When you have a conversation with someone about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians it seems as though you have to draw a hard line in the sand: You either stand on Israel’s side or you stand with the Palestinians.
As I’ve spent the past 10 years studying the history of the modern State of Israel I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a Christian who is pro-Israel and not anti-Palestinian.
You may think that being pro-Israel and not anti-Palestinian is an oxymoron. How is it possible to not draw a line on this serious issue in the Middle East? Here are some reasons:
Why I’m Not Anti-Palestinian
It’s assumed if you are a friend of Israel you must hate the Palestinians. I am not an enemy of the Palestinians for two reasons. First, I am a human being and even more importantly––a Christian! I sympathize with those Palestinians suffering under corrupt leadership in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan. Most Palestinians are manipulated and marginalized, not by Israel (which is how it’s portrayed), but by their leaders, surrounding Arab countries, countries that provide them financial assistance, and the United Nations (UNRWA). They have come to rely on the lies spoken to them day after day from the leadership of the Palestinian people and surrounding Arab countries that one day they will return to their homes in Israel, erasing the Jewish State.
Did you know that there are more than 425,000 Palestinians still living in refugee camps in Lebanon? The Lebanese government denies them citizenship, basic rights, health, and educational services; it’s been this way since 1948. The billions of dollars provided by countries for the benefit of the Palestinians living throughout the Middle East are often siphoned straight to the Palestinian leadership. Recently, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) revealed that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank cannot account for more than $2.5 billion dollars given to them between 2008 – 2012 by the European Union for the betterment of the Palestinian people.
More than 71 percent of Palestinians believe their own government, the Palestinian Authority, is full of corruption and extreme mismanagement. In fact, as the U.S. ramps up peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, many Arab members of the Knesset (Israeli government) are turning their backs on peace after hearing that their home towns would be moved from Israeli control to Palestinian control. More than 70 percent of Israeli Arabs who live in the West Bank oppose their towns being transferred to Palestinian authority.
Recently, the Assad government in Syria has refused to allow the humanitarian aid sent to the Palestinians by other countries. Essentially, Assad is starving the Palestinian refugees to death.
It’s a travesty that many of the Palestinian people who live within the Middle East find themselves stateless, poor, uneducated, and trapped. No human who is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) should have to live in this manner and they deserve better.