No battle between children of light and children of darkness
Nazareth – Lawyer and General Director of the Baptist School in Nazareth, Botrus Mansour, has spoken out against a simplistic view in Christian circles of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. As the Palestinian Christian writes in a commentary on the Israeli website www.comeandsee.com, an example of this is the view that “it is simply a conflict between children of the light and those in the darkness”. Mansour writes, many believers hate the resistance movement, Hamas and its people, because they are Muslim fundamentalists “who oppress women, Christians and Jews.” They still have not caught those who murdered Baptist and Bible Society worker Rami Ayyad five years ago. On the other hand, they love Israel, the only Jewish state in the world, which was established in order to offer a homeland to Jews who had been persecuted by the German Nazis.
This view, says Mansour, is in opposition to the Bible. Christians must not be too quick to take one or the other side. It is also not helpful to ask who shot the first rockets. The fact is that the Palestinian-Jewish conflict has existed for over 100 years: “There are no good guys and bad guys in this complicated story.” The responsibility for the founding of the modern Jewish state lies with the persecution of Jews in “Christian” Europe. The Jews established their state in an area of which 78 percent belonged to Palestinians. Christians should also not forget that, since April 2001, 4,717 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, including, in the most recent skirmish, a Baptist, as opposed to 59 Israelis. Mansour is convinced that Christians must consider the conflict from a biblical perspective. He finds it sad that many believers view it as an Old Testament conflict, a battle between the “Chosen People” and pagans who have illegally claimed the land for themselves. But the promises to Israel have either already been fulfilled or are a matter of spiritual promises. Christians today must live primarily according to one verse: “Love one another.” Central to the Christian faith are values such as love, forgiveness and peace. Bible-believing Christians must remember that the command “Love your neighbor” also applies to modern-day Israel. As Mansour says, “Instead of blindly taking sides, faithful Christians should take a balanced stand and serve with love as peace makers.” As agents of peace, they should try to persuade those living in the Holy Land to accept one another, knowing that they are all created according to the image of God.