Archive for February, 2010

My meeting with a PLO negotiator from Jericho

February 13, 2010 – 2:42 pm

By Bill Koenig

I noticed at the Metro train stop by the White House on Tuesday, January 18 a newspaper called The Washington Diplomat that focuses on the very large diplomatic community here in Washington.

It captured my interest because January’s lead article was entitled “PLO Going Nowhere?”

I started reading the article to get the Palestinian perspective. The person being interviewed was Maen Rashid Areikat, the new head representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the United States — headquartered in Washington.

I thought to myself: That name sounds familiar. I looked through the article for his biography to see if he was who I thought he was. Sure enough, he was.

On my return flight from Israel to Dallas in the first week of January 2000, I was upgraded to Business Class on my oversold British Airways flight from Tel Aviv to London. The Lord had arranged for me to sit next to Maen Rashid Areikat of the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department.

Maen told me he was on the way to London for some backroom negotiations with the Israelis.

We talked for the entire length of the five-hour flight. We discovered that we had both graduated from Arizona State University. Maen also received his MBA at Western International University in Phoenix. He talked about how he loved living in Arizona.

Maen is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met — a really good guy.

I enjoyed discussing areas of mutual interest and, especially, hearing his perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what it is like for him and his family to live in the Palestinian territories.

He said he was born in Jericho and attended Catholic schools. He spoke with much sincerity about wanting his family to live in peace and security. He showed no hatred or anger towards Israel.

I thought: If this man were leading the Palestinians, there would be an agreement with Israel such as the ones Israel achieved with Jordan’s King Hussein and Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat.

When I read his article (which I link to below), I saw his very sincere and hopeful side. While he seems totally removed from the radical side of the PLO as led by Yasser Arafat, Fatah and Hamas, I also see a person who doesn’t address the fact that Hamas is the greatest threat to his dream of his living in peace and security.

We know Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas redirected millions of dollars of foreign aid to their bank accounts and their cronies. This led to Hamas becoming a force in Palestinian politics, when they met the social needs of the Palestinians while gaining great favor, which led to their capturing 74 of 132 seats in the Palestinian Parliament in the January 2006 election.

As we continue to hear and read of the ongoing tensions between Fatah and Hamas, we realize that Maen’s job is extremely difficult.

I will contact Maen soon. I want to share with him once again the biblical perspective of what is taking place in Israel. He is the kind of guy who will listen. Who knows? He may be the Arab leader who signs the Daniel 9:27 covenant.

The following is the link to Maen’s interview and my final comments:

With widening Israeli-Palestinian gulf,
 PLO envoy clings to statehood dream (Larry Luxner, The Washington Diplomat)

Click here for the full article.

Final comments: This is a Palestinian perspective from a man who was 4 years old in 1967 and whose father was a Palestinian activist.

The key point is that Maen sincerely wants his family and the rest of the Palestinians to live in peace. That dream has been stopped due to a corrupt Palestinian government and Palestinian terror groups.

Furthermore, “Palestine” was not all Arab: It was the home of the Jews of Palestine and the Arabs of Palestine.

Yasser Arafat and the terror groups have done great harm to the Palestinian people. Palestinians are living in refugee camps in many Arab countries and being treated as third- and fourth-class citizens. They have been pawns in the peace process. Many Palestinians would prefer to live in Israeli-controlled cities, not those managed by the Palestinians.

Hamas, the political party that is in control of the Palestinian Parliament, will not recognize Israel’s right to existence and is determined to have full control over all Palestinian property, which includes Ramallah.

Israel is not the Palestinians’ problem and never has been the Palestinians’ problem. Rather, it is their corrupt leadership and refusal to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. They can complain and call for actions against Israel, but it will never solve the Palestinians’ own political problems.

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February 5, 2010 – 10:24 pm

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Could Benjamin Netanyahu be the Israeli prime minister who signs the Daniel 9:27 covenant?

February 5, 2010 – 9:35 pm

By Bill Koenig

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be the leader who agrees to the final biblical peace deal spoken of in Daniel 9:27. No Israeli politician is better known. No Israeli leader is a stronger defender of his nation’s threats.

In his policy speech at the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar-Ilan University on June 14, 2009, Netanyahu was superb, clever, reasonable and strategic. He attempted a very delicate political balancing act — which, for the most part, seemed to succeed.

He calmed the Kadima Party and the Labor Party with his statement that he favors a Palestinian state, but he offered very challenging contingencies that must first be satisfied.

He satisfied Israel’s right-wing political parties on the statement of a unified (not divided) Jerusalem.

Members of the Likud Party who don’t want to see any of Israel’s biblical land given to the Palestinians were disgruntled about the talk of a Palestinian state, but they appeared satisfied that Netanyahu’s requirements for the Palestinians are all but impossible for them to meet.

He also enjoined Israel’s concerns and the moderate Arabs’ concerns about a nuclear Iran. This was a good strategy.

He said:

  • If we receive this guarantee regarding demilitarization and Israel’s security needs, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, then we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state.

  • If the Palestinians turn toward peace — in fighting terror, in strengthening governance and the rule of law, in educating their children for peace and in stopping incitement against Israel — we will do our part in making every effort to facilitate freedom of movement and access and to enable them to develop their economy.

  • Above all else, the Palestinians must decide between the path of peace and the path of Hamas. The Palestinian Authority will have to establish the rule of law in Gaza and overcome Hamas. Israel will not sit at the negotiating table with terrorists who seek its destruction.

    Netanyahu addressed 140 Israeli ambassadors and heads of delegations that were in Jerusalem on Dec. 28, 2009, for the first-ever series of high-level briefings. He once again emphasized his conditions to a peace deal:

  • Palestinian acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state.

  • Demilitarization of any future Palestinian state.

    Netanyahu said, “Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is necessary for any agreement with the Palestinians that would lead to an end to the conflict.”

    “We want an end to the conflict,” he said. “That means the Palestinians must stop attempts to use a Palestinian state as jumping-off point for further claims against Israel. No claim to flood Israel with refugees, which would mean the end of the Jewish state; and no irredentist claims to the Negev, Galilee or Israeli citizens, which would mean the dissolution of the Jewish state.”

    Ha’aretz reported: Netanyahu said the situation in Lebanon, and the rearming of Hezbollah despite Security Council Resolution 1701 prohibiting just that, proved that agreements on paper were ineffective.

    “I am doubtful that anyone can do this except a real Israeli presence, Israeli forces,” he said, intimating that in any future agreement with the Palestinians, Israeli forces — not international ones — would have to be on the eastern border of a future Palestinian state to prevent it from importing arms and staging attacks against Israel.

    Obama Admin threatens to withhold aid to Israel

    American President Barack Obama’s Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, threatened in the first week of January to withhold financial aid to Israel if they did not accept demanded concessions to get the stalled peace process back on track.

    In an interview with Charlie Rose, Mitchell was asked what leverage the U.S. has to get Israel to comply with Arab and international demands. He answered:

    “Under American law, the United States can withhold support on loan guarantees to Israel.”

    Israel’s Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz quickly reacted, saying, “Israel had no intention of making use of the U.S. loan guarantees in the near future, as it had managed to raise enough funds on its own.”

    Mitchell’s remarks came shortly after Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren rejected Washington’s attempt to place a firm two-year deadline on the peace process.

    “In the past, attempts to impose time frameworks have not proved either realizable or helpful,” Oren told The Jerusalem Post. Previous deadlines have only increased the Palestinians’ refusal to meet their peace obligations, confident that Israel would be forced to comply regardless in order to meet the timetable.

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told a Jerusalem press conference on Sunday, Jan. 10, that he expects President Barack Obama to explicitly announce that his Administration is not planning to alter America’s policy regarding financial aid to Israel.

    Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) stated at the same press conference that even if Obama tried to use U.S. financial aid as leverage, Congress would never approve such a measure.

    The Bible’s road map — the ultimate plan

    God gave the land of Canaan to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants (Genesis 15:18). The Promised Land is not to be divided; and the Bible said that there would be consequences to those who attempt to divide the land of Israel (Joel 3:2 and Zechariah 12-14).

    We realize that Israel will eventually agree to a final seven-year peace plan and that the false messiah will sponsor a peace plan that will be confirmed by the nations (Daniel 9:27).

    The false messiah will come forward at the midway point to stop sacrifices on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (Daniel 9:26-27, Daniel 11:31 and Matthew 24:15).

    The Great Tribulation will begin at that point and last for 42 weeks (Revelation 11:2, Revelation 12:6, Daniel 7:25, Revelation 12:14).

    During the final 42 weeks, the Jews will mourn for the one they pierced (Zechariah 12:10). They will not see the Messiah until they say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 23: 39, NKJV)

    God will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone (Zechariah 12:3), and He will destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:9). At the end of the 42 weeks, there will be final battle for the city of Jerusalem — the battle of Armageddon (Zechariah 12-14).

    We must continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6) — a peace that will only occur when Yeshua returns to Jerusalem to begin His 1,000-year millennial reign.

    Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)

  • Jesus came as the world’s Savior — not a social worker

    February 5, 2010 – 9:32 pm

    By Bill Koenig

    Jesus came to earth as the Messiah — the Savior of the world — not a social worker.

    Today, many Protestant and Catholic Church leaders are focused on the social gospel and the establishment of the kingdom of God on Earth while virtually never mentioning that salvation is only possible through Jesus Christ or that He will reign for 1,000 years from the New Jerusalem due to their lack of eschatological teachings.

    In a review of Dr. Martin Erdmann’s book, Building the Kingdom of God on Earth: The Churches’ Contribution to Marshal Public Support for World Order and Peace, 1919-1945, the reviewer wrote that the kingdom of God [the church] had been stripped of all biblical and theological distinctives and now was virtually identical to the new world order and its political and social agenda.

    Today, it is acceptable in major international religious and political meetings to portray Jesus Christ as a social worker, while using words from the Sermon on the Mount to show that Jesus Christ was socially conscious. Furthermore, it has helped lead to a false perception that there are many paths to God.

    Yale professor H. Richard Niebuhr in his book The Kingdom of God in America (1937) wrote that Protestant liberalism’s message and social gospel has led to a “God without wrath brought men without sin, into a world without judgment, through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

    In today’s ecumenical meetings, the saving of souls from sin was replaced with saving the world from unemployment, poverty, war and injustice. But this is treating the symptoms, not the root cause, which is the heredity and existence of sin in people’s lives.

    Oswald Chambers wrote: “Sin dwells in human nature, but the Bible makes it very clear that it is an abnormal thing, it has no right there, it does not belong to human nature as God designed it. Sin has come into human nature and perverted and twisted it. The Redemption of God through our Lord Jesus Christ delivers human nature from sin.”

    Henry Brandt stated: “You can have victory over life-dominating sin, based on two biblical principles remarkable in their simplicity: 1. There is no human remedy for sin. 2. The only cure for sin is in Christ.”

    We live in a fallen, sinful world filled with people whose only hope is in a Savior named Jesus Christ who took the sins of the world to the Cross on our behalf; and through Him and only Him, is there a promise of forgiveness and an everlasting life.

    Convinced but not converted

    My wife’s and my former churches as children, Catholic and Episcopalian, respectively, believe that baptism as a very young child is all that is required to be a Christian and to have everlasting life. These and many other Protestant churches believe that it isn’t necessary to be “born again,” and they deny the importance of making a public proclamation of one’s faith in Jesus Christ.

    Many religious leaders are convinced, but they aren’t converted. They have conformed to religious dogma, a false piety and discipline; and because they aren’t born again, the Holy Spirit is nonexistent and they haven’t been transformed. And they don’t have a personal and intimate relationship with the Savior of the world.

    Isn’t it an irony, yet not a surprise, that their religious beliefs and their political agendas are the main catalysts that will bring these times to completion and Jesus Christ’s return to Jerusalem?

    Is this a surprise? Absolutely not: It was predicted in the Bible.

    “I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I
    consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” ~ George Washington