Paul Calvert talks with Chuck Cohen from Intercessors For Israel about Donald Trump's peace deal.
Paul: What do Israelis on the street think about it?
Chuck: Well I don't talk to Israelis on the street but I can tell you that in the newspapers it's a real mixed bag. Obviously the left wing newspapers don't like it because they want to see a Palestinian state everywhere past the 67 line, the right wing papers they like parts of it, there are other parts they don't like about it. It's a mixture and according to scripture mixture can be dangerous. There are some really good things that the Trump administration is telling the Palestinians they have to do in order to be recognised as a state and those things are the saving grace because the Palestinians would never do this. Not this generation or the next generation, they won't give up the right of return. Having the Palestinian refugees coming back and live in whatever is left of Israel, they won't give up the pay for slay, which is paying the terrorists who are in jail. They will need to change their Palestinian text books where they teach the Palestinian children all about these negative things the Jews have done, how to hate the Jews, how to kill the Jews. They won't allow a suburb of Jerusalem to be called their capital in Israel, they won't give up the whole of East Jerusalem. On the other hand, most Israelis, even those who are central left realise that Israel needs to annex the Jordan valley for security purposes and there are consensus on the major settlement blocks, need to be part of Israel.
Paul: You are a messianic believer who understands the Bible, what do you think of it from a biblical perspective?
Chuck: Well when I first heard it I was up on the Golan leading a prayer tour and my initial reaction was, this is terrible. We are not supposed to divide the land, but then I felt that the Lord confronted me with something and basically I felt that the spirit of God challenged me and said to me, "If you were around in 1947 when the UN patrician plan passed, what would you as a fundamentalist bible believer have said to Ben Gurion? Except it or reject it?" and I said, "I would have told him to reject it" and I felt that God said to me, " I'm glad you weren't around because look what I have done by accepting it and then he pointed to me Deuteronomy 7 v 22 which says, "I am not going to give you all the land at once, But I am only going to give it to you little by little, lest the beasts multiply and overtake the land." I realised that the way in modern Israel's history we have gotten back the land is not all of it at once but a little bit at a time. Now if we can get 30% more of the land annexed and at least have the United States recognise it, just like they have recognised the Golan heights, that would be fantastic. So that part of the deal I love, allowing a Palestinian state to be created, I hate.
Paul: That was my next question, it would create a Palestinian state, would that be good or bad for Israel?
Chuck: First of all again if the Palestinians genuinely agreed to all of these demands that the Trump administration is making on them, which is by the way the demands that Netanyahu has been making on them for decades. Then they would be left with what Netanyahu and what I call a state minus. It's not a state, they wouldn't have a right to form international relations, they wouldn't have a right to have an army and they wouldn't have a right to protect their air space, all that would be left for us for Israel to do. What they would have is an autonomy and you know what if you read Yitzhak Rabin's final speech at the Knesset concerning Oslo before he was assassinated, that is exactly what he said. So everybody is holding up Rabin as this peace maker who wanted to give the Palestinians a state actually now we are getting back to what he wanted, which is what Netanyahu says, that is the only thing that we can except because they still want to kill us. So a Palestinian Autonomy we can deal with, but a state, NO!
Paul: Have some Palestinians complained because this peace deal puts them in Palestine and not in Israel where at the moment they are in Israel?
Chuck: There is a mixture of terms that you are using Paul. First of all the quote on Palestinians who are complaining are not Palestinians, they are Israeli Arabs. The Arabs living in Israel don't call themselves Palestinians, they may wave the Palestinian flag but they don't want to have a part of Palestine, they don't want the Palestinian authority to rule over them, where the Palestinian authority throws journalists in jail and beats up demonstrators, they don't want anything like that. So therefore, even these radical pro-Palestinian Israeli Arabs in Umm al- fahm were blowing a fit when they realised that the Trump peace plan says that they would be part of Palestine, they don't want to do it and apparently Netanyahu and the rest don't want to see it happen anyway.
Paul: Have Palestinians constantly rejected peace deals in the past?
Chuck: Yes but this is all part of the spirit of Islam that says it is OK to lie to your enemy to further Allah's cause. When you and I say peace we mean a cessation of hostilities and trying to live together reconciled. Peace to a Muslim means Allah rules over all, the only peace there is to a Muslim is under Allah's rule and that means for Jews and Christians for me and you we would be second class citizens, there is no biblical peace being offered in Islam! Non! And so therefore how can you make peace with an enemy who says, "The only way I can have peace with you is if you become a Muslim."
Paul: Can there be peace with Israel in this situation because the bible does talk about splitting the land, so is it against God to split the land and create a Palestinian state?
Chuck: It would be if we were going to split the land. But because we
have already signed the Oslo peace accord the land is already split
with area A under the Palestinian Authority and Area B which is under
Israeli security but Palestinians rule area C which is under total
Israeli security. Now we are going to be able to get 30% more of area
Netanyahu is not dividing the land what he is doing is actually, if he annexes those 30% that America says is going to end up with us, that the bible says should be ours, he is gaining more land. Netanyahu is not the one who agreed with the Peace accord, that was Rabin, we saw what happened to him, he got assassinated.
Ariel Sharon pulled out of Gaza we saw what happened to him, he ended up being a vegetable. As soon as Netanyahu pulled out of Hebron when he was first Prime Minister within a month his government fell, Israeli leaders can't mess with this land. I do not see Netanyahu dividing the land because the Palestinians are supposed to already have it under the agreement we have with them. What he is doing is actually bringing more land under Israel's rule, now of course there's many people who disagree with me, but you are asking me.
Paul: Now the Palestinian Authority have rejected it, Hamas want Israel in the sea, was this peace deal actually doomed from the start?
Chuck: Well in some ways yes. Part of that peace deal is that Hamas and Islamic Jehad in Gaza needs to be demilitarized and Gaza and the West Bank, Judea Samaria. The area has to be one nation, Hamas will never allow that, so there is a real ignorance on the part of Western diplomats who arrogantly think that everybody else in the world thinks like them so that if you just offer the Palestinians money, prosperity, a Walmart in their cities or an Aldi, a Tesco, if you offer them bigger cars and nicer homes that all of their religious background becomes second nature. Western politicians, Western diplomats do not understand people who actually put God first and even if he is a false god, Allah is the controlling factor in most of the Palestinians lives and part of it is that's why Western diplomats don't understand what we are doing here in Israel because we also put the bible first and so yes, it is doomed from the start in that way, You cannot buy a true Muslims loyalty, just like you can't buy a true Christians loyalty or a true Jews loyalty.
Paul: We have already talked about it; will Israel start annexing the West Bank and what does that actually mean to annex the West Bank?
Chuck: First of all the West Bank is the popular political term, Its Judea and Samaria in Israeli terms. Annexing means right now all of Judea and Samaria with the settlements is under military control, except for the parts we have annexed like the Golan Heights and all of Jerusalem. Because it is under military control the military determines whether you can build a house of not. Annexing means it would become apart of our territory just like the Golan where you don't have to go through the military you just go through the local government. Just like Jerusalem where you don't have to go through the military and so it becomes part of Israel's overall control totally and completely and I think it will happen, after the elections if we get a government.
Paul: Now with constant rejection could the Palestinians end up with nothing?
Chuck: Yes, in fact if you look at Jeremiah 12 the last number of verses, God specifically talks about the evil neighbours who inherit the inheritance he has given to Israel and he says to these people who are in his land, he says you have got one choice, you either learn to bow the knee to Me, like you taught my people to bow the knee to Baal. In other words for today's modern terms, you either become a born again believer and submit to me and accept Israel's rule or I will root up and destroy that wicked nation. The Palestinians have no choice, they are either going to submit to the Lord Jesus or they are going to be cast out of this land and then they can go and join their brothers and sisters in Syria who are being slaughtered but the world doesn't care about that because it is not Jews who are slaughtering.
Paul: This deal would create a Palestinian state, Israel isn't going away so is something better than nothing for the Palestinians?
Chuck: Oh this is a great deal for the Palestinians if they would only be smart enough to take it but again it's a great deal for those Palestinians who do not put Allah first, that is what we are missing. It may just be a third of the Palestinians who are fundamentalist Muslims, but you and I know Paul when we look back in history, it's always been a radical minority that was willing to kill and be killed that controlled the destiny of nations. Think about the Communists, it was only a small group of them and yet they controlled the destiny. How about the Nazi's, it was only what, 20-30% but because they were willing to kill and be killed they ended up controlling the nation. This is what we see happening in Iran. This is what we see happening amongst the Palestinians, definitely with Hamas where it is a radical fundamentalist Islamic minority that is willing to kill and be killed that is controlling the rest of course under the Palestinian Authority it's much more a situation of control and power. But it still comes down to a hatred of the Jews. We can't accept the Jewish state because it means that Allah has lost this battle and we must perform Jihad to gain back this Waqf territory, territory that was once Allah's that we need to lay our life down to get it back.
Paul: Do you feel encouraged and positive that Muslim countries have actually agreed to this? There seems to be a change and a shift in some of the countries.
Chuck: Well it is very encouraging, Netanyahu has done a wonderful job in reaching out to our enemies. He just met with one of the generals of Sudan just the other day, surprised the heck out of all of us, it is encouraging. Especially for these nations who have stopped cursing Israel, that if now they start seeing Israel as a blessing maybe we can see more of the gospel going forth. We are seeing the Gospel spreading out throughout the middle east and that is a very encouraging sign and that could be the foundational issue as to why some of these Muslim countries, their leadership is breaking their anti-Israel outlook and beginning to see Israel as an ally, not just Iran's threat. In their nations there is a growing church and from what I understand most ex Muslims who come to know the Lord also became Zionists because they see how they have been lied to and so if that growing church is doing what Paul in the Bible said in 1st Timothy 2, "Pray especially for those in authority." That could be why we are seeing this change. Plus you have got the Iranian threat and that helps us too.
Paul: With the Palestinian Authorities rejection do you fear more violence?
Chuck: Has there been more violence you mean since Trump has come out? Yeah there has been an uptake a little bit but compared to what the Palestinians wanted, it's nothing. I think the Palestinians are sick and tired of being lead to the slaughter by their leaders while their leaders gain millions and millions of dollars and send to all of the fancy universities in England, there hasn't been this massive uprising, yeah there has been a couple of incidents but you know we have been dealing with that ever since we have been a state.
Paul: What is your prayer finally for Israel and the Palestinian people?
Chuck: My prayer for the Palestinian people is that they would come to know the Lord. My prayer for Israel is that they would come to know the Lord so obviously what we do at Intercessors for Israel is called Prophetic evangelism, which is, we pray into the political, the social and the security realm. The reason that we pray for security is because for all Israel to be saved they have got to be alive. We pray into the political because throughout the bible if a king has been good then the nations were blessed but if a king is bad then nations were cursed. We want to see good government. God has promised us shepherds after his own heart when he has returned us we saw that with Netanyahu in so many ways, not every way. He is not a saint he is a politician what do you expect but he has been much better than what most people have expected and when you see his accomplishments you realise he has done an incredible job. God has raised him up at this time. Where are we going to go from here? Who knows? So, our prayer is for God, our ultimate prayer for Israel, for the Palestinians, for the church is that what ever happens, our God will receive the glory, Psalm 115 v 1-3 says this; "Not unto us oh Lord, not unto us but unto your name give glory for your mercy and your true sake." Why should the nations around us say "Where is our God" But our God is in heaven and he has done whatsoever he has pleased. Our prayer is for God to receive the glory through Palestinians getting saved, through Israel getting saved, through his prophetic word being fulfilled before our eyes.
Paul: You give weekly prayer updates and you have a website tell us what your website address is for people who would like to register and get some prayer updates.
Chuck: Intercessors for Israel website address is www.ifi.org.il and yes every week we have prayer meetings and Friday mornings we write up what we believe the Lord has lead us to pray during the week, especially on a Friday morning prayer meeting and send that out as a prayer alert. It's translated into a whole bunch of different languages and people can just sign up for it on the website.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
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