not surrender offering a bounty to the local Palestinians for every Hamas fighter delivered to israeli forces would speed the process of stopping the war!

NEW ZEALAND SHOULD TAKE THE LEAD AND CALL FOR AN END TO THE WAR NOW.

Over 30,000 Palestinians and Israelis (all lives matter equally) dead and over 60 thousand more wounded and the intensity is increasing, The death and destruction in Gaza and Israel must stop immediately and a just long term solution to the underlying problems be found. (It should be noted that at least a third and probably close to half of the Palestinian deaths were Hamas fighters. Israel estimated there were 30,000 in Gaza on 7th October and that they have killed around 12,000.

It must be recognised that if Hamas had not invaded Israel on the 7th October all of those 30,000 people would be alive (apart from natural attrition) and living in the homes they should continue to live in a free state under my plan for the future below. The Palestinians in Gaza have been imprisoned  and held captive by Hamas since they took control in 2006. The people of Gaza need to be set free. The Palestinians in the West Bank suffer under the corrupt and incompetent leadership of the Palestinian Authority and need the opportunity for a better future. I have spoken to many Palestinians in Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jericho, Hebron, Jerusalem and other towns. No one wants to live under the PA. The Israeli settlers in the West Bank must be stopped from harrassing Palestinians immediately.

The UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY has now admitted that at least 12 of their staff were involved in the 07 October attacks on Israel. It has long been suspected that Hamas uses the UN facilities as cover for its fighters among the civilians hence the attacks by Israel. Its a win-win for Hamas and lose-lose for Israel. If Israel attacks the Hamas fighters in UN facilities some civilians will be killed and Israel will be blamed. If Israel doesn't attack Hamas they get to live another day to attack Israel.  New Zealand gives $1 million per annum to UNRWA which should be stopped immediately.  Full proof has come to light on 11 February of the Hamas headquarters under the UNRWA office in Gaza City with industrial level electricity supplied by UNWRA (and in part by New Zealand). 

My absolute frustration is in watching the death and destruction in Gaza and the calls from around the world for a ceasefire (which I support) but seemingly wanting to allow Hamas to regroup and keep attacking Israel while keeping the  Palestinians in grievance, dependancy, and poverty in Gaza. The sole reason for Hamas existence is to exterminate Israel (which I absolutely do not support). The underlying problem of the future of Palestinians must be addressed along with the ceasefire. Hamas have instigated wars in 2008, 2009, 2014, 2018, and 2023

I have suggested to my Israeli friends they should try a new form of carpet bombing of Gaza - saturate the area with leaflets informing the Palestinians that all they have to do for the bombing to cease and freedom to come is to hand over the Hamas fighters! Offer payment of say USD500 for a fighter, and USD 5,000 for a leader! I was reminded of this precedent from around 3,000 years ago in my daily reading from the Bible on 24 December found in 2 Samuel chapter 20 verses 15-22. A dissident named Sheba had rebelled against King David (2nd king of Israel) and Joab, commander of David's army, had him cornered in the town of Abel-beth-maacah. Joab started to destroy the town to get Sheba when a wise woman in the town called out to Joab, "Why are you trying to destroy this town?" Joab replied that he was seeking Sheba and told her to hand him over and the town would be spared. She did and the town was spared. The war on Hamas would finish today and the death and destruction cease if the people of Gaza handed over the Hamas fighters.

Just over 2,000 years ago on the hills near Bethlehem shepherds were looking after their sheep when 'suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them. They were terrified, but the angel re-assured them, "Don't be afraid!" he said, "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Saviour - yes the Messiah, the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognise him by this sign. You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger." Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others - the armies of heaven - praising God and saying, Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased." (Luke chapter 2 verses 8-14).

How do we please God? "If you love me keep my commandments" said Jesus as one of his last instructions before he was crucified in nearby Jerusalem. When asked by a lawyer what was the greatest commandment the aswer was" Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbour as you love yourself" (Luke chapter 10, verses 25-28).

It was the coming of this message into the world 2000 years ago that brought the opportunity for peace. It was the coming of this message to New Zealand in 1814 which over the following decade brought peace among the warring Maori tribes, replacing vengeance and hatred with forgiveness and reconciliation. 

Its time for peace

Gaza details: 41 km long and 13 km wide at its widest. Population 2.1 million.

Population in 1948 at time of Israeli nation formation - 60-80,000. Over 100,000 refugees arrived in the aftermath of the 1948 war when 5 Arab nations attacked Israel. Population  in 2.000 around 400,000. Since Hamas enslaved the Palestinians in 2006 population has exploded to its current 2.1 million hence half of the current population are children leading to the large number of childrens deaths in the bombing. 

Gaza was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1917 when it was liberated by New Zealand, Australian and British troops. It was part of the British Mandate until the 1948 war when it was taken by Egypt and lost to Israel in the 1967 war. Hamas was born in 1987 with the stated intention in its charter 'the destruction of the State of Israel' and violence for Jews everywhere.

To go back further the settlement of Gaza goes back about 4,000 years by the Canaanites and was the Egyptian administrative capital for some years. It was the place where Samson was imprisoned and met his death about 3,200 years ago! It became part of Israel during King David's reign about 1,000 years BC. It was captured by the Assyrians  around 730 BC and was part of the Roman Empire from 73 BC

The first mention of Gaza in the Bible is in Genesis 10 v 19 when Gaza is mentioned as the southern boundary of Canaanite territory. In Joshua 10 v 41 Joshua has conquered all the territory from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza about 1500 BC. In Joshua 15 v 47 land allocated to the tribe of Judah included Ashdod and Gaza and their villages as far as the Brook of Egypt (south of Gaza), and along the Mediterranean Coast.  

Stephen Greenfield - from various sources - some have slightly different dates but Israel has history in the area, 3,500 years of it!

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ISRAEL - A very long history, current events, future prospects, and lessons for New Zealand.

It is tragic to see the death and destruction taking place in Gaza and spreading to the northern and eastern borders of Israel. I visited Israel first in 1966 (prior to the 6-day war). My most recent visit was in April 2023 over Easter/Passover/Ramadan with Easter in Jerusalem and I have visited 15 times in between. I have a huge interest in history and the way nations (including our own) and empires rise and fall and I have a passion for truth, justice, and peace. My favourite all-time tour to escort in the past 53 years of tour operating was to fly to Beirut and drive to Cairo via Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel – the last time at the start of the Arab Spring in December 2010. This is ultimate history past and present with huge implications for the future. To understand the present, we must know and understand the past. If we are to find solutions to contemporary problems, we must see the big picture. It helps to understand, as all Christians, Moslems, and Jews who practice their faith do, that there is a God who created the world with design and purpose for a finite time.  We must get away from the negative attitudes of judgmentalism, and demonising and weaponising (and often monetising) one side or the other. To understand the situation in Israel currently we must take a holistic view of life which includes both the secular and spiritual dimensions. We must seek the truth, the whole truth and come to the truth with humility and recognition that no nation or person is perfect. We all have blots in our history.

I am a huge believer that all lives matter equally. “God has made of one blood all nations of the world.” “In Christ there is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female.” In the eyes of God all humans are of equal value and should be to us. Our cultures may be different and have good and bad in them but the intrinsic value of every human as a being created in the image of God is absolute. 

I totally deplore the inability of the Palestinian and Jewish authorities to come to an equitable and just solution to their problems over the past 75 years since independence. Hate breeds hate, violence breeds violence, it is only love that breeds love. Every time I am in Israel we sit on the hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee and listen to the words of Jesus “You have heard it said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” but I say unto you, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those that despitefully use you.” And again in the same Sermon on the Mount “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God,” and Paul’s message a couple of decades later to the Christians living in Rome “Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

When I am at the Shepherds Fields outside Bethlehem with my groups we think of the words of the angels announcig the birth of Jesus Christ to the shepherds "Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth  with those with whom he is pleased".

The message was qualified - how do we please God. Listen to the words of Jesus in his final statement to his disciples before his death and resurrection: "If you love me" said Jesus "keep my commandments". When Jesus was asked "What is the greatest commandment" His reply was "Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and "Love your neighbour as you love yourself".  We need much more love in the world - not hate!!

There can be no peace in the current standoff until both sides accept responsibility for their part and in humility and goodwill resolve the issue to allow Jews and Palestinians to live together in peace as descendants of Abraham. Ultra-Orthodox Jews need to go back and read the Torah; “Do not take advantage of strangers who live among you in your land. Treat them like native born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19 v 34 in the Christian Old Testament). There are factions that believe that because God gave them the land (He did) they have the right to take it back (they don't!). Redeem it and buy it back by all means.

In all the current hate (as well as rockets) being hurled from both sides and screams about war crimes I do not see any effort being made to resolve the underlying problem and bring lasting peace with justice and truth paramount. Hate speech and violence is rapidly increasing around the world and we are on the brink of a major conflagration.

Is peace possible? Absolutely!

 

ISRAEL - SUMMARY OF A VERY LONG HISTORY

 

BC

4,000. The recorded history of humanity goes back to Adam and Eve, around 6,000 years ago

2,000. The recorded history of Israel goes back to Abraham about 4,000 years ago

God made a covenant with Abraham to give him and his sons the land from the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt

He had two sons, Isaac from whom the Jews descended and Ishmael from whom the Arabs descended

1,900 Abraham’s son Jacob, and his 12 sons went to Egypt and became 12 tribes

1,500 The Jews left Egypt in the Exodus under Moses leadership and after 40 years arrived in Israel led by Joshua

The land of Israel from Dan to Beer Sheva and Gaza, including what is now Jordan was divided among the 12 tribes of Israel

1004. King David (2nd King of Israel) established Jerusalem as his capital city afer ruling in Hebron for 7 years

965 - 970.  King Solomon (3rd king) built the first temple on the Temple Mount as the centre of Jewish worship

586. King Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple, and most Jews went into exile in Babylon.

538. King Cyrus of Persia (after conquering Babylon) ordered the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple

The 2nd Temple was completed and dedicated on the Temple Mount as the centre of Jewish worship

63. Israel became part of the Roman Empire

 

AD – mid point

 

c. 0000 Jesus Christ is born in Bethlehem and founded Christianity. He lived and taught in Galilee and Jerusalem.

The Temple Mount is of significance to Christians as the place Jesus and his disciples visited often but not a place of Christian worship

c. 32. Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, rose again, met with His disciples in Jerusalem and Galilee, and went back to heaven.

66-70. The Jews rebelled against Rome who then destroyed Jerusalem including the 2nd Temple in 70 AD and the Jews were dispersed worldwide. A small remnant of Jews have always lived in Israel

73.    Massada falls.

638. Jerusalem was captured by Moslems

691. The Dome of the Rock was built

705 - 715. Construction of the first Al Aqsa Mosque, partially destroyed in an earthquake.

758. Al Aksa Mosque repaired

1033. .Al Aqsa destroyed by another earthquake  

1080?  Current smaller Al Aqsa Mosque built.

1099. Jerusalem conquered by the Crusaders. Ended in 1291. (A major blot in Christian history).

1516. Israel became part of the Ottoman Empire

1882. The first Aliyah (homecoming) brought some 25,000 Jews back to Israel. Another 400,000 came back by 1939

1917. Israel is freed from the Ottoman Empire with the help of New Zealand troops and became a British mandate

1917. Lord Balfour declared the intention of the British to establish a Jewish state while protecting the rights of others in the land.

1922. The League of Nations instructed the British authorities to facilitate an independent state including what is now Jordan

The British split what is now Jordan from greater Israel to establish an independent state on the East Bank for Palestinians

1948. David Ben Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel

Next day 6 Arab armies attacked Israel

1949. An armistice was signed creating difficult boundaries. Jordan took control of the West Bank including the Temple Mount. 1967 The six-day war. Israel gains control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem including the western wall of the Temple Mount.

Israel offered to negotiate land for peace with Jordan, Egypt, and Syria. They refused.

Israel accepted UN Resolution 242 “Land for Peace” deal. The Palestinians refused with 'Three no's' NO peace, NO negotiations, NO recognition of the Jewish State

1973. Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on Yom Kippur holiday - 6th October. They were defeated.

1979. Peace Treaty with Egypt signed

1993. Oslo Peace Accords. PLO were supposed to stop terrorism in Israel – they didn't.

1994. Peace Treaty with Jordan signed

2000. Camp David negotiations

2005. Israel withdrew from North Gaza amid much dissension from Israelis in the hope of peace. It didn't work.

2006. Hamas won the election in Gaza - that was the end of any form of democracy in Gaza

Five Gaza wars have been fought including the biggest before the current one in 2014. I was there when it started!

2020. The Abraham Accords brought hopes of peace with United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Israel, and later Morocco

2022. Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed in Jenin. Israel offers joint investigation. Mahmoud Abbas refused.

2023. War breaks out on 7th October with mass slaughter by Hamas of Jews and devastating response by Israel.

The Israelis are not blameless but there have been huge opportunities to advance the cause of peace over the past 75 years. The Palestinians have refused and we are now in this present horrendous situation of mass death and destruction. It is time for a new approach and a resolution of the underlying problem.

24 October update, 17 days since the start of the war, nearly 7,000 killed, only 4 of 212 hostages freed, a trickle of aid getting in to Gaza,  mass bombing bringing death and destruction in Gaza and spreading around the borders of Israel. Hate and violence are on the increase. It has to stop.  Israel should not invade Gaza for 2 reasons (1) the mass death and destruction that will happen. and (2) it won't work! Even if the Israelis destroy Hamas a 1000 Hamas like groups will arise in the even more embittered and angry Arab world.

30 October update. . The death toll on both sides is approaching 10,000 (all lives matter equally) and the destruction of Gaza increases. hatred against Israel increases around the world.  Houses that have been the centre of family's lives for years and should be their home in the new State are being destroyed. It has to stop. The Palestinian Authority President has been claiming this morning that the PA controils Gaza with Hamas as an integralk part. If that is true he needs to persuade Hamas to give up the hostages and discuss peace, not war.

Why not tryShalom (peace) instead of war?

AN EXPANDED HISTORY.

The history of Israel goes back 4,000 years to the time when Abraham arrived from what is now southern Iraq. God made a covenant to give him and his sons the land from the border of Egypt to the Euphrates River and make him a great nation. He had two sons, Isaac from his wife Sarah from whom the Jews descend, and Ishmael, from his slave girl Hagar, from whom the Arabs descend. The history of both has been intertwined ever since, often negatively. Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, took his extended family of 12 sons (from whom the 12 tribes of Israel descend) to Egypt in a time of famine and they stayed for 400 years – first as guests of the Pharaoh as Joseph (one of Jacob’s sons) was governor of Egypt. Attitudes and Pharaohs changed and the Jews were forced into slavery. 3,500 years ago, the Exodus occurred and the Jews left Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Forty years later they arrived at the Jordan river on the border of Israel opposite the city of Jericho and entered the promised land under the leadership of Joshua. Two tribes, Reuben and Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh settled on the east bank of the Jordan River which is now the land of Jordan. They remained from around 1500 BC to around 700 BC. The other nine and a half tribes settled on the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, in broad terms from Dan in the North to Gaza and Beer Sheva in the south. Gaza, Ashkelon, and Hebron were all inhabited by the Canaanites at the time and settled by the tribe of Judah. The land became Israel and was ruled by judges and then kings. King David, the second king, established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel 1,000 years BC and the first Jewish Temple as the centre of worship of God was built on what we now know as the Temple Mount by King Solomon, third king of Israel. It has been the only place of worship for Jews ever since. However, God had made it plain to the Jewish leaders that they were chosen to be a 'light to the nations'. If they obeyed the laws God gave them, they would be free and live in peace and prosperity. If they disobeyed, they would be punished. They proved both! The nation split into two and in 721 BC the Assyrians captured the 10 northern tribes and took them into captivity. In 598 BC Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and 587 finished the job and most Jews were taken to Babylon in exile. The first Jewish temple was destroyed. It is rather ironic in today’s political realities that it was Cyrus King of Persia (which had conquered the Babylonian Empire) ordered the return of the Jews to Jerusalem in 538 BC and the re-building of the Temple, and provided much of the material needed. This was the second Jewish temple on the Temple Mount. It was given a major makeover and upgrade by King Herod in BC 20-18 and was the temple that Jesus and his disciples visited frequently during the three and a half years of his ministry. Israel was part of the Roman Empire at the time and when the Jews rebelled they were slaughtered, exiled, and the second Temple was destroyed in AD 70. The only part remaining is the Western Wall where Jews now gather each Shabbat (Friday) evening to pray. Ever since, through exile, dispersion, persecution, and the holocaust observant Jews have longed to return to their homeland and place of worship. “Next year in Jerusalem” has been the cry down through the centuries.

The Roman empire finished in Israel in 324 AD ushering in the Byzantine period from 324 -638 and Christianity became the prime religion. Jerusalem was captured by Moslems in 638 and the Dome of the Rock built in 691. The city was in the hands of the Crusaders from 1099 to 1250 (a major blot in the history of Christianity) when it was captured by the Mamluks. From 1517 to 1917 it was part of the Ottoman Empire ruled from Constantinople (Istanbul). Palestine was an unimportant backwater and became sparsely populated. In 1915 Israel was liberated by British Forces with massive contributions by New Zealand and Australian troops including the New Zealand Mounted Rifles. (If in Israel visit the excellent New Zealand WW1 Museum in Beer Sheva). The total population of Palestine in 1914 was 689,000 comprising of 525,000 Muslims, 94,000 Jews, and 70, 000 Christians.

In 1917 the Balfour declaration stated. “The British Government would view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

After World War 1 the lands were awarded to France and Britain at the San Remo Conference in 1920 and new nations were created in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Palestine was awarded to Britain and covered all of current Israel and Jordan. In 1920 the Declaration was incorporated in to the Treaty of Sevres. In 1922 the League of Nations instructed the British mandate authorities to facilitate Jewish immigration and settlement of Palestine. To win favour with the Arabs Britain violated the mandate and awarded 77 per cent of Palestine to the Hashemites and the Kingdon of Jordan was formed. The general idea was that Jordan would become a Palestinian/Arab/Muslim state and Israel a Jewish state. Today over 70% of Jordans population are Palestinian Arabs. In 1923 Britain again violated the Mandate and awarded the Golan Heights to Syria. The League of Nations became the United Nations and, on the 29th November 1947, the United Nations adopted resolution 181 which recommended creating two states partitioning Palestine between Jews and Arabs. The Jews were awarded 53% of the original mandate and Arabs 47%. The Jews accepted even though it did not include Jerusalem which at the time was predominantly Jewish. The Arabs rejected it demanding the whole territory.

On the 14th May, 1948 David Ben Gurion proclaimed the formation of the State of Israel. For the first time since BC 37 Jews had a home where they could control their own affairs and with the hope that they would be safe from anti-semitism persecution, and such horrendous events as the Holocaust. On May 15th five Arab armies from Lebanon, Iraq,  Jordan Syria, and Egypt, attacked. Miraculously Israel survived. An Armistice was signed in 1949 which set new boundaries and a jagged border which has been problematic ever since. Israel was only 15 km wide at one point. Jordan annexed the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Egypt annexed the Gaza strip. Approximately 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from their homes and became refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Gaza.  Some of those who settled in east Jerusalem were given Jewish homes to live in. Some 800,000 Jews were expelled from Arab Countries and settled in Israel – some in Arab homes. The issue of the return of these homes to the original owners is still causing problems. (To gain a better understanding read “The Lemon Tree” by Sandy Nolan). During the six-day war in 1967 Israel gained control of the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the Golan Heights. The Yom Kippur war in 1973 consolidated this.

In 1948 approximately 156,000 Palestinians remained in Israel and became full Israeli citizens with the rights of Israelis. Currently there are over  2 million Arab Israelis able to travel and work as they wished. For the first time they lived and worked in a relatively non corrupt democracy with freedom of the press, representation in the Israeli Parliament and the freedom to travel on Israeli passports. The Israeli Arabs I have talked to know that they are much better off in Israel than on the West Bank. Most Palestinians I have talked to in the West Bank  cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, Jericho etc have no respect for the highly corrupt Palestinian Authority. Most just want to be able to live their lives in peace and freedom with quality education, health care, and security and admit out of earshot of others that they would be better off as Israelis. There have been no elections for the Palestine Authority since 2014. Abbas uses his people as pawns, monetised under UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) supported by New Zealand.

An election was held in Gaza in early 2006. When I was travelling through Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan in December 2005 on the way to Bethlehem for Christmas with a group I was asked on many occasions by my local guides, and friends in those countries,  "what do you think the Americans will do when Hamas win the election in Gaza?" The Americans had come to the Middle East ostensibly to bring democracy and freedom. The election was duly held and by all accounts was free and fair. Hamas won and that was the end of democracy in Gaza. No further elections have been held and the people have been held hostage by Hamas whose basic purpose and reason for being has been the destruction of Israel as written into their constitution. I believe it has been taken out of the constitution now after a lot of pressure but the attitude has not changed. They have been masters at manipulating the western media, firing their rockets frequently into Israel and provoking a reaction then demonising Israel when they have responded. In all the cries against Israel for their current actions in Gaza I have yet to hear of any Palestinian, or their supporters, admit that if Hamas had not committed their atrocities in Israel on the 7th October the bombings of Gaza and fighting in the West Bank and northern border would not have happened. Over 9,000 people would still be alive and getting on with their normal lives.  

There have been many efforts since 1948 to bring peace between Israel and Palestinians. Most notable were the Oslo accords negotiations between 1993 and 2006 and Camp David Agreement in 2000. Israel has made many offers of concessions of land in their historical homeland to Palestinians in return for peace. They have all been rejected as Palestinians have continued to demand all the land back. Israel has prospered, the Palestinians have suffered.

Is peace possible in Israel?

The calls continue for a 'Two State solution'. While the Palestinian Authority and their supporters continue to refuse to accept any part of their responsibility for the current situation and deny the historical importance of the Temple Mount and Jerusalem to the Jews as their only place of worship and site of their temples over the past 3,000 years, there will be no peace. The time for any form of political settlement based on 1948, 1967, or 1993 boundaries has passed, primarily due to Palestinian intransigence. The terrorist attacks have continued from the West Bank although much reduced since the 712 km separation wall was started between 2002. The wall has divided communities, separated Palestinians in some instances from their farmlands, caused enormous disruption and difficulty for the residents of the West Bank - and has reduced terrorist attacks by over 90%. Over 450,000 Jewish settlers now live on the West Bank.

Is there a solution – yes!! Can the descendants of Abraham’s two sons live in peace and prosperity in Israel – Yes!

It needs the support of Jordan, Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian people but will bring a true peace. I see no other solution. I presented this to the United States Ambassador in New Zealand and the Israeli Ambassador in Australia in 2009 (There was no Israeli Embassy in New Zealand at that time). It was ignored! Main points:

1 The Palestinians should be offered their own independent state with its capital in Gaza and extending East in Southern Israel south of Beer Sheva and primarily extending into the Sinai using at least 5 times as much land as currently in Gaza. This is land that is empty now. Egypt can and should be compensated. When peace comes the borders can be opened, A highway can be restored between Jerusalem and Cairo via Gaza with open travel between, and can be extended to Damascus and Beirut. This is not a new idea. An international airport was built near Rafah in Gaza in 1998 then bombed by Israel in 2001. It can be repaired. The  El Arish airport is functional and could be shared while the Gaza airport is being repaired. . There have been plans in Gaza for a major port, and desalination plants capable of providing enough water. Palestinians living in Gaza can remain in their current homes. Every effort would be made to develop industry and jobs in the new area and in Gaza. Current citizens of Gaza will be able to travel freely to and from work in Israel. For the first time ever Palestinian peoople would have their own state and be responsible for their own affairs.

 

2. Palestinians currently living in the West Bank would have 4 options

(A) Have their homes and farms purchased by Israel at a fair price under international supervision and be granted an

equivalent or greater amount of land and new home in the new State of Palestine

(B) Be granted a residency status where they live now with passports of the new state but resident and working in Judea and Samaria, at least during the transition period. They would have the right to sell their properties and move to the new State later if they wish. When peace comes the Separation Wall can be torn down and residents have access to all of Israel, including their historic lands and the Al Aksa Mosque at any time

(C) Become citizens of Jordan - numbers may be restricted by Jordan but may not be huge in any case.

(D) Become full citizens of Israel with all the rights, freedoms, and opportunities enjoyed by Israelis.

 

Will it work? I don't know but we should try. It is vastly better than the current impasse and increase of hatred and violence heading to Armageddon. My pick from my experience is that over 50% of Palestinians on the West Bank will choose to remain. It is essential that Palestinians accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state in peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

 

What lessons can we learn for New Zealand?

Palestinians and Maori are both Tribal/family/religion-based people. Debbie Ngarewa-Packer (co leader of the Maori Party) confirmed this in regard to Maori  in an important Newshub Nation interview last year. When I was leading The New Zealand Party in the 1997 and 1990 elections there were 5 realities I was promoting (1) Culture changes from generation to generation (2) In every culture at any time there is both good and bad (3) A smart person or country chooses the best from each culture available to it and welds it into a new and better culture (4) Each person must be free to practice their religion, beliefs, culture as they wish provided it does not impact adversely on others. (5) Each person must be equal before the law. In this life we answer to the government – in the next we answer to God!

Many of our problems in our beautiful country come from a (1) deification of indigenous culture – it wasn't all good (2) a denigration of western culture – it wasn't all bad (3) a glorification of the 'me first' culture – always bad (4) a denial of the Creator’s Culture which transcends all other cultures and provides all the guidance we need for a happy, harmonious, prosperous country.

It was the coming of Christianity to New Zealand in 1814 with its message of forgiveness and reconciliation replacing Utu (vengeance) that paved the way for the Declaration of Independence in 1835 and the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. New Zealand was one of the first, if not the first, country in the world to attempt to impose democracy on a tribal based society. It failed through tribal rivalries and centuries of hatred. Afghanistan was the last. It never works if tribal/family/religious based loyalties are paramount and ancient grudges are held and nurtured.

The Treaty of Waitangi is a sacred covenant (as was God’s covenant with Abraham) between Queen Victoria and the British Parliament and Maori, developed under the missionaries guidance and the evangelical awakening in Great Britain and needs to be honoured – not re-interpreted. It will be the practice of the Creators Culture that will solve our problems in society.

The Secret of a Successful Nation, Read Here

For more on the difference between race and culture Read here 

 

Seven deadly sins destroying society.

(1). The failure to seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

(2). Presenting issues in terms of negativity, confrontation,  and conflict. It is possible to disagree completely with someone and still be friends and treat them with dignity and respect. 

(3). Failure to separate two parts of any issue (a) whether something is right or wrong - true or false, and (b) what we should do about it. There is no room in the Creators culture for harassment or abuse of those who are different. In moral issues they answer to God.

(4). Avoiding the issue of 'is it true,?' by running to default positions and labels of whether the issue is racist, sexist, judgemental, homophobic, Islamaphobic, Xenophobic etc. 

(5).  Processing issues through our emotions rather than our brain

(6). Speaking in generalities instead of specifics avoiding the truth and not addressing the problem.

(7).  Failure to understand that we are both physical/material AND spiritual beings. It is our spiritual dimension that determines how we behave in any circumstance. Until we accept there is a supreme being (God) who created us with design and purpose and go back to the makers instructions (Bible) we will never resolve or reduce the problems of society and live in peace. The understanding that we all must as individuals give account to God is a powerful incentive to get to know God and what he wants from us.  

Will the world as we know it end? Read more 

What can New Zealand do?

1. Advocate for an immediate cease fire and immediate negotiations for a long term solution along the lines suggested in my programme which respects the historical settlement and rights of Jews in Judea and Samaria and allows Palestinians to live in peace with Jews on historical Palestinian lands in the same area, and live in a Palestinian State if they wish with Gaza as its capital.  Immediately arrange the release of all Israeli hostages in Gaza in return for 3 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel for each Israeli hostage.. Offer to facilitate it through our peacekeepers in Sinai with reinforcements if it will help. Use our Embassy in Tehran or our Embassy in Cairo via Qatar as a conduit to Hamas.

 A house divided against itself cannot stand!  (The words of Jesus in Matthew 12 v 25) The separation wall must come down and people live in peace with freedom to travel and freedom of speech. "Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called the Children of God" -  the words of Jesus in Galilee almost 2,000 years ago recorded in Mathew 6 v 9.

2. Request Egypt to open the Rafah crossing for all foreign nationals in Gaza to leave, with assistance from our peacekeepers in Sinai with reinforcements if necessary. with freedom of aid movement through the crossing. Use our Consulate in Cairo to facilitate this. Egypt is hugely concerned that Hamas will infiltrate Egypt as they are linked to the Moslem Brotherhood and this must be respected.

3. Open a full embassy in Jerusalem to enhance our trade and tourism and bring our voice closer to the power brokers in the Knesset and West Bank

4. Offer to both Israel and the Palestinians the solution for an independent state for the Palestinians based on Gaza as its capital, the Temple Mount internationalised with free and open access to all people of all faiths, and the West Bank becoming fully part of the historical lands of Israel. This option is detailed in the next few pages.

5. Remind Israel of the instructions given to Moses by God 3,500 years ago in Leviticus 19 v 33-34

"Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God".

The prophet Isaiah writing some 700 years later  speaking both of Jesus and the Jewish people

I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will take you by the hand and guard you, and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant with them. And you will be a light to guide the nations.   (Chapter 42 v 6).

The Lord has honoured me and my God has given me strength. He says, "You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." (chapter 49 v 5-6)

 

This matter is urgent. It is the opportunity for the new government in New Zealand to take a lead and play a highly constructive role. "Blessed are the Peacemakers"!

Stephen Greenfield

Auckland, New Zealand.

Email: steve@nztours.nz

Web: ww.nztours.nz

Telephone 0800 309 196. (mobile) 021 174 9588 (Country code +64)

05 December, 2023

 

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