(This is an edited version from the original reflection/article written 2 years ago.)
It is funny to think that Jesus was a Palestinian: he grew in Palestine, he lived in Palestine, he walked and crossed the valleys and hills of Palestine and even died in Palestine in the hands of the Jews and the Romans. Christians must know that Jesus was never a Christian. And the Jews do not believe Jesus is God.
Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Jericho are located in Palestine and not in Israel or the Modern Israeli State. The Patriarch Abraham’s Tomb is located in the ghost town of Hebron, after it was depopulated less than a decade ago. You can check the original maps but not the modern maps because you cannot find Palestine. There is no Map of Palestine today sold in the open market of Jerusalem. But I was able to have one after searching a small bookstore owned by a Palestinian in Salahedin Street across Herod’s Gate. Those areas/places in the Map of Israel are the Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories of Palestine!
Take for instance Yatta in South Hebron Hills is populated with 120,000 people but you cannot find it in the Map of Israel. Instead you have Carmel and Susiya (part of the depopulated places) which are now fast growing Israeli Settlements. Susiya now is within Yatta Municipality under Hebron Governorate, West Bank. Our placement house is located in Yatta. We lived there for three-long months but as far as the Israeli State is concerned, Yatta does not exist. How come? In place of Yatta in the Map of Israel I bought in Jerusalem, I found a picture of a tamed gazelle instead.
The Original Susiya, now part of an Israeli tourist destination was once a thriving Palestinian community, a big village with their ancient heritage traced back to the historical Palestine which was part of the Canaanite civilization as mentioned in the Old Testament. The original inhabitants, the Susiyans were uprooted through demolition and forced evacuation to give way to land development, tourist spot and settlements. The new Susiya (new place) is located two kilometers away or less from the original Susiya. For the past years, the relocated Susiya Village was slowly invaded by the settlers as the Susiya Settlement increased. Therefore it needs more land for expansion. Just two years ago, before my team left in our placement area, Susiya was in danger of total demolition. Now threats of Susiya Village to completely disappear continue to attract international supports. Just recently, President Obama of the USA warned Netanyahu Regime to spare Susiya from demolition.
To date, with our biblico-historical data, Palestine is the Promised Land. It is the land of abundance mentioned in the Old Testament. To quote Exodus 3:7-8, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV):
7 Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
In other words, Palestine is the biblical Israel which was the land promised by Yahweh to the Israelites who were enslaved in Egypt. Yahweh’s desire to liberate the people from the bondage of slavery and oppression sent Moses to bring the people out from Egypt. The Promised Land is clearly the Palestine. A country established in 1948, Israel could never be the one.
What is happening now in Palestine under the military occupation of Israeli State is similar to the experiences of their ancestors, the Israelites under the hand of the Egyptian Pharaoh. It really makes one crazy to think about that we are taught and made to believe that Israel is the biblical Israel. Many people are becoming irrational, ignorant and naive in believing that it is okay for Israeli especially those with guns, military forces and settlers to shoot and kill Palestinians in broad delight. Many of us were praying that God would save Israel from the hands of enemies during Israeli’s war of aggression in Gaza. How could it be when Israeli bombed Gaza and killed thousands especially children?
We need to be objective in reading the situation, the signs of the times, the historical facts, and learning from experiences of the people as well as from those who witnessed the inhuman treatment of the Israelis in the many checkpoints around Palestine controlled areas or the so-called Area C. Why people of the world especially Christians are made to believe that God bless Israeli’s killing Palestinian Arabs? Not only today but since Israeli invaded Palestinian territories with the aid of internationals like UK and other European countries, Israeli had been slaughtering Palestinian people, occupying more lands, putting them in refugee camps and driven thousand Palestinians out of their homeland scattered in many countries.
No words to describe, how the Palestinians live under the Israeli military occupation. God of heavens and earth and the known and the unknown, HAVE MERCY TO THY PEOPLE! My respect to some genuine Jews in heart who stood firm advocating an end to the occupation, those Jews who sided with the Palestinians who bravely and openly resist their own government. They are the Jews who recognized their roots, they are the Palestinian Jews like Jesus.
August 24, 2016/ 2:36 AM