Lynne Hybels

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Six Things I Believe


This paper was presented to a gathering of Palestinian Christians, Israeli Messianic Jews, and American Christians and Messianic Jews on December 5, 2013.
 

In 2010 I spoke at the first Christ at the Checkpoint Conference in Bethlehem.  I gave a talk called “It’s All About Jesus: A Personal Journey.”  I chose that title because my engagement in the Holy Land was a very personal attempt to follow in the way of Jesus.  I had been spending considerable time in the region and was brokenhearted by the suffering that resulted from ongoing and often violent conflict.  I believed that what Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, needed most was to see Jesus incarnated in his followers in the Holy Land.  I came to Christ at the Checkpoint with the desire to encourage and lift up the Christians in the land.  To stand in solidarity with them.

I had learned by that time that this issue could be theologically controversial.  I was still caught off guard, after my talk, when a Messianic Jewish theologian from Israel told me he believed I had totally violated scripture by talking about the plight of the Palestinians. He reminded me that God had given the land to the Jews, and if the Palestinians were suffering it was because God’s will regarding the land was being violated. If I thought the treatment they were receiving was unjust it was because I didn’t understand God’s purposes in the world.

It was a very awkward and disturbing conversation.

Now, fast-forward two years.  In 2012 I spoke at the second Christ at the Checkpoint conference.  Again that same Messianic theologian approached me afterwards. I assumed we would again have an awkward conversation.  

But instead, he said, “Thank you for that talk.  That was a great talk.  In fact, I think you should give that talk to some of our Jewish congregations.” 

What happened during the two years separating those conversations? 

What happened in me is that a very wise friend—actually a Palestinian Christian—challenged me to spend as much time with Israelis as I had been spending with Palestinians. 

So I began doing that. In subsequent trips I met with secular mainstream Jews.  I met with people in the Israeli peace movement. I ate Shabbat meals with Orthodox families. I talked with Israeli families who’d lost children to the violence of suicide bombers.  I listened to the perspective of Messianic Jews.  Perhaps most significantly, I walked slowly through the halls of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.   

In my second talk in Bethlehem, I described those experiences.

I also said, “I will never bring a group of people to visit Israel and Palestine again, without taking them to Yad Vashem.  How can we begin to understand this place without holding the reality of Jewish history in our conscious awareness?”

So, my heart had been broken on a deeper level for the Jewish people and that came through in my talk—and made a difference to the Jewish theologian.

What also happened during those two years was that the Jewish theologian spent time with Palestinians in the West Bank, and he actually saw the reality of their daily lives.  He said to me, “I still support the State of Israel and believe the Jews have a unique role to play in God’s redemptive plan.  But the kind of injustice I’ve seen in the West Bank, and that you have described in your talk, is unconscionable. It can’t continue. But few Jews actually know what’s going on here.”

That story—of those two very different conversations—is so encouraging to me.  I’ve been similarly encouraged by many people with whom I may disagree on some points of theology, but for whom I have the deepest respect, because they manifest a level of compassion and wisdom that challenges and humbles me. Honestly, when it comes to my engagement in the Holy Land, I’ve been blessed by gracious mentors from many different directions. 

At the same time that I’ve been encouraged, however, I have also been greatly discouraged—especially recently—by the increasing number of blogs and articles and emails written about or to me that question not only my theology, but my motives, my calling, and my intelligence. 

I’ve been called a threat to the state of Israel, a subtle (and therefore extremely dangerous) anti-Semite, a spokesperson for the PLO, and a Christian Palestinianist who traffics in anti-Israel propaganda and historical misinformation. 

And I’ve been described as part of a massive effort in the heart of the evangelical church to lure its members—especially its youth—away from the pro-Israel position God commands to an uncritical and unbiblical support for Palestinians. 

I am not new to the world of criticism. Forty years ago my husband and I started a church in a movie theater where we used drums and guitars in worship.  We were immediately denounced by the evangelical establishment that called us a cult and warned its young people to stay away from us. Since then, we’ve taken plenty of other actions that many people deemed worthy of criticism. Generally we don’t respond to our critics, unless they approach us personally. If we responded to every anonymous or public criticism, we would have little time to do anything else.

But, rightly or wrongly, I feel that I need to respond to the criticism related to my involvement in Israel and Palestine.  I’m choosing to do it in this setting, not because I believe my harshest critics are here; I don’t think they are.  But the recent criticism has challenged me to strip down my message and say very clearly what I mean and what I believe about the conflict. I’m doing it here because this is supposed to be a forum where we can speak honestly, if we do so carefully.

I want to clarify that I’m not speaking on behalf of my husband, my church, the Willow Creek Association, World Vision, The Telos Group, or any other organization with which I might be associated.  I am speaking strictly as an individual.
 
In the next few minutes I’ll make six “This Is What I Believe” statements.  Each of these statements deserves extensive discussion, which we don’t have time for today. So this is basically an outline, which needs to be developed more fully in another setting.

1. I believe it is possible to be truly pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian at the same time.  On my first meaningful trip to the region both Israeli and Palestinian leaders said, “This is not a zero-sum conflict; in the Holy Land, nobody wins unless everybody wins.  Either Israelis and Palestinians learn to live together, or we will die together.  If you’re here to pick a side, go away.  We don’t need that kind of help.  But if you are willing to figure out how to be a common friend to Israelis and Palestinians, then we welcome you.”

With each trip I make to the region my commitment to that perspective grows.

When I say I’m pro-Israeli, I mean that I support the existence of the State of Israel as a home for the Jewish people.  I want Jews to be able to live there without the fear of rockets falling from Gaza, or suicide bombers attacking civilians, or any other kind of violence against them.  In a world in which anti-Semitism is, tragically, still alive and well, I am thankful for the State of Israel. The fact that I may disagree with some of the policies of the government of Israel doesn’t mean that I’m anti-Israel or anti-Jew, anymore than my disagreement with certain policies of the US government means that I’m anti-US or anti-American.

When I say I’m pro-Palestinian, I mean that I believe the Palestinians have an equally valid right to live in the land and should have the same civil rights that are afforded to Israeli Jewish citizens, whether that’s in one state, two states, or however many states.  I believe Palestinians should be free from military occupation.  They should be able to travel freely between their own communities, engage in commerce, and have easy access to the outside world.

2.  I believe that if we want to engage in the Holy Land as peacemakers, we must recognize that Israelis and Palestinians have very different, and often conflicting, histories and narratives, each of which must be sought out and respectfully heard.  I have been accused of trading the Jewish narrative for a false Palestinian narrative.  I have to say, I just don’t understand that accusation.  How could two groups of people on opposite sides of a violent conflict not have different experiences of what happened, and different memories? 

When you pay attention to both narratives, it’s easy to understand why the Jews would want a homeland and why they feel they have a legitimate claim to the Holy Land based on biblical promises.  And it’s easy to understand why the Palestinians feel they have an equally valid claim on the land based on centuries of residence in the land.  

Certainly, either narrative can be mythologized and distorted and used to demonize the other.  So, part of our task as people seeking peace is to listen with a discerning ear, to study well, to question what we hear, and to learn from a wide variety of people. 

About year ago in Bethlehem I had just such an opportunity.  I attended a meeting of Palestinian women, both Christian and Muslim.  There were two speakers at the meeting.  One was an Israeli Messianic Jew who traveled into Bethlehem, actually breaking the Israeli law that forbade her to go into the West Bank, because she was so determined to meet with these Palestinian women. The other speaker at the event was a Palestinian Christian woman.   Each of these women, in turn, described the typical narrative that is commonly held by her people, and then she critiqued it. 

The Jewish women said, “You won't like what I'm going to say, but this is what most Jews believe.  They believe that Jewish violence in the war of 1948 was purely defensive; Jews were simply defending themselves against Arab aggressors.  But before you get mad at me, I need to tell you that I realize that is not true.  The tragic truth is that in 1948 many Arabs were aggressively forced from their land and/or brutally killed by Jewish fighters.” She said, “Admitting this makes me pretty unpopular with some Israelis, but we must be open to self-criticism.”

The Palestinian woman described some of the hardships of the occupation, but then she said, “We Palestinians tend to think that all our problems are caused by the occupation.  But that’s not true.”  She said, “We must accept culpability for allowing a victim mentality to dominate our actions and for making many poor choices along the way that have hurt us collectively.”  That was hard for some of the Palestinian women to hear, and they discussed it at length.  But at the end of the meeting they asked to meet again so they could continue such discussions.

It was such a privilege to be able to sit in on that meeting.  How admirable, how wise, how courageous, for these women to be willing to listen to the narrative of the other and also to critique their own.  Surely, they are laying a foundation for peace, and modeling that for all of us. 

3. I believe biblical theology leaves room for Jews and Arabs to live together as neighbors and equals in the land. I recognize there are differing theologies of the land, based on differing hermeneutical approaches.  These differing theologies often appear to be at odds when it comes to the question of who rightly belongs in the land that we call holy. 

I hesitate to speak about this because I’m not a theologian, and I can’t enter theological battles.  But I so appreciate a book written by two people who will be speaking here: Salim Munayer (Palestinian Christian) and Lisa Loden (Messianc Jew).  They edited a book called The Land Cries Out, which includes essays by a wide variety of Messianic Jews, Palestinian Christians, and a few international voices.  There are many different theologies of the land presented in this book, but because most of the writers actually live in the land and deal with the complexity of reality, they speak with the careful, nuanced voices that complexity requires.

Some of the essayists make a strong case that the birth of the modern State of Israel in 1948 and the ingathering of the Jews to the Holy Land is a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy that’s tied to end time events and the second coming of Christ; other essayists have different ways of looking at that.  But running throughout all the chapters of the book was an image of Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians, living together in the land in peace. 

For some of the writers (including both Palestinian Christians and a number of Messianic Jews), that peace could conceivably be manifested, to a degree anyway, in the two-state solution that is being discussed in current peace talks.  For others, that vision of peace is for a time far in the distance, when Jesus’ Kingdom is here in fullness.

But what strikes me as critically important is that people with different theological perspectives, who are willing to look at reality honestly and think carefully, can envision Jews and Arab living peacefully and equally as brother and sisters. 

4.  I believe that the ongoing military occupation of the West Bank and the continuing blockade of Gaza is a violation of human rights; as such, it deeply harms the security, freedom, and dignity of both peoples. The very fact that I use the word “occupation” has led some people to judge me as an enemy of the State of Israel; they have told me the only “occupation” is the one perpetrated by the Arabs who are occupying the land of Judea and Samaria that belongs to the Jews.

I won’t try to argue with the religious logic behind that claim, but I will say that I know many Israeli Jews who believe that the occupation is wrong; that it violates their Judaic ethic; that it breeds hostility and undermines security; and that it has to end. 

Just last week I read an op-ed by an Israeli journalist, an American Jew who moved to Israel as an adult because she loves Israel and wants to live there.  She wrote, “Why can’t ‘pro-Israel’ mean anti-occupation, support for human rights, equality, democracy for all peoples under Israel’s control?  Why should we perpetuate the conflict, by supporting Israeli government policies that perpetuate the conflict?”  She suggests, in fact, that that’s about “as anti-Israel as you can get.”

Some of my critics say that people who talk like the woman I just quoted, are left wing radicals that we as Christians should not be aligning ourselves with, or they’re self-hating Jews who should be silenced.  I can only say that I’ve met some left wing radicals who are also ardent Zionists who seem to be wise and compassionate people and who, in their words, are patriots who are fighting for the soul and security and integrity and future of their country.  I may be wrong, but I respect them and I think their voices ought to be heard in America.

5.  I believe that any violence against civilians, whether carried out militarily or through guerrilla tactics, is illegal under international law, damages prospects for peace, and should be stopped immediately. I want to state that clearly, because my critics have asked why I don’t spend more time talking about Islamic extremists and Hamas and the battle between Muslims and Christians.  Part of my reason is that I think we hear plenty about that.  I have no desire to give more airtime to the voices of violence.  

The other reason is that I’ve traveled to the Holy Land specifically in search of those who are committed to nonviolence, forgiveness and reconciliation.  Interestingly, those voices of peace have come from a variety of directions.  While I believe Jesus is the Prince of Peace whose power will ultimately unleash peace, I have met Muslims and Jews, who may or may not give any conscious consideration to Jesus, but who seem to be living out Jesus’ ethic of peacemaking.  In fact, they often challenge me to take Jesus’ way of living more seriously.  As I get to know them and become friends with them, I pray that the gentle community we create will become a space in which Jesus can do his best work of healing, redeeming, and transforming each of us in the ways we most need.  

6.  While I do pray for the peace process that’s now going on, and I hope there is some positive outcome from that, I acknowledge that our work for peace is not dependent on what happens in official, political peace talks—not because what happens politically is not important, but because what happens on the grassroots level of relationships is even more important.  And we are all positioned perfectly to make a difference there, as we build little enclaves of peaceful relationships from which peace can bubble up.

Several weeks ago, thirty American, Israeli and Palestinian women met for two days in Washington DC.  We were Christians, Muslims and Jews, religious and secular, youngish and oldish—united by our commitment to human rights in the Holy Land.

Some of the Palestinian women had been criticized by their friends in the West Bank for attending a meeting with Israelis, their oppressors.  Some of the Israeli women had been criticized by their friends for attending a meeting with Palestinians, their enemies. Some of the American women showed up at the meeting licking wounds sustained from journalists who wrongly judged our character and motives.

So, there was a rather high degree of emotional "rawness" in the gathering.  While that rawness could have pushed us all to put up protective barriers, it actually had the opposite impact.  There was an unusual level of honest communication and vulnerability, with Israeli and Palestinian women talking about the fears they have for their children and the loneliness they often feel as women committed to peace and reconciliation.  


There was a particularly profound connection between a young Palestinian woman and an older Israeli woman.  They were both psychologists, highly educated and articulate, but neither could quite contain their emotion as they spoke.  

The young Palestinian woman described what it was like to send her teenage son through a checkpoint, knowing that he would feel frustrated and humiliated; she feared that the humiliation, repeated over and over again, would turn him into an angry young man, maybe even a violent young man.  She tried to keep him away from checkpoints, but she couldn’t keep him locked in one little neighborhood.  So she feared for his future.

The older Israeli woman described what it was like knowing that her teenage grandson was an IDF soldier, standing at a checkpoint with a gun in his hand, terrified of using the power of that weapon, and yet terrified not to.  She didn’t want him to become the oppressor, but he was.  She feared what that would do to him, inside. 

The two women agreed:  “We are both victims of this conflict, this occupation, this ongoing tragedy.  We are both victims of the fear that sets our people against each other.”  

Then the Israeli woman spoke out of the wisdom of her years: “But look at us here,” she said, “in this room.  Today we talked about our fear, and instead of fear driving us apart, it has brought us together.  We need to keep talking with one another, deeply and honestly.  We need to use this fear to draw us together.”   I have to tell you there was magic in that room.  I have nothing against men, but I’m not sure that magic would have been felt in a roomful of men. 

The only thing that saddened us was knowing that, despite the wonderful connection we had in Washington DC, once the Israeli and Palestinian women went back home there would be no place for them to meet—except, one of them joked, at a checkpoint.  Interestingly, that idea of “pitching a tent of meeting at a checkpoint” became sort of a metaphor for our remaining conversations that day.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it continues to describe our future meetings.

I'm telling you this because I left that gathering deeply moved by the potential women have to establish healing relationships, and to advocate for human rights in a profoundly personal and captivating way.

One thing we speakers were asked to do in our presentations today is to share what we believe we can do for the sake of peace.  I have concluded that one of the most valuable things I can do is to create more and more connections between Palestinian, Israeli and American women—which will be my focus in the future.

Mother Teresa said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

My goal will be to remind American and Israeli and Palestinian women that we do, in fact, belong to each another, and together we can do a work for peace that we could not do without each other. 

That is my vision for the future. 










27 comments:

  1. Lynn, this is the best analysis of the conflict and assessment of chances for reconciliation I've ever seen anywhere. My wife and I have crossed path with you on many occasions. However, I never felt as close to your journey as I feel right this minute. Thank you for your honest analysis. We love you and we appreciate what you are doing.

    Safi and Eman Kaskas

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    1. Safi and Eman. Your response means so much to me, as I have such deep respect for you both. As you might expect, I presented the talk and posted the blog with fear and trembling, praying that people would understand the spirit behind it. I do want to be a Bridge Builder, not building bridges of straw, but strong bridges based on authenticity and truth. I hope to see you both at the Prayer Breakfast! Love to you today....

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  2. Well said, well done. The time has come for the power of love/peace at the grassroots level of relationships. As you said so well, Lynne, "... we are all positioned perfectly to make a difference there, as we build little enclaves of peaceful relationships from which peace can bubble up." The power of this should not to be underestimated. If these are the stories we tell our children, they themselves will write a new and better ending.

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  3. Fantastic post! I pray today you'll hear the voice of Jesus whisper "beloved" and it will drown out any critics.

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  4. I think you are right on it. The power of connection is the path to vulnerability and the ability to change. Since the need for human connection is hardwired, you have set in motion true paths of irreversable change. Brene Brown's work in application at the highest level. In "Connected" by Christakis/Fowler they propose that the most powerful influence is by connections separated by the 3rd degree. Astounding and counterintuitive. You are facilitating the 1st degree connections that will make this possible and again irriversable. I am grateful for you, Bill, and Willow.

    Bill McDannel

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  5. Dear Lynn, thank you for your thoughts and passion on this topic. What was lacking in your words was a recognition of simply how all pervasive the Palestinian society’s hatred for Jews is. You said “I have no desire to give more airtime to the voices of violence,” but how can you condemn violence enough, or how can those who have suffered from it feel their pain has been heard if you do not? Look up Samir Kuntar – I was in Israel when he attacked a family and crushed the head of a four year old girl, Einat. Now look at the parties and celebrations for him across the Arab world when he was released. Your article, written to show you are not anti-Israel, specifically criticises Israeli policy (the occupation), but explicitly refrains from criticising Palestinian actions – can you see how this can lead some to think you are anti-Israeli?
    You mention the Palestinian woman “We must accept culpability for allowing a victim mentality to dominate our actions and for making many poor choices along the way that have hurt us collectively.” What poor choices was she referring to? Rejecting every peace plan since the 1930s, or the decision to attack children during the intifadas, or the glorification of violence that permeates Palestinian society to the point where streets and soccer teams are named after murderers? You write; “But running throughout all the chapters of the book was an image of Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians, living together in the land in peace.” That image has been on offer since the first Jewish olim arrives in the 1880s, but even in the 1920s were being murdered by their Palestinian neighbours. In the 30s, Palestinian leaders met with Nazi officials, eager to hear about their boycott of Jews, and then they adopted this strategy for themselves in the 1936 attacks (the beginning of BDS). Were these some of the “poor choices” your Palestinian friend was referring to?
    More recently, Israel withdrew its forces from Palestinian population centres, only to have mass attacks on its own civilians. The Dolphinarium, a bat-mitzvah, a Passover seder. The Palestinians who carried out these murders are national heros today. Ahlam Tamimi, who aided the attack on the Sbarro (a pizza place) said in an interview; “Afterwards, the Palestinians around Damascus Gate were all smiling. You could sense that everybody was happy ... inside the bus, they were all congratulating one another.”
    You write; “The young Palestinian woman described what it was like to send her teenage son through a checkpoint.” I imagine it is not an exciting experience. A few years ago, a young Israeli girl in the IDF saw a pregnant Palestinian woman in the line to go through a checkpoint at the Gaza border. Acting on instinctive compassion, she took her out of the line and through a side room to speed things up and help her. It turned out that the woman was not pregnant, but a suicide bomber who blew up the young Israeli and three others with her. She (the bomber) was celebrated as a hero in Gaza. Four Israelis were seriously wounded. They are remembered only by their families and friends, and by others manning the checkpoints that keep Israel safe. The next time someone tells you the checkpoints are de-humanizing, remember that young Israeli woman who showed compassion, and ask who is to blame.
    The security fence, or wall was not constructed for a whim – Palestinians had been shooting at civilian homes and cars for over a year when it started to be built, as a non-violent means of protecting the innocent. Everywhere it went up, shooting attacks fell by 98%. The checkpoints likewise helped stop the wave of attacks across Israel. Now, clearly the fence inconveniences some Palestinians. But unless Palestinian inconvenience is a higher priority than Israeli lives, the fence should be supported. Perhaps Sami Awad could lead a group from the next Christ at the Checkpoint meeting to build or repair a section as an act of repentance for his community’s sins? That would be real prophetic leadership!
    Lynn, I pray you continue to grow in your journey.

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    1. Colin, I can only suppose that you know that the death totals in the area since 1987 show 4 times the number of Palestinian deaths than Israeli deaths. For young people under 18, the rate is nearly 11 times higher for Palestinians than Israelis
      No one is telling Israelis that they have to move out of their houses, or building walls to keep them away from their jobs. I am sure we could trade heart-rending stories all day. The numbers, however, speak for themselves. Growth, in this case, should probably not just happen to Lynn.

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    2. Hi Rob,
      actually, 500,000 Israelis are being told to leave their homes, and and as mentioned, the wall, or fence was built to stop shooting and other attacks on civilians. The reason for the stories shared was to help others understand why Israelis need impersonal checkpoints and walls in the first place. One should not denounce passive protective measures without first denouncing the murder which necessitated them. One should also contrast the extreme measures Israel makes to avoid civilian casualties with the extreme measures Palestinians make to inflict civilian casualties. In any event, I was only trying to help Lynn see why condemning Palestinian violence is a vital part of any real peace making effort. Is that controversial?

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    3. Hi again, just a note re your numbers comparisons. Frankly, I find it offensive and bizarre. Was the Battle of the Bulge morally wrong because more Germans died than Americans? Should America apologize that more of its soldiers were not killed, so as to make it even? I am profoundly grateful that there are not more war graves in Israel, and wish there was peace so that there would not be Palestinian dead either, but if Palestinians choose to refuse peace and initiate violence, I will not hope that more Israelis die so as to make it more even - that is a moral insanity.

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  6. Lynne, I work for TEAR Fund in New Zealand and for years we have supported the work of Evangelicals in the Palestinian territories. We have supported Bethlehem Bible College and their Shepherd Society, Holy Land Trust and now we also give some support to Musalaha. As someone personally vested in that support and having been at Christ at the Checkpoint in 2012 and there during unrest in November 2012, I want to personally thank you for your ongoing voice and work on this issue. You bring clarity and heart to a complex issue. Your voice is valued. Thank you for what you do.

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  7. Lynne, thank you so much for your wise and sensitive words. But mostly, thanks for your courage, for taking a stand for the sake of those caught up in violence. For speaking out for those who have no voice, for the women and children of Palestine and Israel.

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  8. Thank you so much for your brave honesty. I look forward to meeting you sometime, perhaps in the Holy Land. Salam/Shalom from the Mexico border!

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  9. Lynne-

    Thanks for your heartfelt and incredibly articulated response. The "soft answer" with which you respond to both legitimate critiques and malicious attacks is a true testament to your solid character and clear desire to reflect the heart of Jesus at every turn.

    While you may not consider yourself an academic, you most certainly ARE a theologian. You're commitment to wrestle with the theology of Kingdom, mission, nonviolence, peacemaking, eschatology, the land and the person and mission of Jesus is inspiring. So many of are us are indebted to you for helping us ask: What do I do when the implications of one slice of my theology flies directly in the face of what the rest claims? Keep up the excellent work and Merry Christmas!

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  10. Much of this reads like I time traveled back to the 1960s as mainline Protestant denominations embraced "peacemaking" and social activism. Why do American Christians think they have an answer to these problems? Why the need to address them? Just like my response, at the end of the day an opinion has been shared but nothing has changed.

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  11. Lynne I have a couple of questions for you. First how do you feel about some of the advocacy groups (for the Palestinians) who insist that the European Jews who migrated to Israel have no connection to ancient Israel. Also some one who attended your speech wrote this comment on facebook about it and my critique of your speech:
    You know, Viola, when I heard Hybels give her talk and, later, upon reading her text, I also understood her to be dismissing the one (binational) state vs. two state (Israel and Palestine side by side) solution concerns.

    But just as I was highlighting your remarks for someone, it suddenly dawned on me that she might be talking about the future Palestine. One argument used on the pro-Israel side to indicate that it would be a very bad idea to give the Palestinians independence right now is to ask, "Well, will it be a one state Palestine, or is it going to be a Palestine under the PA and a Gaza under Hamas?"

    If you read her text with that meaning in mind, I think the paragraph will suddenly make sense and seem less dismissive about maintaining a Jewish majority state. I just think the way she phrased herself was unfortunate."
    I am wondering how you did see the future Palestine.
    Here is my critique so you will know what the friend was speaking of:
    http://www.naminghisgrace.blogspot.com/2013/12/lynne-hybels-and-israeli-palestinian.html

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  12. Proverbs 15:31 He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. Proverbs 9:8-9 rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.

    It is a pity that while Lynne says; “So, part of our task as people seeking peace is … to learn from a wide variety of people,” serious people who read her blog and then respond do not receive a reply. Their contributions go unanswered. This is sad because she really does need such feed-back if she is to grow and become the peacemaker she desires to be. (“I do want to be a Bridge Builder, not building bridges of straw, but strong bridges based on authenticity and truth”). At present, her 6 “I believe” statements sound more like Miss Congeniality saying ‘world peace’ than anything of substance. A Christmas wish list if you will. A bridge of straw. The problem is that while sounding sweet, her platitudes are at present self-contradictory and dangerous. For example, she states;
    “I believe Palestinians should be free from military occupation. They should be able to travel freely between their own communities, engage in commerce, and have easy access to the outside world.” Good in theory, but it conflicts with her; “I want Jews to be able to live there without the fear of rockets falling from Gaza, or suicide bombers attacking civilians, or any other kind of violence against them.”
    The present unsatisfactory system of checkpoints and the security fence are the only thing preventing Palestinians from attacking Jews in Israel. That is, after all, the very reason they were put established in the first place! So she wants the Jews to be free from rockets and terrorism, but also wants to remove the very things which at present make them so. She needs to address that contradiction.
    In a sense, it then becomes a matter of priorities, which “belief” should have precedence? Lynne’s only concrete proposals (beliefs 1 and 4; I believe that the ongoing military occupation of the West Bank and the continuing blockade of Gaza is a violation of human rights) are against the checkpoints, security fence and the blockade of materials which have a military application into Gaza (there is no present blockade of food, medicine etc). Given that she speaks at Christ at the Checkpoint, whose final communique likewise condemns the checkpoints and fence, this is unsurprising. Palestinian inconvenience, created in response to their own lethal violence, takes priority over Jewish safety.
    The real problem for Lynne therefore, is that, were her advocacy to bear fruit, and Israel, in part as a result, was pressured to ease these security measures, then when the inevitable rocket attack/suicide bombing/drive by shooting occurred, Lynne would have innocent blood on her hands. Her naive advocacy would have assisted in the murder of Israeli civilians, because Palestinian inconvenience was apparently a higher priority for her than Israeli lives. That is blood that no number of trips to Yad vaShem could wash clean. I am sure the very thought of this would horrify Lynne, which is why she needs to take more seriously the words of concerned readers who take the time to reply to her writings.
    At present, Palestinians do not wish peace with the state of Israel, and a desire for the lion to lay down with the lamb may sound endearing, but is in fact a recipe not for peace but for bloodshed. It is only after the Messiah has come that such peace becomes possible. This is why the greatest need of both Israelis and Palestinians is not more would-be peace makers, but for preachers of the Gospel! Romans 10:1 Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.

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    1. Same old story! Emotional platitudes vs. factual history. Nothing will be resolved until Christ returns. Those who accept the Bible as God's inerrant word vs. those who expect man to save himself. The truth does not depend on agreement among a particular group of people. The truth is the truth regardless of who chooses to accept it. Deception and lies are just that regardless of who chooses to deny it.

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    2. Hi,i think we are on the same page, but Im not sure.
      God bless,
      Colin

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    3. Colin, have you walked through a checkpoint? Have you walked alongside old men and young children with their mothers as they waited in line and experienced repeated inspections? You have strong opinions in regards to the purpose of the security, but have you experienced the security measures firsthand to observe how much of it truly serves the purpose of security?

      Before 1948 and for a long time afterwards, Palestinians and Israelis have had many peaceful times together. Even 20 years ago, my cousins and families did business with Israelis, went to the mall together, rode their motorcycles together, and were neighborly with each other's families.

      If your heartfelt prayer is that the Israelis would be saved, pray that they would be saved from their own self-imprisonment - confined by their fears. God says, fear not, for I am with you always! Just going through airport security was like torture, no matter who you are. Even the mall in Tel Aviv required inspection of your bags by a young security officer. Who would want to live that way? Can you call that freedom? It made me so sad, because Israelis are confined and restricted by this conflict too.

      Jesus did not command us to wait around and do nothing until he comes back for us so he can make peace. He came and died for us and commanded us to be his witnesses until he returns. Witnessing is not just talk. We are a living testimony of Christ - through our transformed lives and the way we live them.

      We share an enemy who has deceived Christians (whether Jew or Gentile, slave or free) into believing that peace cannot come. He has taught people to judge and fear one another.

      Who do you believe?

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    4. Hi there, I am unsure how to reply to you. You seem genuinely sad that Israelis have to put up with so much security, but make no connection between that and the attacks from Palestinians which are the reason for it. I agree, it would be great if neither side needed security, but as long as Palestinians consider people who kill Jews to be heros, such measures will need to stay in place. The Palestinians who stabbed to death Udi Fogel, 37, and Ruth Fogel, 36, and their three children, 10-year-old Yoav, four-year-old Elad and three-month-old Hadas were seen as great guys - for stabbing a 3 month old girl to death! thats why Israelis need security. And yes, as I have stated, such measures do inconvenience Palestinians. So, next time you are going through a checkpoint, just remember that this is what Palestinian love of murder has created. i would rather you were inconvenienced, than a three month old child was stabbed to death.

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  13. Dear Lynne,

    Despite of the criticism that you may receive for sharing your words, thoughts and experiences on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I want to encourage you to keep continuing doing the good work you have started and I pray that God may continue to give you the strength, courage, compassion and faith you need.

    Your words are of value, and like the voices of the Jewish and Palestinian people, it is one to be heard. I carry your vision in my heart for the way you have described it, this has been in my heart and prayers for many years. I hope one day we will get the chance to meet and until then thank you for your honesty and thank you for taking a stand for us as humans, not one higher then the other but all created and loved by God. Blessings from Europe.

    -Shatila

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  14. There is plenty of information both online and offline advising people on how to choose the right firm such that you might be confused on which advise to follow. If you are interested in getting an Israeli law firm, the factors that you should consider when hiring the firm include: trust, experience, affordability, results, culture, rating, rapport, reach and availability. For you to know about different law firms, you need to do your research. When you put the above factors into consideration, you will not only hire the right law firm in Israeli, but you will also win your case.

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  15. Colin is full of hasbara.

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    1. What a silly way to avoid any serious discussion with some one who disagrees with you. Do you think that was clever or wise or profound? I have tried to make rational arguments which can then be discussed in an adult manner. I am sorry that you think this was an adequate response.

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  16. Lynne, I'm so thankful I stumbled across this posting on the Christ at the Checkpoint facebook page. It was a very articulate and honest speech about your journey alongside this region and it's issues. I will be glad to share it with others with whom I too try to share my thoughts and experiences in both Israel and the West Bank. I love the breadth of issues you covered here, the pointing out that many are following Christ's ways of being peacemakers, even if they don't know Him, and your descriptions of the women's gathering in DC. How powerful to be a part of that time!! And yes, the pain for both the soldier's mom and the checkpoint crosser's mom and their fears for the development of what this existence will do for their boys is lived out every day and just so tragic!
    It was such a gift to be able to attend Christ at the Checkpoint in 2012, hear from the INCREDIBLE line up of speakers, meet you, and many others who are devoted to Christ, justice, and human rights in this land. I will only get to attend CATC 2014 via whatever is posted on the web, but Munther and his team did such at great job of that at CATC 2012, I don't think I'll be disappointed.
    I am so sorry to read of the criticism you have endured, especially the idea of leading American evangelical youth away from a staunchly "biblical" support of Israel. These critics must have never been to the land, and I am SO grateful for the number of youth who are going there and experiencing, learning, listening, and starting to think differently.
    Blessings on your important journey and using your voice to bring it to people's attention, no matter how tough the criticism might be.
    Mandy Abbas

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  17. You posted this 4 months ago and I just found it. It has been a blessing to me and the answer to a prayer as I seek to understand not only what's happening in Israel/Palestine but what God is doing in the mist of his people. Thank you.

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