The Word:  Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy on us. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!

For we are exceedingly filled with contempt. Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorn of those who are at ease, with the contempt of the proud. (Psalm 123)

Why do the nations rage, and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” (Psalm 2:1-6)

*      Pointers for prayer:  On Wednesday November 23, during my ‘quiet time’ I read through my notes from Oswald Chambers’ ‘My utmost for His highest’.  Chambers writes, “What we must beware of is not damage to our belief in God but damage to our Christian disposition or state of mind.  [Take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously” (Malachi 2:16).] Our state of mind is powerful in its effects. It can be the enemy that penetrates right into our soul and distracts our mind from God. There are certain attitudes we should never dare to indulge. If we do, we will find they have distracted us from faith in God. Until we get back into a quiet mood before Him, our faith is of no value, and our confidence in the flesh and in human ingenuity is what rules our lives.”  Dealing with the issues of the various Islamic factions like Hamas, PLO, Isis etc. as we did in last week’s report; along with the frustration of the decisions made by the United Nation against Israel can easily rob us of our peace.  These difficult issues can also penetrate right into our soul and distract our mind from God. We must never allow human anger, or ‘our right for vindication’ to cause hatred to rise within.  Chambers goes on to quote St. Augustine, who prayed, “O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.” Chambers states, “Such a need for constant vindication destroys our soul’s faith in God. Don’t say, “I must explain myself,” or, “I must get people to understand.” Our Lord never explained anything— He left the misunderstandings or misconceptions of others to correct themselves.”  These are very wise words in our battle with dealing with these issues.  However, we still need truth to be declared and for errors to be exposed.  So once again, let us declare God’s sovereign power to accomplish all His purposes in Israel and the Middle East.  Let us stand in prayer against those who would deny Israel’s right to its ancient homeland.  Let us continue to pray for the complete restoration of the nation of Israel. But let us not harden our hearts against the Muslim people of the Middle East.  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 (Iran and Turkey). Pray that many more Muslims would come a place of knowing the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and that they would be set free (John 8:32).

“Freeing Palestinian territories from Israel's occupation?”    If one thinks of the Middle East as a chess board, then Iran seem to have made a move that would attempt to ‘check-mate’ their opponent Israel.  As you will know, chess is a game played between two opponents on opposite sides of a board containing 64 squares of alternating colours.  Each player has 16 pieces: 1 king, 1 queen, 2 rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights, and 8 pawns.  The problem with the Middle Eastern version of ‘chess’ is that the Islamic world appear to have most of the 64 squares (seeing the Islamic Middle East is 99.9% of the land mass), and they certainly have more pieces.  However, Israel does have one special King!  Oh that the nation would recognise Him!

As we in Britain have seen a deluge of very heavy rain that has brought major flooding to the UK, it would appear that Israel have had a similar ‘deluge’ – though not of rain (which we must continue to pray for) but a deluge of insults, verbal threats and anti-Semitic statements over the past couple of months.  Could it be, that due to the United Nations seemingly being determined to remove Israel in a political equivalence to how Hamas and the PLO desire to do on a practical level, that many Islamic nations are now not afraid to threaten Israel in more open ways?  I don’t have the space to include every report, but I feel we need to look back over the last 2 months to highlight a few of the issues that often never get reported on the Western Media channels.

This week, Commander of Iran’s Basij Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi underlined that the Palestinian territories will be freed from Israel’s occupation within the next 10 years.  Addressing students in Alborz province near Tehran on Monday, Naqdi expressed the hope that the notions, thoughts and ideology that led to Iran's Islamic Revolution would help Arab Palestinians get rid of Israel in the next 10 years. Naqdi’s reasons for predicting the liberation of what he calls Arab ‘Palestine’ and the annihilation of Israel by 2025, was due to the fact that the Islamic Revolution helped Iran get rid of the US over 35 years ago, in which he claimed, “rescued the country from Saddam Hussein's aggression and helped the Lebanese to get rid of the Americans.”  Naqdi stated, “Considering these developments, liberation of Palestine by the Islamic Revolution is not unlikely at all.”  In other remarks this month, General Naqdi underlined that America will collapse in less than 20 years, adding that President-elect Donald Trump will speed up the process.  He stated, “According to the analysis made by the behind-the-stage and shadow decision-makers of the establishment in the US, the United States will collapse in 2035 and I think that it is an optimistic analysis as this will take place much earlier.” 

As I mentioned last week, recently the United Nations committees adopted another 10 resolutions against Israel in one single day.  Echoing UNESCO resolutions last month, several new motions ignore Jewish ties to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  The UN also took four resolutions on Syria, North Korea, Iran and Crimea – all of which are countries which have appalling human rights issues… but then to bring TEN resolutions against Israel – the only country in the Middle East that is a true democracy - is outrageous.

Meanwhile, as you may have read if you follow the CFI UK Facebook wall, much of the mainstream media failed to report the recent 153 terrorist attacks in Israel.  In October 2016, nearly one third of these Islamic terrorist attacks occurred in Jerusalem. That total was much higher than the 109 attacks in September.  And yet many people still blame the so-called ‘Israeli Occupation’ as being the reason for this violence.  Thank goodness then that very occasionally, the truth is spoken out.  Take for an example Brooke Goldstein who as a human rights attorney, author, filmmaker and founder of the Children’s Rights Institute ripped into the nonsense of Israel being blamed for Islamic terror attacks.  Goldstein, the co-director of the award-winning documentary “The Making of a Martyr” states that it’s no secret that the Arab Palestinians have been exploiting their children for years, using them as suicide bombers, child soldiers and human shields.  On Fox News Brooke Goldstein destroyed the argument of people blaming Israel's so-called "occupation" for Islamic terrorist attacks on Israel.  Watch a section of this here: .

However, one of the most troubling and problematic areas of what seems to be a generation out of touch with reality, is sadly seen in the rise of anti-Israel protests in the UKs colleges and universities.  Take for example the situation that took place a few weeks ago when dozens of police officers were called to University College London (UCL) to control a violent protest that involved violent behaviour from the pro-Palestinian demonstrators, resulted in Jewish students being barricaded-in because their safety could not be guaranteed.  This of course is not the first time this has happened, and I don’t suppose it will be the last. 

After listening to a talk by Israeli peace activist, Hen Mazzig, attendees were forced to remain in the lecture room and wait for police to escort them through a crowd of over 100 Pro-Palestinian demonstrators who had gathered outside making threatening and violent efforts to disrupt the talk.  The speaker had to speak above the noise, and according to reports, even though some police were present, they apparently were unwilling to prevent the disruptive behaviour.  One report stated that after the event the guest speaker was rushed off the campus by police as if ‘escaping a war zone.’  Now we are all aware that the UK is supposed to allow free speech – and possibly this was why the police didn’t intervene - but how is it that those who stand with Israel are not allowed free speech by those who oppose?  I cannot recall one single meeting where pro-Islamic Palestinians have had their meeting disrupted due to pro-Israel supporters.

The group ‘Campaign Against Anti-Semitism’ responded to these events by contacting both the police and the university about security and the conduct of the protesters – especially their leader, Friends of Palestine Society President Yahya Abu Seido. This group - Friends of Palestine Society - also made many anti-Semitic tweets.   However, I’d like to make three points regarding this issue:

1) Just like groups such as the Palestinian Solidarity Movement if these groups were truly ‘Friends of Palestinian society’, they would be making efforts to actually help the Arab people who suffer not so much under the control of Israel, but rather, suffer under ruthless Islamic leaders like Abbas’s PLO and Hamas.

2) Now I’m not so naïve to pretend that all is well with every Arab living in Israeli society, but is everything good and okay with every black member of the UK? Or what about every Christian in Islamic countries?  If these pro-Palestinian groups really wanted to understand what Arabs living in Israel was like then they would take note of what many Israeli Arabs tell the world.  Take for example, Elinor Joseph, an Arab Christian who serves in the Israel Defence Force (IDF).  Elinor states, “I do not imagine myself living anywhere else.  This is my country.  When I see the Israeli flag waving in the wind I get excited.  My heart beats stronger.”  Another lady states, “I can go to a restaurant in Tel Aviv; I can get a job in an Israeli company; I can go to an Israeli college; I can open a business in Israel; I can be a doctor; I can be a teacher in a Jewish school; I can win a reality show on TV; I can even run for office! Why? Because I am an Arab woman who lives in Israel!”  By the way, did you know that more women fly F-16 Jets in Israel than women drive cars in Saudi Arabia?  That’s because women can fly aircraft in Israel but Arab women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia! 

Should you choose to, you can watch the violent encounter by these anti-Israel protestors on YouTube here.  The third point I’d like to make is this: If you have watched the 33 second film clip, you will have noticed the chants they are shouting: “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea” repeated continuously.  This chant and these words are a regular feature in these anti-Semitic and anti-Israel gatherings.  Now what do they mean by this?  Well the river is the River Jordon and the sea means the Mediterranean Sea… meaning they want Israel wiped off the face of the earth – as Israel sits between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.  But this is turn brings with it another two issues that need addressing.  Firstly, it shows their own ignorance of the situation.  Many believe the modern Arab Palestinians are the same people as what the Bible refers to as the Philistines, however, historical facts show that the Philistines were a Greek sea faring people from around 1200 BC. Those ‘Sea Peoples’ did not evolve into any Arab people, but in fact became extinct around 3000 years ago or the early Roman period at the latest, as I wrote recently. 

So where did the name Palestine in relation to the land of Israel come from? Well, in the 2nd century AD, the Romans crushed the revolt of Shimon Bar Kokhba (132 AD), during which Jerusalem and Judea were re-taken by the Romans and it was they, the Romans who renamed Israel Palaestina in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel.  Even under the Ottoman Empire (1517-1917), the term Palestine was used as a general term to describe the land south of Syria; it was not an official designation. In fact, many Ottomans and Arabs who lived in Palestine during this time period referred to the area as "Southern Syria" and not as "Palestine."  The word has nothing to do with modern Arab Palestinians – this is a myth – it’s a modern invention by PLO terrorist Yasser Arafat in 1964.  Up until then, anyone referred to as a Palestinian would have meant the Jewish people.  The second issue that needs addressing is this: These pro-Palestinian protestors – or rather anti-Israel protestors - are not ranting and being abusive against those such as myself – Christians who support Israel.  They are not even ranting and being abusive against Israel or the Jewish people – even if their actions are anti-Semitic.  It is actually the LORD God Himself who these protestors are opposing (check out Psalm 105 and many other Scriptures to see why).  Therefore it is our duty to pray even for those who use hate and lies to promote their cause.

Is the pressure on to replace Abbas?    According to sources, the Arab League is pressing Mahmoud Abbas for someone to take his place as Palestinian president. In an article on November 16, 2016, the independent Egyptian Islamic daily newspaper Al-Misriyyoun published a report on this issue, according to which Abu Al-Gheit presented Mahmoud Abbas with the names of three possible successors.  These potential successors would be Nasser Al-Qidwa; Marwan Al-Barghouti, and Dahlan. The newspaper explained that the Arab countries, and particularly Egypt, were insistent on lining up a successor to ‘Abbas because if ‘Abbas left the political scene without naming one, the post of Palestinian Authority (PA) president could go to Hamas official Aziz Dweik, giving Hamas a foothold in the PA leadership.

As I mentioned in last week’s report, Hamas is recognised in many countries as a Terrorist organisation, and its officials boast of rocket factories operating day and night. Hamas are upgrading their arsenal with longer range missiles. Hamas is also rebuilding its network of terror tunnels that are leading straight into the heart of Israeli towns and cities.  Yet are the PA any better? When the PA leadership is not demanding Israel give more land away, it is inciting its own people to carry out terrorist attacks against the Jewish nation, as we have seen from the recent terrorist attacks in Israel.  Instead of working to improve the lives of the Arab Palestinians, the PA encourages terror by providing stipends for terrorists and their families. The more horrific the attack the higher the reward. The payments can be up to three thousand five hundred dollars per month, and this in a place where the average salary is just over six hundred dollars. Numerous terrorists have admitted to committing heinous acts of terror in order to qualify for a lifetime stipend “awarded” only to those who spend at least five years in Israeli prison.  For the Arab Palestinians, terror pays and it is their leadership that rewards the taking of innocent life with lots of European tax payer’s money.

The other main issue is of course, Abbas should have stepped down years ago. Abbas has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since November 11, 2004 and has been Palestinian ‘president’ since January 15, 2005.  Abbas, a member of the Fatah party, should have served only four years, however since taking over from Yasser Arafat, he has never held elections.  Mahmoud Abbas was elected in January 2005 to serve as President of the PA until January 2009 but Abbas extended his term until 2010, citing PLO constitution. As a result, Fatah’s main rival, Hamas announced that it would not recognize the extension or view Abbas as rightful president. Abbas was also chosen as the President of the ‘State of Palestine’ (even though no such state officially exists) by the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council on 23 November 2008, a job he had held unofficially since 8 May 2005.

The problem is however, who would take the place of Abbas and what ‘political’ qualifications do his proposed replacements have?  As mentioned, these potential successors would be Nasser Al-Qidwa; Marwan Al-Barghouti, and Mohammed Dahlan.  Nasser Al-Qidwa is a former PA foreign minister but also former leader Arafat’s nephew – talk about ‘keeping it in the family’.  As for Senior Fatah member Marwan Al-Barghouti, he is serving five life sentences in Israel for orchestrating terrorist attacks during the second intifada.  That leaves Mohammed Dahlan.  In 1981 Dahlan helped to establish the Gaza branch of the Fatah Youth Movement Fatah Hawks in the Gaza Strip. Between 1981 and 1986, he was arrested by Israel 11 times for his leading role in the movement. 

David Soakell      

(WoZ News Report Correspondent) 

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