This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord… The army of the king of Babylon was then besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was confined in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace of Judah… Jeremiah said, ‘The word of the Lord came to me: Hanamel son of Shallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, “Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.” ‘Then, just as the Lord had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, “Buy my field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Since it is your right to redeem it and possess it, buy it for yourself.” ‘I knew that this was the word of the Lord; so I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel and weighed out for him seventeen shekels of silver. I signed and sealed the deed, had it witnessed… I took the deed of purchase – the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed copy… This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.” ‘After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord… ‘See how the siege ramps are built up to take the city. Because of the sword, famine and plague, the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians who are attacking it. What you said has happened, as you now see. And though the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians, you, Sovereign Lord, say to me, “Buy the field with silver and have the transaction witnessed.”’ Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: ‘I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? (Taken from Jeremiah 32: 1-27)
Pointers for prayer: Once again as you read through this week’s report, please share with your prayer groups this information and may it enable you to pray in line with God’s Word. Continue to pray into the political situation within Israel. Pray that all Israeli governmental decisions would also be brought in line with the Word of God. Pray that the Israeli government would not give in to the world’s demands, and would scrap any plans of giving up Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. Pray that the Church world-wide would recognise the spiritual and eternal significance of the nation of Israel. Pray for great wisdom & discernment. We are living in days of uncertainty. However the LORD God has given us His written Word to enable us to know the times that we are living in. May all your intercession be based on the correct understanding of the Scriptures.
Watching to see God’s word fulfilled (part 2). To read part one, see last week’s report below.
One of my favourite chapters in the entire Bible is Jeremiah 31. If you have time, read the full chapter, for here lie some of the most outstanding promises of God to the nation and people of Israel. However, it was chapter 32 that I felt I should read for this report. Here Jeremiah finds himself in the king’s prison court (v. 2), having told Zedekiah three painful facts: Firstly, the Babylonians would soon conquer Jerusalem (v. 3); Then the king would become a captive and appear before Nebuchadnezzar (cf. 2 Kings 25); and finally the king would languish in what is modern day Iraq (vv. 4-5). From a human point of view it probably wasn’t the best preach Jeremiah had ever given! Needless to say, as in the same way some Ministers have responded to me speaking on God’s eternal covenant with Israel, Zedekiah did not like what he heard. But then something really crazy happens: Jeremiah receives a visitor who asks the prophet to buy his field.
I can hear Jeremiah inwardly groaning to God saying, “Oy vey… the enemy is taking everything including my chicken soup and You want me to buy a field already? Why should I buy a field when my enemy is going to confiscate it?” Nevertheless, in obedience, he buys the property and goes through all the necessary business transactions to make the redemption official (vv. 9-11). Why? Why would God expect such a thing from the prophet? It’s almost as if God was testing Jeremiah and asking, “Do you truly believe what you have confessed, Jeremiah? If so, you should not doubt that I will bring you and the people back to the Land.”
In 2014, as the Israeli’s, along with the section of church that does believe in the Word of God – wait upon the Lord and watch for His word to be fulfilled – do we really believe this will happen? As Hamas violently refuse to recognise the State of Israel; as Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) demand even more ‘land for peace’ (not that they will truly allow Israel peace); as Obama demands Israel forfeit the Jewish birth right, and as the EU continue to vilify Israel by threatened boycotts whilst ignoring the Islamic terrorist machine… do we really trust God’s word regarding His promises to Israel in relation to the Land (especially Judea & Samaria – or the misnamed ‘West Bank’)? In essence, those Israeli’s who have legally bought land in Judea & Samaria, and who have built their homes there, clearly do believe God’s promises. In some ways I compare the Jewish ‘settlers’ – as the world calls them – to that of a delicate greenhouse plant. Their position might seem somewhat temporary and fragile. And yet as the heat (that of the political world and oppression) forces the plant to grow, the roots are continually strengthened. What are the roots? They are the steadfast promises of God in the Scriptures.
Meanwhile, the battle continues. This week, fearful that time is running out, US President Obama pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to accept a U.S.-sponsored framework for final peace talks with the Palestinians, but he acknowledged that both sides would have to make “tough decisions” to reach a compromise. In essence, Obama might as well have stopped right there, as any talk of tough decisions will be totally ignored by the PA, as history proves. Obama also made a personal appeal to Netanyahu at the White House trying to ‘soften him up’ by offering reassurance that the United States is committed to ensuring Iran does not acquire nuclear arms. Obama then pressed that his administration sees the chances for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as rapidly narrowing. The White House sees this month as a critical moment to advance the peace talks brokered since last summer by Secretary of State John Kerry, and Obama’s personal involvement has upped the stakes ahead of a U.S. imposed April deadline. Obama will next play host to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas on 17 of March.
It’s interesting that the U.S. imposed an April deadline. Now I don’t want to take anything out of context here, and I’m certainly not making any ‘prophetic’ statement, however you will no doubt have heard the various teaching available regarding the seven back-to-back, blood-red moons that have fallen on the first day of Passover and Sukkot, with the eighth time coming in 2014 and 2015? According to some Christian preachers, on three of these occurrences they were connected to 1492 (the final year of the Spanish Inquisition), 1948/49 (statehood for Israel and the War of Independence), and 1967 (the Six-Day War) — some of the most significant days in Jewish history. An interesting cross reference in the New Testament is found in Acts 2:20. When is Passover this year? It begins in the evening of Monday, 14th April and ends in the evening of Tuesday, 22nd April… coincidence? We’ll have to wait and see.
Benjamin Netanyahu however appears unwilling to allow Obama to dictate to him on how he should run his own country and what he should do with his own land – disputed or otherwise. Following many standing ovations, Netanyahu spoke with great passion to the 14,000 pro-Israel activists gathered in Washington for the 2014 AIPAC conference. Netanyahu urged the administration to intensify, not relax, pressure on Iran to give up its bid for nuclear weapons. Regarding the ‘peace talks’ with the Palestinians, Israeli leader urged Mahmoud Abbas to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” once and for all with “no excuses, no delays.” He then quoted from Deuteronomy chapter 30 in the Bible saying, “My friends, on behalf of the people of Israel, I bring you a message from Jerusalem, the cradle of our common civilisation, the crucible of our shared values. It’s a message from the Bible.” Then in Hebrew he read, “‘I have put before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life so that you and your offspring may live’… Ladies and gentlemen, my friends, never forget – America and Israel stand for life. We stand together on the right side of the moral divide. We stand together on the right side of history.” How many Prime Ministers do you know quote the Bible or cite Scriptures? To hear a small section of his speech click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jduISgo5Bqs
Unbelievable – Richard Falk’s wife for Human Rights Council post?
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water (quote from the adverts for Jaws 2 back in the late ‘70’s), the United Nations appear to have devised a way of keeping anti-Israel supporters happy. As Hillel Neuer states (executive director of UN Watch – a human rights NGO in Geneva) in his latest writings, “As UN chief Ban Ki-moon today joins foreign ministers from around the world in Geneva to inaugurate a month-long session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, he should tell the 47-nation body to stop a controversial appointment that will expose itself to ridicule.”
Many of us who stand with Israel were looking forward to the exit of Richard Falk, the council’s pro-Hamas investigator of ‘Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law’, as he retires. On more than one occasion, UN chief Ban Ki-moon had to take the extraordinary step of condemning one of his organisation’s own human rights experts – Richard Falk – for spreading “preposterous” 9/11 conspiracy theories. After six years, term limits finally required Falk to go. But don’t put the flags out yet, for according to Hillel Neuer, it turns out that Falk may not really be leaving after all: the Human Rights Council is set to appoint his wife and closest collaborator to a similar post at the end of the month, days after Falk makes his final presentation to the UN.
Hillel Neuer writes, “According to a UN document circulated in Geneva, Hilal Elver — a Turkish academic on law and climate change who has been married to Falk for the past 18 years, co-authoring many of his articles — is rated first among three nominees to become the council’s next “Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.” …Despite its lofty title, the position was created by Cuba in 2000 as a political tool to attack the West, one of several UNHRC mandates created by third world dictatorships to disguise themselves as victims of human rights violations committed by Western capitalism, imperialism and racism. The first right-to-food expert was Swiss socialist politician Jean Ziegler, a long-time shill for Havana’s Castro regime, and the shameless co-founder (and 2002 recipient) of the Mummar Gaddafi Human Rights Prize. Turning a blind eye to genuine starvation in places like Burundi, Ziegler spent much of his time finding imaginative pretexts to use his UN mandate on hunger to attack America and Israel. He condemned the Jewish state so often that journalists began to describe him, mistakenly, as the council’s investigator on Palestine.”
Sadly, there are many reasons to suspect that Elver would follow in this politicised and prejudiced path. To read Hillel Neuer’s full report, go to his blog page here: http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/2014/03/04/uns-musical-chairs-richard-falks-wife-is-top-nominee-for-human-rights-council-post/. Another website page worth clicking on regarding the UN is Danny Ayalon’s YouTube page. Danny Ayalon is an Israeli diplomat and politician. He served as Deputy Foreign Minister and a member of the Knesset for Yisrael Beiteinu. He also served as Israeli Ambassador to the United States from 2002 until 2006. Frequently writing in Israeli and international newspapers, notably in the Jerusalem Post and the Wall Street Journal, his latest scathing attack on the United Nations can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIRJO9TaaOI
Trigger Happy Amnesty International
Quite a few people have written in of late asking for my opinion on Amnesty International’s latest report. I feel the latest ‘trigger happy’ report needs to be read in light of all the criticism Amnesty International have received in the past years for their claims under “selective bias”. Many world governments have criticised Amnesty International in the past, all of whom have attacked Amnesty International for what they assert is ‘one-sided reporting’ or ‘a failure to treat threats to security as a mitigating factor’. Elliott Abrams, writing about the November 2012 Israeli military response in Gaza, stated that Amnesty International treats Hamas and other terrorist groups with an ‘even-handedness’ that bespeaks deep biases,” citing NGO Monitor’s detailed research (http://blogs.cfr.org/abrams/2012/11/21/amnesty-international-and-hamas/ ).
The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticised the Amnesty International May 2012 report on administrative detention saying it was “one sided,” and “not particularly serious,” and “that it seemed little more than a public relations gimmick.” This is no doubt true of this latest report by Amnesty International – who instead of concentrating on the 100,000 plus deaths in Syria, or the death toll of hundreds of Christians in Egypt (not to mention all the other Islamic countries that have Muslims slaughtering Muslims), they appear blinkered and demand that attention is thrown on Israel – the only true democratic state in the Middle East. Gerald Steinberg, of NGO Monitor, has frequently attacked bias reports from Amnesty International in the past stating that Amnesty International had “jumped on the bandwagon to help their Palestinian allies.” On one occasion Steinberg pointed out that one of the Amnesty International researchers, Deborah Hyams was certainly not a neutral party, saying that “Hyams has volunteered as a ‘human shield’ in Beit Jala (near Bethlehem) to deter Israeli military responses to gunfire and mortars targeting Jewish civilians in Jerusalem,” and that “in 2008 she signed a letter claiming Israel is ‘a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land.’”
In the past, the Israeli embassy in London has called Amnesty International “ridiculous” for their outrageously biased reporting. Another past example is in May 2012 when NGO Monitor (a Jerusalem-based research organization) criticised Amnesty International’s 2012 World Report in a few areas: Amnesty International criticized Israel’s blockade on Gaza without mentioning that the blockade was in place “to stop the smuggling of weapons and rockets used to target Israeli citizens.” On many occasions Amnesty International has criticised Israel for their “blockade” against Gaza, yet failed to mention the thousands of tons of goods provided by Israel to Gaza each week. The ‘Trigger-happy’ report that was scheduled to be released by Amnesty International about ‘Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank,’ which falsely and maliciously accuses Israel of “callous disregard for human life” needs to be read in light of their other reports. According to analysis by NGO Monitor, the report also repeats Amnesty’s calls for ‘political warfare’ against Israel, in the form of an arms embargo. The world needs to hear what people like Prof. Gerald Steinberg is saying: “Amnesty International accusations are reckless, blatantly biased, and reflect the lack of a credible research fact-finding methodology…” Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor has recently stated, “Amnesty lacks the expertise and credibility to analyse or assign blame for deaths in the context of violent confrontations in the West Bank. As in the past, the allegations in this report repeat unverifiable Palestinian ‘testimony.’”
Indeed, in a February 10 interview with Al Jazeera, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty acknowledged that “we are not an expert on military matters. So we don’t want to, kind of, pontificate on issues we don’t really understand.” I think that sums it up. The sad fact is, Amnesty International’s voice, like that of all the BDS campaigners seems to get heard and taken on board as fact, when nobody has actually bothered to check what is really happening on the ground. As reported in last week’s WoZ report, when BBC’s Stephen Sackur asked Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett why he was against offering sovereignty to the ‘Palestinians,’ Bennett responded, “every time Israel withdraws from land, they kill us… Would you hand over half of Britain to someone who keeps on killing you? …For 20 years we tried this direction, in [the international peace agreements of] 1993, in ’95, 2000… and you know what they did? They killed 1,000 Israelis…” It’s time the truth was told regarding this nauseating nonsense from those who would vilify Israel at every given opportunity.
(CFI Church Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent)
Sources: Personal sources throughout Israel, Israeli Embassy London & Israel National Radio