The Word:  At that time Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, ‘God is with you in everything you do. Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness that I have shown to you.’ Abraham said, ‘I swear it.’ …So that place was called Beersheba,[a] because the two men swore an oath there.  After the treaty… Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God. And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time. [a: Beersheba can mean well of seven or well of the oath.] (Genesis 21: 22-24, 31-34)

“He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He remembers His covenant forever, the word He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the oath He swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit” (Psalm 105:7-11).

*      Pointers for prayer: Once again as we look at events that involve Israel and the Middle East and try to line them up against Scripture, please use the information for your intercession and prayer groups.  With Donald Trump becoming US President, how will this effect Israeli/US relations? Mahmoud Abbas and his advisors have for many months been on their own campaign trail.  However unlike the many months of most political politicians wanting votes to gain leadership, Abbas has been on the campaign trail to fabricate an imaginary, continuous 6,000-year-old Arab Palestinian history in the land of Israel which Abbas states ‘predates Abraham and the Jewish people’ thus twisting the words of the Bible to support his claim.  Please pray regarding these issues and pray that the Church worldwide would sit up and take note of how the United Nations are opposing not just Israel, but the Lord God Himself.  Pray that there would be a worldwide condemnation against the UNESCO vote which is anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. 

*      We are living in a sobering moment in history that calls for all believers in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), to take a stand with Israel. This is not about politics; this is about the Word of God, but the political ramifications are extremely dramatic. God is sovereign – so let us declare God’s sovereign power to accomplish all His purposes in Israel and the Middle East. Stand in prayer against those who would deny Israel’s right to its ancient homeland, and please continue to pray for the complete restoration of the nation of Israel. Pray for a great revelation of Biblical truth to saturate the Arab world – especially with the Palestinian youth - along with those countries that are not ethnically Arab but Muslim – such as Iran and Turkey. Pray that these Arab/Muslim countries would break free from the bondage of false religion and come to a place where the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the God of Israel – would set them free (John 8:32)

What now for America, and what now for Israel?  Well the American Presidency campaign trail finally came to an end on Monday, and we are now wondering just what the next few years will bring with Donald Trump as President of the United States of America.  For months the presidential candidates traded insults such as "dummy," "jerk" and "loser."  In a campaign trail that at times was full of hate, Trump told Clinton that she should be in jail, and that he was going to put her there.  Clinton responded in her own brutal way trading one insult for another.  It all reminded me of two naughty school children.  However, with Trump now elected as President, we all wait with bated breath as to what this will mean for Israel.  

I slept little throughout Tuesday night, listening to radio reports and watching the live news channels that recorded the stunning, historic and much unexpected outcome of the night.  Many Christians I’ve been speaking to believe we are seeing God’s judgement upon America.  I have to confess, I was never a fan of Obama; I’ve never been a fan of Hillary Clinton either, nor am I a fan of Mr. Trump, so one might suggest that there is no pleasing me – but I know, I’m not alone. However, it is now official: Donald J. Trump has become the 45th President of the United States; Governor Mike Pence will be the next Vice President of the United States; The House will remain in conservative Republican control and The Senate will remain under Republican control.  Mr. Trump did make huge mistakes on his campaign trail, yet give him credit; he finished strong and became the first non-politician, non-war hero ever to win the presidency in the entire history of the Republic.

As I stumbled out of bed from the brief couple of hours I had, I awoke to listen to Trump’s acceptance speech. I actually thought it was very positive and remarkably humble. Trump said it is “time to bind the wounds” of the American nation, and he promised that he would be “President for all Americans.”  He said “the forgotten people” of America would be “forgotten no longer.” He also stated that he’d need the help of many to bring the U.S. together, and he would seek the help even of those who did not support him.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Trump on being elected the 45th President of the United States of America and called Trump, “a true friend of the State of Israel” and stated that he was looking forward to working with him to advance security, stability and peace in the Israeli region. So, with Trump as US President, how will this effect what happens in Israeli and the Middle East? Well, we will have to wait and see.

The campaign trail of fabrication   Meanwhile, Arab Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his advisors have for many months been on a campaign trail of their own.  However unlike the many months of most political politicians wanting votes to gain leadership, Abbas has been on the campaign trail to fabricate an imaginary, continuous 6,000-year-old Palestinian history in the land of Israel which, Abbas claims, predates Abraham and the Jewish people, thereby twisting the words of the Bible to support his claim, and thus making a mockery of the Bible – the very Word of God – and therefore by implication, making a mockery of the Lord God Himself.

Eight months ago, in a video translated from Arabic by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Abbas proclaimed on March 21, 2016, “Our narrative says that we have been in this land since before Abraham… I am not saying it, the Bible says it. The Bible says, in these words, that the Palestinians existed before Abraham.”  Of course Abbas was presumably referring to the words of Genesis 21:34, which mentions a people called the Philistines who predated Abraham: ‘And Avraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines many days.’ (Genesis 21:34).  But of course Abbas clearly knows little of the annals of history; for the Philistines in Genesis were in the first instance from the Greek Islands and certainly not Arabic, and secondly, they became extinct thousands of years ago.   However in many ways just like the Koran reads, Abbas does often make confusing statements and contradictions.

A few examples of these contradictions within the Koran concern Abraham: Abraham's father in the Koran is called Azar, instead of Terah (An'am 6:74 against Genesis11:26).  According to the Koran, Abraham raised his descendants in the valley of Mecca, but in Genesis 13:14-18, the Bible teaches us that Abraham raised his descendants in Hebron, in Canaan (Israel).  The Koran states Abraham’s hometown was Mecca; however, even the secular Ebla tablets of Syria ( ) confirm the account of Genesis 11:31 that he was born in Ur.  The Koran also states Abraham wandered in the Meccan valley of Arabia, but the Bible teaches that he wandered through Haran and Canaan (Genesis 11:31 & 12:5).  The Lord made His covenant with Isaac and not the son of the slave, Hagar (see Genesis 17:18-21 & 22:2), though the Koran states Allah made his covenant through the son of the slave.  The Koran records that Ishmael went to Arabia and built the Ka'bah in Mecca, yet there is nothing in the Bible about this, though he did spend some time in Egypt (Genesis 12:10).  Other contradictions of the Biblical account are found in the Koran. Two of these are: In the Koran, Mary is recorded as the sister of Aaron and the daughter of Imran, as well as the mother of Jesus (Surat Maryam [Mary] 19:28). Thus, the ‘Mary’ the Koran depicts as the mother of Jesus is 1,570 years removed from the Mary of the Bible.  There are also less relevant issues such as Haman, a Babylonian - not an Egyptian name as mentioned as the "Wazir" of Pharaoh in Suras 28:5; 29:38: 40:25,38; yet the book of Esther correctly lists him as an official of king Xerxes, in Babylon. 

In the midst of the ‘peace talks’ and the attempted creation of a state of Palestine within Israel’s heartland, former US President Obama had declared this would be his swan song and would be finalised before he left the Whitehouse.  Thankfully, this all failed, but one wonders what will happen now Trump takes over.  The constant endeavours to bring a solution to what the world calls the "Palestinian Problem" often bring with them many distortions of history. These are being purveyed by those who would see Israel abandon territory, including Jerusalem (given to her by God), and ultimately Israel’s final destruction. Some of these twisting’s of history are so frequently portrayed in the front line of the world media that by constant repetition they become received truth in the minds of journalists, politicians, and the man in the street. It is common (at least in Western Media news parlance) to refer to East Jerusalem as 'Arab East Jerusalem', thus implying that it belongs not to Israel but to the Arabs. Reference is regularly made to certain U.N. Resolutions and to International Law as it relates to Israel and the occupied territories, and some clarification is needed in these matters. 

This of course raises the important question, “Who are the Palestinians?”  The claim that the Arab Palestinians are the original occupants and owners of the land of "Palestine" has been made not only by politically motivated Arab Palestinian leaders typified by Yasser Arafat, Hanan Ashwari and now Abbas, but also by Arab Church leaders in the official churches of the Middle East.  This is not new of course as it’s been regurgitated for the past 30 years. What a shame that supposedly credible church leaders should declare a similar myth that Abbas stated, such as Canon Riah Abu Al Assal, former Vicar Of Christ Church, Nazareth, who said: “We Palestinians have been mentioned in the Bible and we have been there long before Joshua came. Many forget that there are Christians of Arab-Palestinian background that go back to the time of Christ. The Palestinians are first cousins of Jesus Christ.”  Yasser Arafat was once reported as having claimed, “Palestinians Arabs are descendants of the Jebusites who inhabited the city even before King David.”  However, back on March 2, 1977, Zuhair Muhsin, then head of the PLO Military Operations Department declared a different story when he stated: “Only for political reasons do we carefully underline our Palestinian identity. For it is of national interest for the Arabs to encourage the existence of the Palestinians against Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity is there only for tactical reasons.”  Such claims might be merely facetious, apart from the fact that they are proclaimed by those who seek to gain the sympathy of the Church in the West and are probably believed by those who do not know the true history of this region, or indeed their Bibles.

The historical facts however show that the Philistines were one of a group of peoples migrating from the South Aegean, one of the thirteen regions of Greece around 1200 BC. Those ‘Sea Peoples’ did not evolve into any Arab people, but disappeared as distinguishable group around 3000 years ago.  Therefore, the modern Arab Palestinians are the newest of all the peoples on the face of the Earth, and began to exist in a single day by a phenomenon that is unique in the whole history of mankind, as is witnessed by Walid Shoebat, a former PLO terrorist that acknowledged the lie he was fighting for and the truth he was fighting against.  Walid Shoebat states, “Why is it that on June 4, 1967, I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian? We did not particularly mind Jordanian rule… then all of the sudden we were Palestinians - they removed the star from the Jordanian flag and all at once we had a Palestinian flag.  When I finally realized the lies and myths I was taught, it is my duty as a righteous person to speak out.

This declaration by Walid Shoebat should have some significance for the neutral observer. Indeed, as I have mentioned many times in these reports over the past 25 years, there is no such a thing as an Arab Palestinian people who have a distinct Palestinian culture, nor a Palestinian language, or a Palestinian history. There has never been any Arab Palestinian state, neither any Palestinian archaeological find nor coinage. The present-day "Palestinians" are an Arab people, with Arab culture, Arabic language and Arab history. They have their own Arab states from where they came into the Land of Israel or what was Jewish Palestine about one century ago to contrast the Jewish immigration. That is the historical truth.  So why is it that today the United Nations are lapping up every lie that the PLO leader Abbas creates?

From the sublime to the ridiculous    This week, the irony created by Abbas has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous as the Arab Palestinian drive is now to lay claim to the Dead Sea Scrolls, which comes amid a series of resolutions passed at UNESCO that ignore Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.  Yes indeed, not satisfied with gaining UNESCOs approval to make the Temple Mount and the Western Wall purely Islamic sites, Abbas’s Palestinian Authority is now preparing to lay a claim to the Dead Sea Scrolls at the United Nations, Israel Radio reported at the weekend.  In response, Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen said, “This is another provocative and audacious attempt by the [Arab] Palestinians to rewrite history and to erase our connection to our land.  The Dead Sea Scrolls are factual and weighty archaeological evidence of the presence of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.” 

Of course, the Dead Sea Scrolls – a large cache of Hebrew writings from the Second Temple period and its immediate aftermath – were discovered in Qumran between 1947 and 1956. They include many biblical texts and are believed to have been penned by members of a Jewish sect known as the Essenes.  Oh, and they are mostly written in Hebrew.  So I’m guessing Abbas will now declare that the Arab Palestinian’s original language was Hebrew not Arabic? 

Isis threaten Israel football match   According to reports on the BBC World Service,  four people in Albania with links to ISIS were seized following a tip from the Mossad that they were preparing an attack on the Israel International football squad and fans.  The 2018 World Cup qualifier against Albania this weekend was relocated on Tuesday after four suspects were arrested in connection with planning a terror attack against the Israel national team and fans. 

Despite the decision to move the match to what is believed to be a safer venue, Israel’s players are far from happy and certainly not relaxed or even ready for the game.  One player stated, “There is a real sense of fear.  Right now we are really not focused on the match. Our lives are more important than soccer and I hope that there will be appropriate security. We would have rather played in a neutral country, but perhaps these recent developments will make sure that nothing happens.”  Israel has six points from three matches so far, losing its opener against Italy 3-1 before defeating Macedonia and Liechtenstein 2-1.

Finally… do pray for rain   In the UK, we have seen quite a few days of heavy rain, however, as I mentioned last week, do keep praying for rain In Israel.  The country is very close to another major drought with authorities reporting that the water flowing from the northern area of the Jordan River into the Sea of Galilee is at a record low.  Water flowing down from Mount Hermon in the north, through the Jordan River into the Sea of Galilee, which is in turn Israel’s primary fresh water reservoir, is the primary water source.  However, the water pressure today is lower than it’s been in the past 90 years.  As a result, Israel has had to cut water supplies to farmers while taking emergency measures to prevent deterioration in the water quality of the Sea of Galilee.  Also affected is the southern portion of the Jordan River which itself is nearly dry - and the Dead Sea.

David Soakell  

(CFI Church Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent) 

Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, Christian Friends of Israel UK & Jerusalem, Israeli Embassy London, The Jerusalem Post, & Israel National Radio