Well after the vote Trump did cut $285 Million dollars from the UN in December and now after a vicious anti Trump speech of Mahmoud Abbas the US will now be cutting a total of $110 million from the UNRWA.
Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News, this is John Billington with you this week.
The scriptures are clear that in the last days all the nations will unite against Israel
“And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel” - Ezekiel 38:16
“For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.” - Joel 3:1,2
Well there is no better place to see the nations uniting against Israel than at the UN, it really is incredible. But as the funding is being cut to UNRWA I thought it would be a good time to put the spotlight there.
Two refugee agencies - UNHRC & UNRWA
UNHRC is the UN agency for refugee’s around the world, but UNRWA is the UN refugee agency for only the Palestinians, the only refugee group to have their own agency. And by having a separate agency just for the Palestinians coincidentally means that not all things are equal. To start with the definition of a refugee differs wildly.
Definition of a Palestinian refugee from the UNRWA Website -
“Palestine refugees are defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”
UNRWA services are available to all those living in its area of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance. The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including adopted children, are also eligible for registration. When the Agency began operations in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, some 5 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.”
On a side note it is worth noting that there were approximately 800,000 Jewish refugee’s from Arab lands that had to flee after WWII and the declaration of the State of Israel. They were however integrated into Israel very quickly. There are no longer any Jewish refugees.
Comparatively the definition from the UNHRC of a refugee is simply the following:
“A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.”
The following paragraph about descendants is absent. This definition has huge impacts to the Israeli Palestinian problem because there are only approximately 30,000 individuals left that were personally displaced in 1946 - 1948. Instead by calculating in the descendants the UNRWA is claiming 5 million refugees.
In any peace negotiations the “right of return” of these refugees is a major sticking point. The “right of return” when you are speaking about 5 million refugee’s coming into Israel obviously has huge implications to the demographics of Israel, and could quickly removed the Jewishness of the state. It is simply a demographic weapon against Israel.
It is maybe no surprise then that many in the US and Israel, including Netanyahu are calling for UNRWA to be either majorly overhauled or replaced. In fact many are recommending that the funds should go through UNHRC which would remove the major “right of return” problem for Israel as many refugees would no longer be classified as refugees, and would not be held in camps waiting for the day when they can move into Israel. Although lets be clear, its not like the UNHRC is friendly to Israel as there is no UN body that is friendly to Israel.
But of course for anyone who is feeding this situation with the plan of upsetting the demographics in Israel the US declaration of Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, and then the cut in funding is going to be rather angry about these developments.
Enter Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinians who lashed out in an unprecedented speech against Israel, the United States, and President Trump. Some called the decision defiant, others simply bitter. Of Israel he said that “Israel is a colonial project with no connection whatsoever to the Jews.” and that Israel was a European colonial plot to control the Middle East.
Of the United States and Trump he said that “we told Trump we will not accept his project, the ‘deal of the century,’ which has become the ‘slap of the century,’” and then said “But we will slap back.” And getting personal with Trump he said “May God demolish your house.”
Many in Israel were thankful for Abbas’ speech as it exposed what is really behind his moderate mask. Many condemned the speech but the EU spokesman of course simply said “our policy is not to comment on comments.” That of course would not be the policy if it was comments that Netanyahu had made, lets be honest! Well it is no surprise that while the American Vice President over the weekend was visiting in Israel, Abbas headed to Europe and secured their support in for a capital in East Jerusalem. This is incredible and is the seeds to the great coming conflict.
Netanyahu takes a selfie with the top Bollywood actors in India!
Many things for Israel are changing. Its support that it is receiving from America is unprecedented under President Trump, its friendship with the southern Arab states is slowly building, and interestingly Israel is also becoming very close with India. This is not something that we will spend much time on this week but many Bible students have looked at India as an eastern Tarshish.
In scripture we do find a Tarshish in the west and a Tarshish in the east. Great Britain is seen as a western Tarshish due to its being a maritime power that had a huge empire, the presence of all the metals that are mentioned in scripture as being minded there, along with the ancient mines to prove it was happening, and lastly because of its historic support and protection of the Jews at the time of the Balfour declaration. The description of an eastern Tarshish in scripture is not something that we often speak of however, but look at the words in 2 Chronicles 9:21 “For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.” Based in this passage India with British connections is understood to be that Eastern Tarshish. It is of note that the Indian soldiers were there in 1917 to help the British liberate Jerusalem, and this was highlighted by the Indian Prime Minister Modi in his visit last year to Israel when he gifted a picture of the event to Netanyahu.
So it is of great interest when this last week Benjamin Netanyahu visited India and received an almost overwhelming welcome. Billion dollar arms deals were signed and Netanyahu and Modi were “all hugs and handshakes” as Modi unexpectedly showed up at the airport to welcome Netanyahu saying “Welcome to India my dear friend.” Netanyahu’s visit, Modi said, “is a long-anticipated moment in the journey of friendship between India and Israel. Your visit is also a fitting climax to the commemoration of 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.” Although there have been 25 years of diplomatic relations Netanyahu said “something different is happening now because of your leadership and because of our partnership.”
Vice President Mike Pence on his trip to Israel.
While we are speaking about the young lions, Vice President Mike Pence who hails from the eldest of the young lions, the United States of America was in Israel this past weekend. During his time he gave the first speech ever by a vice president of America to the Israeli Keneset. It really was a very remarkable speech, full of strong language of support for Israel including doubling down on the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and along with a number of Biblical references he literally put the Bible into the news this week!
What makes it so remarkable is that in these last days when society is throwing off the Bible the Almighty God has provided a friend for his people in the United States. We may ask what is behind this friendship, well as Mr Pence will mention its roots are in the Hebrew Bible. We will close with some excerpts from that speech:
Clips from Mike Pence’s speech in the Keneset. To hear please listen to on www.bibleinthenews.com
Clearly Mike Pence heard the word of the Lord that was declared to the nations afar off, those distant coastlands (Jer 31:10)!
Come back again next week for another edition of the Bible of the News.