3. Palestine or Israel?

The intense global interest in the creation of a Palestinian state within the traditional territory of Israel is heading for a climax in the very near future. Major world powers, as well as international bodies such as the UN, are directly involved in the establishment of such a state, thereby raising the significance of this key factor in their efforts to bring about peace and a new balance of power in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

However, serious fears are already being expressed that the entire process of promoting the emergence of Palestine will not only be detrimental to Israel but in fact threaten its very existence. From a biblical point of view, a future world without the physically and spiritually restored Israel will be an evil world that will provide the opportunity for the global control of the Antichrist. This new world will be utterly anti-Jewish and anti-Christian.

These fears are corroborated by the fact that the evil forces which drive the “Palestinian Plan” are far-reaching and intent on permanently changing the political, economic and religious landscape of the world. These forces will have an impact on global events far outside the Middle East, and possess the potential of laying the foundations for an entirely new world order.

All countries are already showing strong signs that they are taking decisions and adopting policies that will initiate reforms towards political globalism. A transformation of this nature will change the world and affect the destiny of all other countries in an unpredictable way, depending on who gains control over the emerging world government. As far as the planned transformation of the Middle East is concerned, it is obvious that the international community would prefer to have Palestine play a key role in this region.

It is important that the origin of the name “Palestine” first be investigated in order to determine the legitimacy of the present process of establishing such a state. The further implications of this drastic move will then be considered.

Origin of the name Palestine

The following are abridged excerpts from Wikipedia articles on Palestine [2011(a), (b) en (c)]:

The name “Palestine” is the cognate of an ancient word meaning “Philistines” or “Land of the Philistines”. The Hebrew name Peleshet, usually translated as Philistia in English, is used in the Bible to denote the southern coastal region that was inhabited by the Philistines to the west of the ancient Kingdom of Judah.

In the 5th century BC, Herodotus wrote in Ancient Greek of a district of Syria, called Palaistinê, whence Palaestina, whence Palestine. Palaestina was commonly used to refer to the coastal region and shortly thereafter, the whole of the area inland to the west of the Jordan River. The latter extension occurred when the Roman authorities, following the suppression of the Bar Kochba Revolt in the 2nd century AD, renamed “Provincia Judea” to “Syria Palaestina”, in order to complete its dissociation with Judea.

During the Byzantine period, the entire region (Syria Palestine, Samaria, and Galilee) was named Palaestina. The Byzantines also renamed an area of land including the Negev, Sinai, and the west coast of the Arabian Peninsula as Palaestina Salutaris. The Arabic word for Palestine is Philistine (commonly transcribed in English as Filistin or Falastin). When the Arabs took over Greater Syria in the 7th century, place names that were in use by the Byzantine administration before them, generally continued to be used.

The use of the name “Palestine” in English became more common after the European renaissance. The name was not used during Ottoman times (1517–1917). Most of Christian Europe referred to the area as the Holy Land. The name “Palestine” was officially revived by the British after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and applied to the territory that was placed under British Mandate.

Some other terms that have been used to refer to all or part of this land include Canaan, Greater Israel, Greater Syria, the Holy Land, Judea, Israel, Kingdom of Israel, Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael or Ha’aretz), and Zion. The events of the Four Gospels of the Bible took place almost entirely in this country, which in Christian tradition thereafter became known as The Holy Land. According to biblical tradition, the United Kingdom of Israel was established by the Israelite tribes with Saul as its first king in 1020 BC. In 1000 BC, Jerusalem was made the capital of David’s kingdom. The First Temple was constructed in this period by King Solomon.

The end of the 19th century saw the beginning of Zionist immigration. The First Aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel) was the first modern widespread wave of Zionist aliyah. Jews who migrated to Palestine during this wave came mostly from Eastern Europe and from Yemen. This wave of aliyah began in 1881-82 and lasted until 1903. An estimated 25,000 to 35,000 Jews immigrated during the First Aliyah. The First Aliyah laid the cornerstone for Jewish settlement in Israel and created several settlements such as Rishon LeZion, Rosh Pina, Zikhro Ya’aqov and Gedera. Tel Aviv was founded on land purchased from Bedouins north of Jaffa.

The Second Aliyah took place between 1904 and 1914, during which approximately 40,000 Jews immigrated, mostly from Russia and Poland, and some from Yemen. The Second Aliyah immigrants were primarily idealists, inspired by the revolutionary ideals then sweeping the Russian Empire, and they sought to create a communal agricultural settlement system in Palestine. They thus founded the kibbutz movement. The first kibbutz, Degania, was founded in 1909. Tel Aviv was founded at that time, though its founders were not necessarily from the new immigrants. The Second Aliyah is largely credited with the Revival of the Hebrew language and establishing it as the standard language for Jews in Israel.

Ottoman rule over the eastern Mediterranean lasted until World War I when the Ottomans sided with the German Empire and the Central Powers. During World War I, the Ottomans were driven from much of the region by the British Empire during the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

Under the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, it was envisioned that most of Palestine, when freed from Ottoman control, would become an international zone not under direct French or British colonial control. Shortly thereafter, British foreign minister Arthur Balfour issued the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which promised to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine. A British-led force commanded by Edmund Allenby, captured Jerusalem on 9th December 1917 and occupied the whole Palestine following the defeat of Turkish forces.

Great Britain administered Palestine on behalf of the League of Nations between 1920 and 1948, a period referred to as the British Mandate. The mandate included a large region east of the River Jordan, referred to as Transjordan.

Palestine and Transjordan were incorporated, under different legal and administrative arrangements, into the Mandate for Palestine issued by the League of Nations to Great Britain on 29 September 1923. Even before the Mandate came into legal effect in 1923, British terminology sometimes used “Palestine” for the part west of the Jordan River and “Trans-Jordan” (or “Transjordania”) for the part east of the Jordan River. On a 1927 British Mandate stamp of Rachel’s tomb, the word “Palestine” is shown in English, Arabic, and Hebrew – the latter includes an acronym for Eretz Yisrael (The Land of Israel).

In the years following World War II, Britain’s control over Palestine became increasingly tenuous, and early in 1947 the British Government announced their desire to terminate the Mandate. On 14 May, the Jewish Agency declared the independence of the state of Israel. On the same day that the State of Israel was announced, the Arab League announced that it would set up a single Arab civil administration throughout Palestine, and launched an attack on the new Israeli state.

In 1950, Transjordan was renamed the “Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” to include officially those portions of Palestine annexed by King Abdullah in 1949. In the course of the Six Day War in June 1967, Israel captured the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) from Jordan, and the Gaza Strip from Egypt. From the 1960s onward, the term “Palestine” was regularly used in political contexts. The Palestine Liberation Organization has enjoyed status as a non-member observer at the United Nations since 1974, and continues to represent “Palestine” there.

The 2.4 million West Bank Palestinians (according to Palestinian evaluations) live primarily in four blocs centred in Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, and Jericho. In 2005, Israel withdrew its army and all the Israeli settlers were evacuated from the Gaza Strip, in keeping with Ariel Sharon’s plan for unilateral disengagement, and control over the area was transferred to the Palestinian Authority. However, due to the Hamas-Fatah conflict, and to local elections, the Gaza Strip has been in control of Hamas since 2006. Even after this disengagement, the UN, Human Rights Watch, and many other international bodies and NGOs consider Israel to be the occupying power of the Gaza Strip because Israel controls Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters and does not allow the free movement of goods in or out of Gaza by air or sea. (End of abridged excerpts from Wikipedia articles).

A name born from hatred

It is obvious from the above account that the name “Palestine” is derived from Philistia, the land of the ancient Philistines, which was situated in the southern coastal regions of Israel, more or less in the area of the present Gaza strip. The Philistines disappeared as a distinct group by the late 5th century BC. The application of the term “Palestine” to the entire region west of the Jordan River was an ill-conceived and propagandistic decision by the Roman Empire in an effort to undermine the national interests of Israel by depriving them of any rights to their land.

The Roman campaign of hatred against Israel, as well as the attempted genocide against this nation, was heartily approved of by the surrounding nations who all spontaneously started using the name Palestine when referring to the land of the subjected or dispersed Israelites. This name was in general use up to the restoration of Israel in 1948, but this was only the name of a territory and not of a distinct people who would refer to themselves as Palestinians. Arabs of Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese and Transjordanian extraction roamed the area, among scattered Jewish families who also lived there. It was not until 1928 that certain Arabs living in Palestine started referring to themselves as Palestinians. Due to the nature of this artificially created name there were even Palestinian scholars who questioned the validity of the term Palestine. Dave Hunt (2005) says:

“As late as the 1950s Arabs refused to be called Palestinians. To the British Peel Commission in 1937, a local Arab leader testified, ‘There is no such country as Palestine. Palestine is a term the Zionists invented.’ Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, testified to an Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in 1946, ‘There is no such thing as Palestine in history – absolutely not!’ To the UN Security Council in 1956, Ahmed Shukairy declared, ‘It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria.’ Eight years later, in 1964, Shukairy became the founding chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Like Arafat, he was no ‘Palestinian’, but indeed born in Cairo.”

After the 1956 war against Egypt, the political and military situation in Israel soon again became critical. The unceasing hostility from across Israel’s borders gave rise to strained relations with neighbouring countries. The Arabs refused to conclude peace with Israel or to recognise the new state. Border incidents became the order of the day. All Israel’s efforts to defuse the explosive situation and ease the tension, had failed.

During this phase, and leading up to the Six Day War of 1967, an internal threat arose from the ranks of the Arabs within Israel. They regarded it as politically expedient to identify themselves as Palestinians who should strive to regain their so called ancient homeland. Consequently, they started rallying themselves under the banner of a deprived Palestinian people who were called upon by various Muslim leaders to fight the Zionist and imperialist forces that illegally occupied their land. Many Arabs from surrounding countries were invited to Palestine and to join forces in the struggle against the Zionist occupation. Overnight, they also became Palestinians for the sake of expediency.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was established and they adopted a highly revolutionary constitution. The following articles, or sections of articles, clearly demonstrate this approach:

Article 7. It is a national duty to bring up individual Palestinians in an Arab revolutionary manner. All means of information and education must be adopted in order to acquaint the Palestinian with his country in the most profound manner, both spiritual and material. … He must be prepared for the armed struggle and ready to sacrifice his wealth and his life in order to win back his homeland and bring about its liberation.

Article 8. The phase in their history through which the Palestinian people are now living, is that of a national struggle for the liberation of Palestine. Thus the conflicts among the Palestinian national forces are secondary, and should be ended for the sake of the basic conflict that exists between the forces of Zionism and imperialism on the one hand, and the Palestinian Arab people on the other hand. On this basis, the Palestinian masses, regardless of whether they are residing in the national homeland or in a diaspora, constitute … one national front working for the retrieval of Palestine and its liberation through armed struggle.

Article 9. An armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine; thus it is an overall strategy and not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle, and to work for a popular armed revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it.

Article 15. The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national duty. It attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine.

Article 22. Zionism is a political movement organically associated with international imperialism, and antagonistic towards all actions for liberation, and to progressive movements in the world. It is racist and fanatic in its nature, aggressive, expansionist, and colonial in its aims, and Fascist in its methods. Israel is the instrument of the Zionist movement, and a geographical base for world imperialism placed strategically in the midst of the Arab homeland to combat the hopes of the Arab nation for liberation, unity, and progress. Israel is a constant source of threat vis-à-vis peace in the Middle East and the whole world. Since the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian people look for the support of all the progressive and peaceful forces and urge them all, irrespective of their affiliations and beliefs, to offer the Palestinian people all aid and support in their just struggle for the liberation of their homeland.

Article 23. The demands of security and peace, as well as the demands of right and justice, require all states to consider Zionism an illegitimate movement, to outlaw its existence, and to ban its operations… (End of excerpts from the PLO constitution).

The hatred of Jews is clearly evident from these statements, as well as the fact that no future of any nature is envisioned for Jews in Palestine. According to Palestinians, their land comprises the whole region between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan, bordering on Lebanon in the north and Egypt in the south. Constitutionally, no provision is made for a so-called two-state solution, and therefore no recognition is given to Israel.

Any subsequent decisions to recognise Israel and enter into peace accords with them are justified in terms of a long-term strategy to ultimately drive all the Jews from their land. The former PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, said: “Piece by piece, we will destroy Israel with peace.”

Palestinianism became synonymous with hatred of Jews and the total annihilation of Israel, whether by means of peace accords that demand big concessions from Israel, terrorist activities, full-scale war, or a combination of these methods. The revolutionary cause of the Palestinians was soon accepted, financed and supported by all Muslim countries, particularly those in the Middle East. The creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital has become the vision of all Muslims as they see it as a global control centre for Islam’s future world empire.

Due to overwhelming support at the UN, the Palestinian Authority launched intensified efforts in September 2011, aimed at a unilateral declaration of independence. However, the US and a few of its allies reject a form of Palestinian statehood which is not based on the outcome of negotiations with Israel, as that would be a certain recipe for war in the Middle East. Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians could, however, not yet be sustained for a number of reasons. The most important of these are the following:

·      Israel’s conditions for negotiations are that the Palestinian Authority formally recognise the existence of the state of Israel, and also end all attacks against its territory. The Palestinian faction of Fatah is prepared to conditionally comply with this demand, but Hamas in Gaza refuses to do so. Hamas reluctantly agreed to stop all hostilities, but did not honour their commitment for very long.

·      The PA under Mahmoud Abbas demands the withdrawal of Israel from all the occupied territories of Palestine, and insists on the recognising and honouring of pre-1967 borders. That means that the entire West Bank area would be transferred to the PA, including East Jerusalem, which contains the Temple Mount. The international community supports this demand. Israel’s government has agreed to make further concessions, but is under tremendous pressure from right-wing orthodox parties not to disregard Israel’s biblical mandate to the land by withdrawing from Israeli territory and dividing Jerusalem. As a result of this pressure, the Israeli government continues to allow the erecting of new settlements in territories occupied in 1967.

Whose land is it?

The origin of Israel dates back to Abraham, who is the founding father of Israel. God said to him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants for ever” (Gen. 13:14-15). This promise of the land was later confirmed to Isaac and Jacob (Gen. 26:3, 28:13).

In a very special sense they are the Chosen People of God. He called them to be a holy people and led them to the Promised Land; He then dispersed them among the nations because of their disobedience; and it is the same immutable covenant God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who will restore Israel to the land of their fathers in the end-time. Note how explicitly Israel’s ownership of the land is confirmed in this scripture:

“For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. … Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Ezek. 36:24-28).

The land to which Israel returns after their long exile is still called Israel by God and not Palestine: “Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel” (Ezek. 11:17).

Keep in mind that: “Israel is a major topic in the Bible. The word ‘Israel’ occurs 2 565 times in 2 293 verses. More than enough prophecies have already been fulfilled in Israel’s unique history to prove that the God of Israel (203 times) is the true God” (Hunt, 2010). Regarding the Palestinian claim to the land, Dave Hunt (2005) says:

“The land to which God brought Abraham and which He gave to him and to his heirs, was called ‘Canaan’ (Gen 12:5, 6-8; 13:7-17, etc.). There was no such land as Palestine and no such people as Palestinians. Its early inhabitants were Kenites, Kenizites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizites, Rephaims, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites (Gen 15:19-21). God never promised anything called ‘Palestine’ to Abraham and to his heirs. The only land He promised was Canaan: ‘And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God’ (Gen 17:8) … Even had there been a land of Palestine and Palestinians, the Arabs could not possibly be descended from them. They claim descent from Ishmael, who was certainly not a Palestinian. His father, Abraham, was from Ur of the Chaldees, and his mother, Hagar, was an Egyptian. Neither of them was one of the original inhabitants of Canaan, nor even remotely related to such a people. The land was already settled when Abraham with his wife, Sarah, and her maid, Hagar, arrived there.”

Judgement against Israel’s enemies

Israel’s divine mandate to the land surely implies that God will judge those nations who fail to recognize Israel’s biblical right to the land, and who are guilty of persecuting Israel, driving her from her God-given heritage, or trying to divide the land between Israel and her Arab enemies. God says: “For behold, in those days and at that time when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgement with them there on account of my people, my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up my land” (Joel. 3:1-2).

Dave Hunt (2010) says: “In Zechariah 12:2-3, God declares: ‘Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.’ This is an amazing prophecy not only that Jerusalem, which was then in ruins, would become a burden to the whole world, but that all of Israel’s neighbours would be united against her. They have fought one another in the past. Yet today, for the first time in history, ‘all the people round about’ are united by Islam to destroy Israel. For more than 50 years, Israel’s neighbours have launched surprise attacks against her and she has proved too strong militarily, even though they outnumber her forty to one. God said, ‘I [will] make...Judah like a hearth of fire among the wood … and they shall devour all the people round about…’ (Zech 12:6). Soundly defeated every time, her Muslim neighbours feign a desire for peace, hoping to deceive and ultimately destroy her – a strategy established by Muhammad. The real battle is not between Arabs and Jews, but between Allah and Yahweh. There is no question of the outcome, but it will be costly for both sides: Israel will be severely punished for rebellion, and her enemies will be destroyed. Exactly as foretold, Jerusalem is a burden to all people of the world. More than 60,000 individual votes have been cast in the UN against Israel. This tiny nation with one 1,000th of the world’s population has occupied one-third of the United Nations’ time – a burden indeed! … Scripture declares that every nation in the world will join together to invade Israel in the last days and be destroyed in the battle of Armageddon: ‘I will gather all nations [surely all includes America] against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken. … Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations…’ (Zech 12:9; 14:2-4.) … There is no more appropriate place and way to destroy the nations that have abused Israel than when they, in the spirit of Satan, come to effect once and for all what Hitler called the ‘final solution to the Jewish problem’.”

It is obvious that biblical warnings to the enemies of Israel and their capital, Jerusalem, are not seriously considered, which explains why the international campaign for the establishment of an Islamic Arab state in Israeli territory continues unabated.

Christian Palestinianism

An important change is taking place in the hearts and minds of many people in favour of the spiritual and political claims of Palestinians in traditional Jewish territories. These Palestinians are now regarded by some as being the original inhabitants and also the spiritual heirs to the Promised Land – all at the expense of Israel.

In his article, Christian Palestinianism (www.pre-trib.org/articles) Thomas Ice describes a Christian movement which is expressing itself against Israel in favour of the Palestinians, as “Christian Palestinianism” – a big spiritual and ideological threat to Israel. This liberal theological dogma is in opposition to Christian Zionism, which is focussed on emphasising Israel’s biblical rights and actively supporting the full restoration of Israel in an undivided land. Christian Palestinianism propagates an anti-Jewish theology in which the restored Israel plays no part, and in which the Palestinians are regarded as the legitimate owners of the entire Palestine. According to them, there should not be a state of Israel which can interfere with the rights of the Palestinians. This liberation theology for Palestinians also enjoys great support in the secular world.

Many of the Palestinian Christians have embraced the politically-motivated and anti-Israel liberation theology and proclaim it for the sake of their national survival. It is strongly anti-dispensational and does not recognise a future Messianic state for Israel; rather, it pursues an alternative kingdom here and now. A large number of Palestinian Christians do not even read the Old Testament because of the central role which Israel occupied during the dispensation of the law. A few do read it, but only selectively. They recognise no relationship between biblical Israel, the present Jews and the modern state of Israel.

Theological Palestinianism poses a very big danger. An Egyptian scholar, Bat Ye-or, presents a chapter about the Islamisation of Europe in her book, Eurabia (2005). According to her, Palestinianism paves the way for the Islamisation of the church. It is a kind of replacement theology in which Israel is replaced by the Palestinians. In the process, the four Gospels are disengaged from their Jewish connection and attached to the Palestinians to make the New Testament more acceptable to Islam. Notably, Jesus is rendered a Palestinian Saviour.

A British Jew, Melanie Phillips, published a book entitled Londonistan in 2006, in which she warns England that Islam is taking over their country and culture, mainly because the church has become pro-Islamic and against historic Christianity. She describes the rise of Christian Palestinianism as follows: “When Arab Christians reinterpreted Scripture in order to delegitimise the Jews’ claim to the land of Israel, this kick-started replacement theology, which roared back into the imaginations, sermons and thinking of the Anglican Church. This revisionism held that Palestinian Arabs were the original possessors of the land of Israel ... and that they are the true Israel.”

In this new form of replacement theology Israel is not only replaced by the church, but specifically also by the Palestinian Christians. In the process, the Bible is robbed of many of its basic statements regarding Israel, and gradually reinterpreted in terms of the Koran. Donald Wagner (2003) wrongly argues that about half of the population in Israel at the time of Christ were not Jewish, thereby justifying his claim that Arab Christians are biological descendants of the original church in Acts 2 in Jerusalem. However, the church Father Eusebius (reprinted in 1926) confirms in his book on church history that the early church was virtually 100% Jewish.

Hank Hanegraaff of the Christian Research Institute also rejects dispensationalism and the restoration of Israel, and now promotes Palestinianism. He accuses Israel of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and describes supporters of Israel as racists. However, it is obvious that the Bible teaches about the physical and spiritual restoration of Israel in their own land. People who object to this teaching are opening the door to replacement theology and the increased acceptance of Islamic points of view.

Christian churches have to decide whether they believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. If so, they are committed to accepting Israel as a people in their own right, to whom alone the promise was made that they would forever occupy the land of Israel. Their unbelief was indeed the cause of the Diaspora, but the Lord is returning them to revive them spiritually and make them a blessing to the whole world (Rom. 11:1-32).

Israel’s future is not in the hands of orthodox Jews who continue to reject the Messiah, but in the hands of Messianic Jews who have accepted Jesus as Messiah and are serving Him. Although they are a small minority group, the Bible prophesies great and wonderful things for them. We should support them so that their testimony to unsaved Israeli’s can go out clearly and unambiguously. According to the Bible, the whole remnant in Israel will eventually accept Jesus and truly become a Messianic people. Do not associate with the enemies of Israel because, according to Genesis 12:3, the judgements of God rest upon such people.

The Kairos Palestine Document

To the Palestinians, the new South Africa has, in various respects, become a role model for political liberation from domination by a selective and oppressing group. In 1994, a radical transition was made in South Africa from a multi-ethnic dispensation to integrated majority rule, in which no right to self-determination was granted to the former dominant group. The Palestinians also envisage a transition in their land in which the present Jewish government will lose all its power and ultimately vanishes from the scene.

It is conspicuous that some of the prominent spiritual leaders in South Africa paved the way theologically towards a total and unqualified surrender to the intimidating demands of the majority. Motivated by a politically-driven liberation theology, leading preachers and theologians of different churches turned their backs on the biblical principle of the self-determination of peoples, or nations, in their own territories (cf. Acts 17:26), and contrary to this principle embraced the idea of non-ethnic majority rule.

In 1985 a group of ecumenical preachers, many of them from Soweto, accepted a Kairos document in which apartheid (separate development) is declared a sin, and in which an integrated political system for South Africa is called for (“kairos” means “a special moment” or “the moment of truth”). Palestinian Christians followed this example and on December 11, 2009, issued the “Kairos Palestine Document” in which they call on all Christians in the world to support the cause of Palestinian liberation. Included in their document is the following statement: “The injustice against the Palestinian people, which is the Israeli occupation, is an evil that must be resisted. It is an evil and a sin that must be resisted and removed.”

On March 31, 2010, a group of ecumenical Christians and Muslims in South Africa reacted to the Kairos Palestine Document by expressing full solidarity with them. They also endorsed the replacement theology, in which Israel’s biblical position and rights are assigned to the Palestinians. In their letter they say, among others:

“Our dear Palestinian brothers and sisters ... Thank you for the document written by you, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the descendants of Jesus Christ and whose ancestors were the first to receive his message. Yours is a proud history of keeping the faith in the Holy Land, and we salute you for doing that despite the most difficult situation into which you have been placed. From our perspective, we can see how you are being pressurized and forced out of your own land, and we urge you to continue to resist that with love, and to continue to show what our Lord Jesus Christ taught us.”

Kairos South Africa supports a similar transition in Palestine, in which no Israeli rights are guaranteed and effectively no future is offered to them. On April 4, 2011, they issued the following press release as South Africa’s contribution to the objectives of Christian Palestinianism:

Kairos Southern Africa’s response to Palestine Kairos: The Palestine Kairos document was launched in South Africa on Monday evening 4 April 2011, at a meeting of Kairos Southern Africa in Bredell near Johannesburg. The document is called: A moment of truth – A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of the Palestinian suffering.

The notion of a Palestine Kairos Document was inspired by the South African Kairos Document as a Christian testimony of faith during the last, dark days of apartheid. Palestinian lay people, theologians and church leaders came together to express a testimony of faith in relation to their experience under the occupation of Palestine by Israel.

In response to the message of the Palestine Kairos document, Christians from South Africa and countries in Southern Africa gathering at the conference decided to state the following:

“We fully honour this faith commitment and courageous witness as expressed by Christian brothers and sisters in Palestine. This testimony of faith, hope and love is a profound expression of Christian faith under circumstances of gross injustice.

“We feel seriously challenged by the Palestinian witness of faith in general as well as by their Kairos document, and consequently:

·        We affirm with the Palestinians that the core of the ‘conflict’ between Israel and Palestine is the occupation of Palestine by Israel. We affirm with them that the occupation of Palestine is a fundamental evil to be resisted as an obligation of faith. Moreover, we also consider the Christian theological justification of this occupation based on Zionism as a heresy. We have to deal with our own complicity towards putting the credibility and integrity of the Christian gospel at stake in the Holy Lands. We will have to challenge our own reading of the Bible in lending support to the death and destruction in Palestine today.

·        We consider the Zionist ideology as racist. Furthermore, we consider the State of Israel to be an apartheid state. For South Africans, the similarities between the situation faced by Palestinians and the situation faced by us under apartheid are clear, striking and extremely painful.

·        We accept our complicity to the injustices suffered by Palestinians albeit through widespread ignorance, silence and apathy in our society.

·        We will challenge our society, government, political parties, business community, civil society, and indeed the churches and the Christian community in general about their complicity regarding this.

·        We stand in solidarity with Palestinians in their commitments towards non-violent resistance against the occupation. We support the call towards boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli government.

·        We promote an ethical code of conduct about pilgrimages and other tours to the Holy Lands. We are concerned that, as things stand now, such tours obscure the present-day realities in Palestine under the Israeli occupation.

“Just as the white community in general and supporters of South African apartheid locally and abroad were challenged to change, we also challenge the conscience of all who support the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This change is possible.

“Whilst we reject the racially exclusive solution of Zionism to the holy land, we pray for an inclusive and just peace where the dignity and equality of all inhabitants are upheld.

“Rev. Moss Nthla, Chairperson: on behalf of Kairos Southern Africa.”

The rise of Chrislam

Another recent development which also favours the further promotion of Christian Palestinianism is Chrislam, which is an effort towards the ecumenical reconciliation of Christianity and Islam. This is an attempt to merge Christianity and Islam into a worldwide mega-religion. On one of their websites (www.chrislam.org/) this movement’s ecumenical approach is articulated as follows: “We are brothers. We are a family of God. Not one of us is better than the other in His eyes.” According to them, the two major monotheistic religions are closely related and should join hands.

The Chrislam movement has gained impetus from statements issued by prominent theologians and politicians, which proclaim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God and also serve the same Jesus. I.A. Ibrahim (1997:57) says: “Muslims respect and revere Jesus (peace be upon him). They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to mankind.”

However, Jesus in the Quran is neither the only-begotten Son of God, nor the Messiah who was divinely appointed to restore the throne of David. Rather, he is viewed as a prophet who was appointed by Allah to prepare mankind for the coming of Muhammad. Islam also denies the atoning death of Jesus. Ibrahim (1997:58) says: “Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified. It was the plan of Jesus’ enemies to crucify him, but God saved him ... .” Islam clearly promotes another Jesus who is foreign to the divine revelations of the Bible.

Chrislam has utterly failed in its efforts to identify common ground between Christianity and Islam. The Islamic concept of a Creator-God who is singular and has no Son, cannot be reconciled with the Christian concept of the Triune God – neither is there any correlation between the Islamic Jesus who is the uncrucified son of Mary, and the Christian belief in the crucified and risen Son of God who Himself is God.

The great end-time conflict

There are good reasons why the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is playing a prominent role on the world stage. Events related to the emerging new world order focus strongly on Palestine, Israel, and more specifically, on the city of Jerusalem. In spite of the fact that the Palestinians are not historically significant and are not ethnically a well defined and coherent people, they find themselves in the area where the future of the world will be determined. Their claims for statehood are used by revolutionary forces to gain influence in the land and city destined by God to be the centre of the Messiah’s world government.

The mustering of power which is currently taking place in the world will, in the near future, culminate in an antichristian new world order in which Israel’s territory will be further reduced to the point where this country will be faced with extinction. Jerusalem will probably be placed under international control and assume a multireligious character. Liberal, ecumenical-minded Jews will collaborate with the false messiah to effect this transformation (Dan. 11:32). The final result will be a fully-fledged world government and alliance of world religions under the control of the false messiah.

However, when the true Messiah comes, a Christian new world order will be instituted with Jerusalem as its capital. The boundaries of Israel will then be considerably expanded, while the artificially created state of Palestine will cease to exist and its inhabitants will either remain in Israel as “foreigners” or return to their countries of origin, i.e. Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, or Syria.