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Three Believers Talk About The Gaza Pullout

Israel Today, editor Aviel Schneider

spoke to three leaders in the Body of Messiah

about the Gaza pullout:

David Parsons, public relations director of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem:

The withdrawal wasnít easy to watch. Families of several generations were uprooted. The settlers need our prayers, and as Christians, we will help the nation get through this.

Meno Kalisher, Israeli pastor of Jerusalem Assembly House of Redemption:

The enemies believe that Allah and Mohammad have won the war, but biblically, I know that God is always right. When Jews are forced to withdraw from their Land, it is only because they have a problem with God. I do not believe in political problems, but rather in spiritual problems.

and Naim Khoury, Palestinian pastor of the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem:

From a biblical perspective, I believe Israel should not have left that area.

israel today: On what do you base your opinion of the pullout?

Khouri: The Word of God and His promises to the Chosen People, through His covenant with Abraham, which is an everlasting covenant.

israel today: Do you see the Gaza Strip as part of the Promised Land?

Parsons: Certainly. The Bible describes the borders God promised to Abraham and his descendants. They run from the Euphrates River to the Brook of Egypt, which is just beyond Gazaís border today at El-Arish [in Sinai]. This is what God promised to Abraham and his descendants as an everlasting possession.

Kalisher: In Ezekiel 47, we see that God describes the Promised Land as it is going to be divided among the tribes during the millennium, when the Messiah returns to Israel to set up his Kingdom on earth. I do believe that the Gaza Strip is included in the lots given to the tribes of Israel.

israel today: Do you think that if Israel withdraws from more territory, and the Palestinians have complete sovereignty, their situation will improve?

Khouri: I donít see the situation improving because for the past six years, the Palestinian Authority has received billions of dollars in international aid and has done nothing to help its own people.

israel today: So how do you see the future of Gaza?

Khouri: There will be many headaches after the withdrawal, both for the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

Parsons: The Palestinians will have more control over the Egyptian border, the seaport and airport. This will give them an opportunity to increase their arsenal of weapons.

Kalisher: I believe the Palestinian problem is like a thorn in the side to remind us to return to God. The problem is between us [Israel] and God, and they just remind us of this problem.

israel today: So you don't believe the withdrawal will bring peace?

Khouri: It might bring a temporary quiet, but there will be no real peace until the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, returns.

Parsons: I think that God is using this conflict to accomplish his purposes. In the end, Heíll redeem Israel, Heíll purify His Church, and He will judge the nationsóbased on their approach to this conflict.

israel today: What should the status of Jerusalem be?

Kalisher: Jerusalem is the center of Godís creation, according to Ezekiel 5:5 and 38:12. In Zechariah 12, we see how Satan will use all nations to war against Jerusalem, but God will have the victory. Jerusalem is the place where He will reign.

Khouri: There is no such thing as [Arab] East Jerusalem and [Jewish] West Jerusalem in the Word of God. It just says ĎJerusalem,í and the city should be united forever.

Parsons: We believe the Bible places a responsibility on the Jewish people to make Jerusalem a house of prayer for all people [Isaiah 56:7] so we can come and worship the God who identified Himself with ancient Israel.

israel today: Dr. Khouri, have you paid a personal price for your beliefs?

Khouri: Yes. Our church has been attacked 14 times. Two years ago, three bullets were fired at me; one hit my left arm, and the other two missed. But Iím not going to compromise.

israel today: How many born-again Christians are there in the Palestinian territories?

Khouri: Iím one out of nine leaders in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Yet, Iím the only one who takes this stand. I donít believe in replacement theology [the doctrine that the Church has replaced Israel]. We love Israel because we love God. We love the Word of God, and we hold on to His promises.

Permission kindly granted from Israel Today to Faith and Reason Forum to include the above article, in its entirety, onto our website. Interview by Aviel Schneider, dated October 9, 2005