Information Clearing House- November 12, 2023
President al-Assad: Gaza was never the issue
November 12. 2023
President Bashar al-Assad argued that the aggression against Gaza cannot be understood in isolation from prior Zionist crimes. He urged Arab-Islamic nations to avoid fragmented responses, emphasizing that continued lack of comprehensive action allows Israel to execute further massacres, leading to potential complete annihilation of Palestinians.
By President al-Assad
Below is the full text of President al-Assad speech in front of the Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit:
Your Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,
Your Majesties and Highnesses,
Gaza has never been the issue; rather Palestine is the central cause and Gaza is an embodiment of its essence and a blatant expression of the suffering of its people.
Talking about Gaza individually misses the point, as it is part of a whole, and the recent aggression against it is just an event in a series of events dating back to seventy-five years of Zionist crime, with thirty-two years of a failed peace, the only absolute, irrefutable result of which is that the entity has increased its aggression, and the Palestinian situation has become more unjust, and miserable.
Neither the land nor the right has returned, neither in Palestine nor in the Golan. This situation has produced a political equation stating that more Arab meekness towards them equals more Zionist ferocity towards us, and that more hand extended by us equals more massacres against us. Zionist entity knows nothing about peace.
In light of this very clear equation, the aggression against Gaza cannot be investigated in isolation from the context of the Zionist massacres against the Palestinians committed previously, and the continuation of this – without a doubt – later.
In addition, we cannot isolate this ongoing crime by dealing “as Arab and Islamic countries” with the recurring events in a fragmented manner regarding the Palestinian cause. Our continued dealing with the aggression against Gaza today with the same methodology means paving the way by us for Israel to complete the massacres until the annihilation of the people and the death of the cause.
The emergency situation at our summit today is neither aggression nor killing, as both are ongoing and both are inherent and characteristic of the entity, but the emergency is Zionism outpacing itself in barbarism, which places us before unprecedented responsibilities, both humanly and politically, at a minimum, if we put aside the national security of our region.
From a humanitarian standpoint, there is no dispute about our duty to bear a large share of restoring the minimum requirements of life, whether through immediate aid or rebuilding the necessary infrastructure later, but do we continue to revolve in a vicious circle of killing and aid, then massacres, then aid, attacks, then statements? The most important question is: What does the Palestinians need from us? Do they need humanitarian aid from us first, or do they need protection from us first from the upcoming genocide? Here lies our role, and here lies our political work, but if we do not have real tools for pressure, then any step we take or speech we deliver has no meaning. The minimum that we have are the actual political tools, not the rhetorical ones, the most important of which is stopping any political track with the Zionist entity, with all what the political track includes, whether economic or other issues, so that its return is conditional on the entity’s commitment to an immediate and long-term cessation, not a temporary one, of crimes against all Palestinians in all of Palestine, while allowing bringing immediate aid into Gaza.
As for talking about the two states and launching the peace process and other details and rights, despite their importance, they are not the priority at this emergency moment, even though we know that talking about them will not bear fruit, because there is no partner, no sponsor, no reference, and no law, and because it is not possible to restore a right when the criminal became a judge, and the thief became a judge, and this is the state of the West today.
By our will only, my brothers, apart from our demands on Western countries, international institutions and others to assume their responsibilities, they bear only historical colonial responsibilities based on the oppression and plunder of peoples. By our will only, by the overwhelming popular public opinion in our countries, with the new reality imposed by the Palestinian resistance in our region, we possessed those tools. Let us use them, and let us take advantage of the global transformation that has opened for us political doors that have been closed for decades, so that we can enter through them and change the equations, and let the precious souls who rose in Palestine be a rewarding price for achieving what we were unable to do in the past and what we must accomplish in the present and in the future.
Why Palestinian resistance cannot be subdued?
By Shaheryar Ali Khawaja
In one month of war, more than 10,000 innocent Palestinian civilians, including 4,000 children, have lost their lives. However, this has not fazed the conscience of the so-called “liberal world”, which is still busy pandering to the Israeli state and its so-called right to defence. Hitler was condemned and is still rebuked for his actions, but how come Zionists are not condoned for their ferocious attitudes?
Since its inception, Israel has been bent on breaking the staunch resistance of the Palestinian people through its atrocities. However, it has failed miserably, owing to its misconstrued notion of “managing” the problem instead of “resolving” it. They have also tried different tactics like pitting Palestinian groups against one another, i.e., Hamas against the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the demolition of their infrastructure, the establishment of new illegal settlements, communication blackouts, cutting off fuel and food supplies and blockading their ports. Yet, all these endeavours have not borne the desired results for Israel.
The systematic theft of Palestinian land over the years has been the prime reason for conflict between Zionists and Palestinians. Still, the recent outbreak of hostility can be attributed to Israel’s continuous desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque, its arbitrary killing of Palestinians, coupled with its aggressive drive to legitimise its illegal possessions through the establishment of ties with the Arab world. These latest developments have infused a sense of despair among the Palestinians and forced them to initiate an assault in the face of Israeli aggression.
The outcome of this recent face-off has been disastrous for Palestinians, but even worse is the outright hypocrisy of the Western world. Western leaders have not only extended blanket support to the Zionist regime, but have also botched any attempt to bring an end to this war through their opposition to the United Nations (UN) ceasefire resolutions.
Genocide in Gaza: Luxury at what cost?
Interestingly, the rest of the world has shown enormous support for Palestinians and is eager to see an end to Israeli atrocities. The massive pro-Palestinian rallies in the US, the UK and other countries around the world have shown that people around the globe can no longer be kept oblivious through the biased propaganda of Western media, which only shows one side of the story.
Palestinian resistance also thrives on its overwhelming support among the Muslim populace in Arab and non-Arab countries, which keeps the politicians in these countries from recognising Israel as a legitimate state. This has been a source of agony for the Zionist regime, which has been fighting tooth and nail for worldwide recognition.
The penultimate cause of the success of Palestinian resistance is its improvised combat strategy and guerrilla warfare tactics. A befitting example of it is the heavy loss inflicted on Israel’s military hardware and its personnel during its ongoing land invasion of northern Gaza. For instance, one Hamas missile costs Israel roughly $100,000 to intercept, while in contrast, it costs only $500 to Hamas. Thus, even pouring billions of dollars into Israel in aid from Western regimes does not provide them with a definitive edge over the Palestinians.
Albert Einstein once said: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” The same applies to the Western world, especially the US, which has recently pumped $14.3 billion into Israel’s economy to fund its bloody war in Gaza and is also actively guarding Israel at international forums like the UN. Thus, the US must revisit its erroneous policy and should force Israel to accede to a two-state solution, as has also been mentioned by Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who believes the endgame in Gaza should be a Palestinian state for the sake of Israel’s own security and safety. Also, bear in mind that the fate of an occupying force has never been any different than the US in Vietnam or the Soviets in Afghanistan.
It would be better for Israel to come to terms with the Palestinians, or else this endless cycle of conflict will keep on brewing and could engender another big disaster in the region with the potential to engulf the entire world, which would be inimical for Israel.
The Horror, The Horror
by Chris Hedges
Israel’s genocidal attacks, which are killing hundreds of Palestinians a day, including some 160 children, have expanded to shelling the remaining hospitals in Gaza.
DOHA, Qatar: I am in the studio of Al Jazeera’s Arabic service watching a live feed from Gaza City. The Al Jazeera reporter in northern Gaza, because of the intense Israeli shelling, was forced to evacuate to southern Gaza. He left his camera behind. He trained it on Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza’s largest medical complex. It is night. Israeli tanks fire directly towards the hospital compound. Long horizontal red flashes. A deliberate attack on a hospital. A deliberate war crime. A deliberate massacre of the most helpless civilians, including the very sick and infants. Then the feed goes dead.
We sit in front of the monitors. We are silent. We know what this means. No power. No water. No internet. No medical supplies. Every infant in an incubator will die. Every dialysis patient will die. Everyone in the intensive care unit will die. Everyone who needs oxygen will die. Everyone who needs emergency surgery will die. And what will happen to the 50,000 people who, driven from their homes by the relentless bombing, have taken refuge on the hospital grounds? We know the answer to that as well. Many of them, too, will die.
There are no words to express what we are witnessing. In the five weeks of horror this is one of the pinnacles of horror. The indifference of Europe is bad enough. The active complicity by the United States is unfathomable. Nothing justifies this. Nothing. And Joe Biden will go down in history as an accomplice to genocide. May the ghosts of the thousands of children he has participated in murdering haunt him for the rest of his life.
Israel and the United States are sending a chilling message to the rest of the world. International and humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention, are meaningless pieces of paper. They did not apply in Iraq. They do not apply in Gaza. We will pulverize your neighborhoods and cities with bombs and missiles. We will wantonly murder your women, children, elderly and sick. We will set up blockades to engineer starvation and the spread of infectious diseases. You, the “lesser breeds” of the earth, do not matter. To us you are vermin to be extinguished. We have everything. If you try and take any of it away from us, we will kill you. And we will never be held accountable.
We are not hated for our values. We are hated because we have no values. We are hated because rules only apply to others. Not to us. We are hated because we have arrogated to ourselves the right to carry out indiscriminate slaughter. We are hated because we are heartless and cruel. We are hated because we are hypocrites, talking about protecting civilians, the rule of law and humanitarianism while extinguishing the lives of hundreds of people in Gaza a day, including 160 children.
Israel reacted with indignation and moral outrage when it was accused of bombing the al-Ahli Arab Christian hospital in Gaza, which left hundreds of dead. The bombing, Israel claimed, came from an errant rocket fired by Palestine Islamic Jihad. There is nothing in the arsenal of Hamas or Islamic Jihad that could have replicated the massive explosive power of the missile that struck the hospital. Those of us who have covered Gaza have heard this Israel trope so many times it is risible. They always blame Hamas and the Palestinians for their war crimes, now attempting to argue that hospitals are Hamas command centers and therefore legitimate targets. They never provide evidence. The Israeli military and government lie like they breathe.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), which has staff working in Al-Shifa, issued a statement saying patients, doctors and nurses are “trapped in hospitals under fire.” It called on the “Israeli government to cease this unrelenting assault on Gaza’s health system.”
“Over the past 24 hours, hospitals in Gaza have been under relentless bombardment. Al-Shifa hospital complex, the biggest health facility where MSF staff are still working, has been hit several times, including the maternity and outpatient departments, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries,” the statement read. “The hostilities around the hospital have not stopped. MSF teams and hundreds of patients are still inside Al-Shifa hospital. MSF urgently reiterates its calls to stop the attacks against hospitals, for an immediate ceasefire and for the protection of medical facilities, medical staff and patients.”
Three other hospitals in northern Gaza and Gaza City are encircled by Israeli forces and tanks, in what a doctor told Al Jazeera was a “day of war against hospitals.” The Indonesian Hospital has reportedly also lost power. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that 20 of 36 hospitals in Gaza no longer function.
Israel and Washington’s cynicism is breathtaking. There are no differences in intent. Washington only wants it done quickly. Humanitarian corridors? Pauses in the shelling? These are vehicles to facilitate the total depopulation of northern Gaza. The handful of aid trucks allowed through the border at Rafah with Egypt? A public relations gimmick. There is only one goal – kill, kill, kill. The faster the better. All Biden officials talk about is what comes next once Israel has finished its decimation of Gaza. They know Israel’s slaughter will not end until Gazans are living in the open without shelter in the southern part of the strip and dying because of a lack of food, water and medical care.
Gaza before Israel’s ground incursion was one of the most densely populated spots on the planet. Imagine what will happen with 1.1 million Gazans from the north piled on top of over 1 million in the south. Imagine what will take place when infectious diseases such as cholera become an epidemic. Imagine the ravages of starvation. The pressure will build to do something. And that something, Israel hopes, will be to push the Palestinians over the border into the Sinai in Egypt. Once there, they will never return. Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Gaza will be complete. Its ethnic cleansing of the West Bank will begin.
That is Israel’s demented dream. To achieve it, they will make Gaza uninhabitable.
Ask yourself, if you were a Palestinian in Gaza and had access to a weapon what would you do? If Israel killed your family, how would you react? Why would you care about international or humanitarian law when you know it only applies to the oppressed, not the oppressors? If terror is the only language Israel uses to communicate, the only language it apparently understands, wouldn’t you speak back with terror?
Israel’s orgy of death will not crush Hamas. Hamas is an idea. This idea is fed on the blood of martyrs. Israel is giving Hamas an abundant supply.
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact. His most recent book is “America: The Farewell Tour” (2019).
Cruelty, power and forgetting
By Dr. Richard Hil
Anyone with a heart will surely be aghast at what’s happening in the Middle East. The cruel slaughter of innocents, the destruction, the endless cycle of hate, recrimination and vengeance. Bearing witness to all this, day-in, day-out, is a grotesque reminder of the endgame that is more fear and loathing, and endless violence. There’s no respite in sight.
Yet, according to some, to speak of context is to side with terrorists or to indulge false moral equivalence. To suggest that events since 1948 might have something to do with what’s occurring now is, apparently, to neutralize and demean the suffering of murdered Israelis and support barbaric extremists. UN General Secretary, Antonio Guterres has been mercilessly pilloried for daring to refer to the years of Israeli occupation. Mainstream TV stations across Europe, the US, UK and Australia have been cowed by such reaction. Even as the bodies and rubble pile up in Gaza, political leaders refuse to condemn glaring human rights abuses. Palestinian and Israeli commentators are being urged to condemn the killing on both sides, often ending up in screaming matches, as on Piers Morgan Uncensored.
Meanwhile, the US is steadfastly supplying Israel with vast quantities of weapons that are being used to slaughter men, women and children in Gaza and the West Bank under the pretext of self-defence. Hamas militants are still firing rockets from Gaza, there are regular skirmishes in the West Bank, and Hezbollah threatens to open up a second front to the north. Back in New York the UN issues more calls for a cessation of hostilities as a small cluster of nations encourage Israel to carry on regardless. In Australia, Peter Dutton, to his everlasting shame, rejects calls for restraint, deputy prime Minister Richard Marles refuses to support fuel supplies for Gazan hospitals, and Australia abstains at the UN.
So here we sit, day after day, viewing recycled footage of blood and mayhem. The IDF’s claims of precision bombing fly in the face of escalating body counts. To say this in some quarters, is tantamount to appeasement. We’re being urged to remain silent, knowing full well that silence is the enabler of violence and injustice.
Flaccid calls by President Biden for caution in Israeli military operations or for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor have been largely ignored, just as Israel has over decades ignored hundreds of UN resolutions. It has become a law unto itself. The cruel blockade that is causing such misery for Gazans should have been denounced for the war crime that it is. Forget the handshakes, hugs and words of reassurance. Equivocation, carefully crafted diplomatic statements and double speak have served to dilute responses to the horrors that are occurring before our eyes. Contrast this with the outrage of some Western leaders at the killing of the Rohingyas in Myanmar, or the maltreatment of Uyghur people in China’s Xinjiang province or for that matter, the bombing of civilians in the Ukraine. No shortage of condemnation there. The self-serving justifications of the perpetrators have been laid bare.
But when it comes to the current Palestine/Israel conflict, we’re being urged by some to simply condemn, to ignore context, to forget the past. History has been obliterated. This, as Czech writer Milan Kundera observed long ago, is to grant power unfettered legitimacy: “The struggle of man [sic] against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”. To forget the duplicity of the Balfour Declaration, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948, and decides of violent occupation is indeed to cede justice to power, the raw effects of which we are witnessing daily on our TV screens.
We know that the latest cycle of killing — extreme even by recent standards — is a manifestation of violent othering. It also reflects the almost wholesale lack of adherence to the basic principles of peace with justice, non-violence, commitment to human rights, anti-racism and adherence to international law. Hamas and Israel have both trashed these principles.
Richard Hil is Adjunct Professor in the School of Health Sciences and Social Work, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.
Zionism: "Religiosity that deems killing children a virtue"
By Yasin Aktay
In the face of Israel's brutal massacres in Gaza, where every human value, emotion, and principle is disregarded, Western countries continue to support it. Simultaneously, in the streets of Western capitals or other cities, masses are protesting both Israel's policies and their leaders who support these policies. This uprising of conscience is becoming more vibrant each day, even more so than in Islamic countries.
On one hand, there are those who enthusiastically support Zionist Israel's brutal aggression, which targets even infants with religious fervor, and, on the other hand, there are Jews who, in the name of Judaism, rebel against this aggression, considering it a violation of their fundamental values. Furthermore, there are those like Netanyahu, who not only kill enemy civilians, including women, children, hospitals, schools, and places of worship, indiscriminately using religious references but also have counterparts who share this understanding. Zionist Jews, fueled by the shedding of blood, are not content and are determined to spill more blood, even targeting the roots of Palestinians, including their infants.
Is it accurate to debate what their religion actually tells them in this regard? Can we teach them better about their religion if we engage in such a debate? Undoubtedly, when it comes to religion, there will always be people who interpret and understand it differently. Deciding what a religion is based on the text alone is not always possible. What matters is how that religion was understood by people at a certain time and in a certain context and how that understanding led to action. Today, there are varying interpretations of Judaism, just as there were in the early days of the Quran. It is worth noting that the Quran, especially when talking about communities, opens a heading even when mentioning their wrongdoings, stating "among them are righteous ones," reminding them to acknowledge their goodness.
Now, the Jewish violence that Muslims and all of humanity are exposed to may not represent all Jews, but it is evident that they find reference in their religion. Similarly, Christians supporting them, don't they do the same with reference to their religion? If we send some of our historical theologians to them, can we convince them that the religious texts and commandments of Judaism or Christianity are actually historical and do not command killing people today?
Our Prophet mentioned to the Jews and Christians of his time that their understanding had nothing to do with Judaism or Christianity anymore, and they had profoundly misunderstood it. In the Quran, there is strong emphasis and reminders of how they made the divine rule entrusted to them unrecognizable. Of course, we Muslims today believe that the Jews and Christians in front of us distort or misunderstand their religions, which are essentially Islam, preaching monotheism, i.e., not serving others besides God, and advocating for mercy, justice, measure, and respect for people. The Supreme God, who sent the Quran to Muslims, had sent the Torah and the Gospel to the Israelites before with the same cause and content. Whatever the Quran preaches to Muslims, the Torah, and the Gospel preach the same to Jews and Christians. The trust given to them was intended to lead the way in establishing the principles of justice, mercy, and peace, not to make themselves privileged and superior to others.
Israeli Defense Minister Gallant had said at the beginning of the war, "We are fighting with animals in Gaza" (although the legendary spokesperson of the Al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Ubaida, responded to him with an unjust statement, saying, "Yes, you wolves are fighting with lions"). Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, stating that "non-Jews are like animals," put forth a typical expression of a Jewish interpretation. Even the famous philosopher of ethics, Emmanuel Levinas, could not escape this racist sense of superiority rooted in Jewish theology. In an interview published in the 20th issue of Tezkire Journal (2000), we saw the remarkable indifference he displayed when asked how he would adapt all this ethical understanding to the Palestinians subjected to the Sabra and Shatila massacres. This indifference was not much different from the approach of Rabbi Yosef, who considered non-Jews as animals.
Our esteemed psychiatrist philosopher, Prof. Dr. Erol Göka, in a post he made on social media, referring to Gallant and Yosef's approaches, says: "The ruthless genocide in Palestine reveals that the most important theological problem in the world we live in is the belief of some Jewish politicians and clergy that they have the right to determine who has the right to be considered human. If this is indeed the case, where they get this right from, why they believe in it should be revealed, and humanity should be enlightened." Despite the ten commandments of the Torah, such as "do not kill, do not lie, do not steal, do not eat usury, do not commit adultery," what drives them to kill more than anyone, lie more than anyone, engage in more usury transactions than anyone, and do all this with a devout motivation? The Quran answers this question very clearly: "This is because they said, 'Never will the Fire touch us except for [a few] numbered days.' And [because] they were deluded in their religion by what they were inventing" (Al-i Imran, 75). The term "ummi" in the Quran refers to non-Jews. There is no ethical responsibility for crimes committed against them. The Ten Commandments are only valid for the legal relations among Jews. Certainly, by doing so, they have grossly distorted and violated the Ten Commandments, thus slandering Allah.
What we need to see here is that there are people who will never be inclined to such distorted interpretations of Judaism and Christianity, especially among Jews and Christians in the West, who tolerate human rights abuses, and child and civilian massacres. We see that they raise a stronger voice against this oppression in public squares than even in some Muslim countries. President Erdogan's stance, stating to journalists upon his return from Riyadh, "We will not allow this to turn into a Crusader-Crescent war," is both a very healthy attitude against this generalizing approach and a very appropriate warning about the severity of such a possibility.
Even if those who do this actually act with the feelings and motivations of the Crusades.
Religious framing of Israel’s massacres imperils millions
BY YUSUF ZIYA DURMUŞ
References to prophecies, the Bible and the Torah flood the pro-Israel narrative in the Palestine-Israel conflict. Seeking justification for the massacre of civilians in the Palestinian territories, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu often invokes religion. No Abrahamic religion sanctions the atrocities Israel has engaged in the past month but for Netanyahu and his supporters, including those in the United States, this is almost a “holy war.”
In the latest instance of his speech peppered with religious references on Oct. 30, Netanyahu claimed that the Bible says, “There is a time for peace and a time for war. This is a time for war,” as the death toll amid Palestinian civilians slaughtered in the Israeli attacks exceeded 10,000 since Oct. 7.
While European countries do not care much about Netanyahu’s religious references while throwing unwavering support for Israel’s atrocities, some Christian groups and “Zionists” feel they have a like-minded politician in their faith in Armageddon. Evangelicals in the United States, for instance, sided with the Israeli government, almost relishing the bloodshed that would only accelerate Armageddon and thus, the second coming of Jesus Christ in their faith.
One of the first instances of Netanyahu’s reference to religion following the new round of Israel’s attacks on Gaza was when he invoked Isaiah's prophecy. “Violence shall no more be heard in your land, desolation nor destruction within your borders. You shall call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise,” he said in direct reference to the prophecy.
Although a right-wing leader, Netanyahu has been a representative of a secular ideology in Israeli politics for a long time. But his past statements, long before the Oct. 7 conflict began, indicate he is keen on prophecies. Back in 2018, while addressing a Christian event, he highlighted Biblical prophecies were “happening fast” and referred to a brief history of Israel where “exiles returned to the Promised Land, built Zion and the reunited eternal capital Jerusalem.”
Certainly, a veteran politician like Netanyahu knows how to navigate the murky situation it brought his country into. Unshaken by lengthy protests against his rule before the Palestine-Israel conflict broke out, Netanyahu slowly but surely pushed a false religious agenda to rectify his image at home and abroad as he ordered the indiscriminate killing of civilians. As a matter of fact, they are not the ramblings of an unstable religious fanatic but a PR campaign to gain the support of Christian and Jewish communities all around the world.
As countries like Türkiye and Iran warn that the conflict may spread across the region, this may indeed be the intent of Evangelicals and their ally Netanyahu. Netanyahu found an ally thousands of kilometers away from Israel, in megachurches, in the halls of the House of Representatives and beyond, in the United States.
A few weeks after the Oct. 7 conflict erupted, some 90 prominent pastors and religious leaders of Evangelical groups issued a joint statement to support Israel. Evangelicals have more prominent support among Republicans although U.S. politicians appear united in their fervent endorsement of Israeli aggression. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, meanwhile, evoked his “Jewishness” as he traveled to Israel to voice support against Hamas.
John Hagee, a Texas-based evangelist who founded the advocacy group Christians United For Israel (CUFI), was quick to take advantage of the renewed conflict.
Hagee, who hosted Netanyahu several times in CUFI events, was in the company of Israeli diplomats in the United States and prominent Republicans like Senator Ted Cruz as he took to the pulpit in a church in San Antonio, Texas in October and criticized what he believed was the weak response of the United States to the current situation. His son and co-pastor Matt Hagee pointed out that Israel was besieged by biblical enemies with Magog as Russia and Persia as Iran.
Evangelicals, also known as Christian Zionists, believe a second coming will take place in Israel. Among their members is Mike Johnson, speaker of the United States House of Representatives who told an event of the Republican Jewish Coalition that the Bible “teaches very clearly that we are to stand with Israel.”
“God is not done with America yet, and I know he’s not done with Israel,” he added. For Evangelicals, the foundation of Israel by Jews “returning their home” is the beginning of a process toward a seven-year Armageddon preceding the second coming.
Evangelicals support any action to accelerate the second coming and believe that six of the “seven plagues” that will precede the second coming are already happening and the Earth should be ready for the seventh one, the Armageddon, that will take place in the region covering Israel and Palestine.
Professor Mehmet Şahin, a lawmaker from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and international relations expert with a focus on the Middle East, says Netanyahu’s frequent religious references are merely a maneuver to garner support as he needed support and justification “both at home and in front of the international community.”
Şahin noted that “The Promised Land” narrative has always been a part of Israel, even in secular segments of the society. He also pointed out that the same faith was shared by Evangelicals in the United States.
On the risk of the conflict spreading to a wider region, Şahin said it may be the case indeed. “Israel is a state founded without a defined border. Indeed, it is the only member of the United Nations without a clear border.”
Şahin recalled that the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 was the result of the Israeli prime minister’s signing of the Oslo Accords and specifically, opposition to defining a border for Israel. Rabin’s act was viewed by some Israelis as a concession to Palestinians or giving away Israeli lands as one prominent rabbi said back in 2005.
Israel's war on Gaza and the liberal order at crossroads
How can one even talk about the international order and nation-states as rational actors when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu cites biblical references as a rationale for his actions
By Burak Elmali
Israel's relentless bombardment of Gaza, including carpet bombing and limited ground excursions, is ongoing. The Israeli onslaught reached its pinnacle so far on the night of Oct. 28. By cutting access to electricity, water, and communications, the Israeli establishment has turned this war into a medieval-like siege, pushing millions of civilians into starvation and horrible deaths.
Regrettably, a humanitarian ceasefire resolution, backed by 120 approvals against 14 rejections but denounced  as 'despicable' by Israel, appears futile. Unfortunately, the UN resolutions have long been toothless when it comes to Israeli exactions and are not even worth the paper they are printed on. This situation will continue as long as there is a feeling of unaccountability for Israel, given the unwavering American and Western support, a blank cheque for Israel.
Enduring cycle of violence
As the enduring cycle of violence persists, it is also time to question the post-World War II global order. The latter was founded on liberal values to maintain peace and prevent conflicts. However, given the chronic inefficiency and apathy of the UN and its bodies, numerous conflicts are, at best, frozen or, at worse, relegated to the domain of oblivion. For many nations in the Global South, the so-called universal values have become mere hypocrisy. Meanwhile, Gaza is transformed into a nightmarish inferno by Israel.
Over the past three weeks, a chorus of voices from various United Nations (UN) bodies and numerous civil society organizations have echoed calls and shed light on significant observations. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, in their assessments , have pointed to the commission of war crimes by Israel. They cite the use of white phosphorus bombs and the deliberate targeting of civilians and non-military structures, characterizing Israel as an overwhelmingly disproportionality on Gaza. Unsurprisingly, Israeli officials have, in a predictable fashion, accused Amnesty International of "antisemitism," dismissing all their assessments. It appears that antisemitism is a salve that Israel believes can heal every wound it sustains.
Unwavering support from Western nations
Surprisingly, while Israel claims to be engaged in "counterterrorism" and "self-defense," it is garnering unwavering support and empathy from Western nations. Within their repetitive condemnations and official statements, there is a recurring theme of "safeguarding democracies elsewhere." However, these words now stand on shaky ground, with global public opinion increasingly questioning their authenticity in light of the fundamental values underpinning the international order. It almost appears they all read from the same script or its abridged versions.
The contrasting statements and demeanor of Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby in two separate incidents paint a vivid picture. In the early stages of the Russia-Ukraine War last year, Kirby said, "It's hard to look at what he [Putin] is doing in Ukraine, what his forces are doing in Ukraine, and think that any ethical, moral individual could justify that... So, I can't talk to his psychology, but I think we can all speak to his depravity." With a poignant pause and a solemn expression, he delivered a performance that could rival any Hollywood actor's.
Yet, in a recent press conference, Kirby's tone shifted markedly: "This is war. It is combat. It is bloody. It is ugly, and it's going to be messy. Innocent civilians are going to be hurt going forward," he asserted, almost normalizing the Israeli brutality by situating it among hundreds of thousands of wars and conflict in the world history. To the question, "Has the US set or discussed any possible red lines?" he responded, "No."
This example underscores a troubling reality: The United States, which positions itself as the key architect and stakeholder in the so-called rules-based liberal international order, only respects international law when it suits its interests. So, a question arises: why should others respect this order from now on?
Contradictions and double standards abound when it comes to the issue of Palestine. The West, which has long adopted a condescending attitude as a "lessons-giver" on democracy, human rights and the rule of law, is now banning student marches in support of Palestine in Europe and the US under ridiculous pretexts such as allegedly conveying a "message of supporting terrorism." The planned concert in Switzerland by renowned Turkish pianist Fazil Say was canceled  because of his social media posts supporting Palestine. US Secretary of State Blinken urged  Qatar to muzzle Al Jazeera. Even UN Secretary-General Guterres has faced a strong backlash and criticism when he stated that "Hamas attacks did not happen in isolation. The Palestinian people have endured 56 years of a suffocating occupation."
How can one even talk about the international order and nation-states as rational actors when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu cites biblical references as a rationale for his actions, insisting on fulfilling "Isaiah's prophecy" through the ongoing brutal war on Gaza?
Recently, experts debated the BRICS Summit and whether this new bloc could represent a competition to the liberal international order. However, the Israel War on Gaza reveals that the challenge to the current order is not so much from outside that it is from within the system's confines. All values brought forward by the US-led global order are under threat, from war crimes and humanitarian law to freedom of expression and the right to assemble.
It is time to choose. Either the so-called value-based order respects its own values and pushes for a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement based on good faith in Palestine, or it is time to end this nonsensical masquerade.
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