Editorial - A Lesson From History

by Joseph Hunting

Three thousand five hundred years ago Israel embarked upon the greatest mass migration in mankind's history following their miraculous deliverance from bondage in Egypt. Although the distance to their destination was a mere eleven-day journey from Mt. Sinai to the Promised Land, their disobedience and rebellion at Kadesh Barnea resulted in a forty-year trek through some of the most inhospitable desert on earth.

Unlike other mass migrations that have occurred down the centuries, Israel's was Divinely directed. When the Shekinah glory of God moved the Israelites struck camp and moved with it. When the Shekinah glory of God stopped they pitched their tents and rested. This amazing pattern continued until finally, forty years later they reached the land that God had promised to Abraham and his descendants.

History sometimes repeats itself. Three thousand years ago, after they had settled in the land, there was continual strife between Israel and the local inhabitants, the Philistines (for up-date read Palestinians), and war with the neighbouring nations (again read Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran etc.).

After nineteen centuries of dispersion Israel has again returned to the Promised Land following the greatest bloodbath and human suffering ever endured in mankind's history. And during forty years of statehood nothing has really changed from the conditions that existed three thousand years ago. Militant Arab inhabitants of the Gaza Strip and Judaea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank) are acting just as their counterparts did three millennia ago. In spite of the present unrest in these areas there are many Arabs within the state of Israel who wish to live peaceably with their Jewish neighbours. But to complete the comparison with the past, Israel's neighbours are still warring against the infant state just as their ancestors did.

The comparison between then and now might end there except for one problem that the modern state of Israel faces that their ancestors didn't have to contend with. That one ingredient is the deadly poison of the implacable hatred of Islam for Israel. The Palestinian Arabs of Gaza, Judaea and Samaria headed up by the P.L.O. will not recognize Israel's right to exist. What must be understood is that the P.L.O. is dedicated to the total destruction of the Jewish state. It matters little to them how long this programme takes or what means are employed to gain their objective.

Two decades ago the P.L.O. employed its minions in a programme of naked terror when they ruthlessly murdered eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, they ambushed civilian buses and gunned down the occupants, then cold-bloodedly killed men, women and children in the town of Kiriat Shemona, and topped it off by the massacre of twenty-two school children at Ma'alot.

More recently it has been stone-throwing gangs of youths ambushing school children on a hike or throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli servicemen. Whatever the method, the aim in view is the same. P.L.O. hatred of Israel has only one objective -- the liquidation of the Jewish State.

When this is clearly understood there can be no concessions made like surrendering territory for peace. Appeasement is interpreted as weakness and an invitation to further demands. There is one more lesson to be learned from history. Hitler's rampage through Europe and its awful aftermath could have been averted had there been firm action taken long before Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich waving a piece of paper saying, "Peace in our time!

Never was there a time more urgent for "watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night ... till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth" (Isaiah 62:6-7).