Palestinians: Face Down. . .On The Ground. . .With A Knee On Their Neck

I have been blessed to go to Palestine 4 or 5 times. When I go, I try to listen to the stories of the Palestinian people in the West Bank. I ask them – Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Christians – what their life is like in the midst of what they would call “the occupation.”

I am also blessed to live in an area of the United States where a few thousand Palestinians live. Many of them I count as dear friends. Like their counterparts in Palestine, I ask them many questions about what life was like in their homeland.

I think the picture above – taken during a protest regarding lands being taken – is indicative of how the Palestinian people often feel:

face down. . .on the ground. . .with a knee on their kneck.

The problem of who the land rightfully belongs to in Palestine is huge, complex, controversial, and extremely emotional. I don’t have the answer. At this point, I don’t think anyone does. Even the Palestinians I have talked to have different solutions!

I do think, however, that God has spoken clearly about issues that matter deeply to Him in the midst of the battle over who should have the land – issues like justice, mercy, and kindness.

I support Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism. I cannot condone Palestinian acts of violence toward innocent Israelis. Having said these things, we must all hear God’s Word regarding how innocent Palestinian people should be treated as well.

My heart longs for the Jewish people and western Christians to hear what the Old Testament prophets said about what is foremost on God’s heart (I will give you a hint: it is not about the land – it is about the heart).

As Jesus – Isa Al-Masih, Yeshua Ha’Mashiach – said, “if anyone has ears to hear, let him hear”:

“Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud people of their homes, they rob them of their inheritance” (The Prophet Micah, chapter 2, verses 1-2).

Aren’t these words from Micah – written 700 years before Christ – amazingly descriptive of what happens when the government of Israel takes away the land, the olive trees, the homes, and the businesses of Palestinian people (both Muslim and Christian) so they can tear them down and build “settlements” for Jewish “settlers” from America, Russia, Africa, and so forth?

(A Palestinian man points toward a home demolished by Israeli bulldozers in Arab East Jerusalem on January 15, 2013)

How can Israel continue to build these settlements?

Micah gave us the answer: “because it is in their power to do it.”

The BBC reports that almost 500,000 Jews live in settlements on occupied territory in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, etc. The settlements are illegal under international law, although Israel strongly disputes this.

(the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim near Jerusalem, December 4, 2012 photo by Ammar Awad/Reuters)

I am well aware of the western Christian/Jewish Zionist position that God gave the land which is now known as Israel to Abraham and his descendents (through Isaac, not Ishmael or Esau): Genesis 12:1,7; 15:7,18; 28:13; Exodus 6:2-8; 23:31; Deuteronomy 1:8; Joshua 1:1-6, etc.

But does this position – even if still true today – give Israel the right to disobey God’s words to them through His prophets regarding the all-important issue to Him of justice? And does it mean that western Christians are to support everything Israel does? After all, God doesn’t! He didn’t in Biblical history, and I don’t believe He does now either.

Listen to more words from the prophet Micah:

“He has shown you. . .what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (The Prophet Micah, chapter 6, verse 8).

As I said, I don’t know what a just solution is for the Palestinian and Jewish peoples. But I do know that God in heaven is not pleased with injustice, lack of mercy, and arrogance by Jewish people or Palestinian people or Western Christians. He is not pleased with injustice by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Let us work and pray for a solution that is just and full of mercy for all people – Palestinian and Jewish.

Let us work for peace – for all people – Palestinian and Jewish.

(here I am in Al Quds – Jerusalem – with a Palestinian Muslim friend and a Jewish friend, August 2011)

Jesus – Isa Al-Masih, Yeshua Ha’Mashiach – said:

“Blessed are the peacemakers. . .” (the Injil, the Good News according to Matthew, chapter 5, verse 9, NIV).
“God blesses those who work for peace. . .” (the Injil, the Good News according to Matthew, chapter 5, verse 9, NLT).

Let us see that the Palestinians – a people that God loves – no longer feel:

“face down. . .on the ground. . .with a knee on their kneck.”

(Postscript: I rejoice to see today that Israeli and Palestinian teams are heading to Washington for preliminary talks towards a formal re-opening of negotiations after years of stalemate. I love the Palestinian people. I love the Jewish people. May God help them to work together for a just peace for all.)

23 thoughts on “Palestinians: Face Down. . .On The Ground. . .With A Knee On Their Neck

  1. I AGREE 100%
    Forget to whom the land belong to. There is Justice and Equality that has to exist and to be repeated and applied in our life their More OR WAY MUCH MORE than talking about history…
    Settlements and stealing HOMES right now still Going on by Israel which MAKES the Entire Arab nation Hating the word “Jewish” *I SWEAR*
    But no matter what, The PEACE and LOVE SHALL WIN ! : )

    • Ammar, great to hear from you, a Palestinian – from Palestine! I have great memories of meeting you there and our long, long talks in Al Quds. I will keep praying for justice & equality.

  2. This struggle has been going on for decades, it even has its historical roots. I certainly dont agree with what the Zionist entity is doing to the Palestinians and this opinion is not biased from the fact I am an Arab and Muslim. However, this land of Canaan .. Does not belong entirely to the Palestinians nor the Israelis nor the Christians in Jerusalem, even though the Jews were there first, this land was a place of constant struggle and was not dominated at any time in history by one group. I do believe that peace is possible with minds that reason but unfortunately many people have a skull…with nothing inside. As for the Palestinian groups such as Fatah and Hammas which you refer to as terrorists, I do not agree with you, for I do not see any innocent Israeli outside the borders of Tel aviv. The ones being killed for taking over Palestinian land be it baby or old man…I dont label as innocent.

    • Hussein, I greatly appreciate your response.

      I did not refer to a specific group or groups as terrorists. Rather, I denounce terror by any individual or group – be they Palestinian or Jewish or anyone else.

      I too agree that peace is possible but that many have skulls. . .“with nothing inside”! Actually, the more I think about it, I think a great ammount of people – especially political leaders on every side – have quite a bit inside those skulls but it is not good. It comes from their hearts and moves up into their minds: greed, control, jealousy, envy, hatred, thirst for power and wealth and land, racisim, prejudice, abuse, violence, lying, robbery, murder, war, and so forth.

      Who is “innocent”? If you mean “without sin,” no one. We all – regardless of our skin color, ethnicity, country of origin, or gender – are guilty before God of innumerable sins against him and humanity. In fact, the Bible teaches that we all deserve the hellfire.

      As for babies or children, I believe what God says:

      “Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes.” (The Tawrat, Deuteronomy 24:16)
      “The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent. . .” (Ezekiel 18:20)

    • Hussein,
      I recently was on the website of an American Christian friend who lived in Bethlehem in Palestine for 15 months. He has an incredible love for the Palestinian people.

      While in Palestine, he learned of many Jewish groups – Israeli-led organizations – working toward Peace and Justice. You can go to their links on his website at but here they are:

      Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights Yesh Din is a volunteer organization working to defend the human rights of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation.
      Breaking the Silence Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Ter
      B\’Tselem | The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories As an Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem acts primarily to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories and ensure that its government, which rules the Occupied Territories, protects the human rights of residents there and complies with its
      Hamoked Center for the Defence of the Individual is an Israeli human rights organization whose main objective is to assist Palestinians of the Occupied Territories whose rights are violated due to Israel’s policies.
      ICAHD | The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions ICAHD is a human rights and peace organisation dedicated to ending the prolonged Israeli Occupation over the Palestinians
      Jewish Voice for Peace Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals
      Machsom Watch | Women against the Occupation and for Human Rights Machsomwatch is a movement of Israeli women, peace activists from all sectors of Israeli society, who oppose the Israeli occupation and the denial of Palestinians’ rights to move freely in their land.
      Neturei Karta – Orthodox Jews United Against Zionism The name was given to a group of Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem who refused (and still refuse) to recognize the existence or authority of the so-called “State of Israel” and made (and still make) a point of publicly demonstrating their position
      Occupation Magazine The Occupation Magazine was established in October 2004 by a group of Israeli anti-occupation activists who were disturbed by the growing discrepancy between the grim reality which they observed in the Occupied Territories , and the way in which it was (a
      Rabbis for Human Rights Rabbis for Human Rights is the only rabbinic voice of conscience in Israel, defending human rights of marginalized communities within Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
      Stop the Wall We are a grassroots movement uniting the struggle of the popular committees in the villages, refugee camps and cities struggling against the Wall and the settlements and the efforts of Palestinian civil society.
      The Parents Circle Families Forum – Parents Circle– – Families Forum (PCFF) is a grassroots organization of bereaved Palestinians and Israelis. The PCFF promotes reconciliation as an alternative to hatred and revenge.
      Zochrot Zochrot (“Remembering”) seeks to raise public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba, especially among Jews in Israel, who bear a special responsibility to remember and amend the legacy of 1948.

      I do not know about any of these groups and so I am not endorsing them. My point is simply that there are a number of Jewish people who sincerely care about the Palestinians and they apparently are actively trying to do something about their suffering.

  3. Wow. Some very good questions you pose here. As you say not an easy solution. When I don’t have a solution I focus on what I know to be true. I know that God told us to love the Lord our God with all our heart soul mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. My prayer for Israelis and Palestinians is that they would love their neighbor. A challenge we all need.

    • Steve C, thanks so much. Such wisdom. It sounds like God!

      “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (the first letter of John, chapter 4, verses 7-8)

      “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. . .if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (the first letter of John, chapter 4, verse 11-12).

      May God teach the Palestinians, the Jewish people, the Christians – all of us – how to “love one another.”

    • Thanks very much, Steve S. I hope it provokes thought. It is a huge, huge issue in the whole Muslim world – particularly the Arab Muslim world. We can’t just put our heads in the sand and ignore its significance. The eyes of the Muslim world are always on Palestine, Israel, and the U.S. regarding this issue.

  4. Hi Mark,

    I stumbled on your website by accident as you posted the link on facebook. I have to say that I totally agree with you. I think if we get into the debate about whose land it is then the issues will never end and we will see nothing but an increase in them. Rather than focus on those things which do not matter anymore we really need to focus on the here and now- how to get Israeli’s and Palestinians to live in peace. As you mentioned I think there is an issue on both sides where each side does not want to be the one to back down. Instead we need to realize regardless of whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or anything in between that God would never want people to live as many Palestinians are. I just hope that the peace talks will go well this time around and that there is hope for all the innocent people who get stuck in the middle of the politics and are literally paying with their lives.

    • Medihah, so glad you found my blog site! And. . .may I say. . .I don’t think it was an accident! I pray for people to find it and I believe God answers that prayer. So. . .you are an answer to prayer. How about that?

      I most appreciated this comment you made: “we need to realize regardless of whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or anything in between that God would never want people to live as many Palestinians are.” This resonates with me. I just know God cares about any person or people who suffer from injustice.

      Here are just a very few of God’s words from the Bible about justice/injustice:

      “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”
      (the prophet Sulaiman – Solomon – in the Bible, his book of Proverbs, chapter 29, verse 7)

      Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.” (a Psalm of Asaph, chapter 82, verse 3)

      “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (the prophet Isaiah in the Bible, chapter 1, verse 17)

      “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.” (the prophet Isaiah in the Bible, chapter 10, verseS 1-2)

      “. . .you trample on the poor. . . and you. . .afflict the righteous. . .take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate. . .Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious. . .” (the prophet Amos in the Bible, chapter 5, verses 11-15)

      “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” (the prophet Zechariah in the Bible, chapter 7, verses 9-10)

      Medihah, I hope you will visit my blog often and leave more responses. Thank you.

  5. While there are two sides to every story, it helps to get both sides in the same room talking to one another and listening to each other.

    • Mert, I so hope there will be more listening and less anger!

      “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. . .” (the Bible, the letter of James, chapter 1, verse 19)

  6. @Hussein:
    “for I do not see any innocent Israeli outside the borders of Tel aviv. The ones being killed for taking over Palestinian land be it baby or old man…I dont label as innocent”.
    ITs unacceptable this words, no matter what. If You dont see ANY ISRAELI as Innocent then there is a question of humanity that you have to sit down and ask yourself about it.
    I know Jewish friends from Tel-Aviv (I knew them in Paris, not in Israel, Even though I am from Jerusalem) AND They Dont Give a DAMN about Politic.
    All what they care of is Work, Beach, Sun, Food, Life ect…
    Like any other person anywhere in the earth, JUST Please do not tell me this “Specific” guys are not innocent.
    A Jewish baby raise in Israel IS INNOCENT, its the SIN OF HIS FATHER who sent him to a school teaching him that the Arab are anti-Semitism, without telling them that actually the arabs ARE SEMITES .
    The People who are brain washed (because of the wrong teaching) ARE ALL INNOCENT in the SIGHT OF TRUTH AND GOD.
    If I raised in Israel as a Jewish I would hate you, (Like any Jewish who was raised in a zionist school), and I will consider myself as Innocent because I was utilised and I couldn’t know the truth of Humanity, EQUALITY IN RACE ect in School..
    THOSE STILL INNOCENTS. Its a question of Education, or indeed, RIGHT EDUCATION.
    An Israeli holding a gun in front of me at the checkpoints IS NOT INNOCENT.
    Israeli stealing my house IS NOT INNOCENT (But His BABY STILL INNOCENT).
    The Sin of the Son is not related to his father. (Remember the son of Noah?)

    Peace is quite impossible in Israel because what Israel did concerning expanding the settlements the last few years made no possible way of anything related to Peace.

    But I do CONDEMN selfish uneducated Arab quoting from Hitler lines like (I didnt kill all the Jewish in order to let the people see who they are)..
    This is completely insane, its completely inhuman. And Its Completely CHEAP.

    What Israel Succeeded to achieve is Not Settlements; AND is NOT building a wall in the Palestinian land. But building a wall in the mind of the Arabs. Thats what Israel Succeeded to do.

    A Wall that let the Arab not to accept the Jewish as normal human being. (Even Though Islam had a great part of it talking about Justice, Right of the Christians and Jewish AS OBLIGATION MANNER FROM US and Not a favor.
    Allowing Muslims to marry ONLY from the Jewish and Christians (from the non-muslim people) and relating that to the FAMILY of the SCRIPTURE teaching..and So On and So On…
    All of that we completely took out from our religion, because as an Arab we hate the entire Jewish ..

    I am against what Israel is doing, and I am against any zionist supporting the unhuman way that Israel deal with us (The Palestinians)..
    but at the same time, I am aware of breaking the wall that Israel succeeded to build in our mind…

    Yes, the situation about the land is complicated, but its less complicated that the unbelievable settlements or inhuman way of treating the palestinians..
    But at the same time, I consider Every Person who didnt hold a gun, who didnt have the passion to kill other people..ect..I do consider him as Innocent. And If You think God dont consider him as innocent then there is a problem in your imagination of God..
    There are many Arabs raised in many european countries -without having the right to live their- and their situation remained As Question of immigration. NON Dealed THEM As ENEMIES.
    And that should apply on any Jewish who didnt hold a gun, who didn’t accept what Israel is doing, and who didn’t recognise Israel as a thing that represent his thoughts and his believing..
    For example: Check out on youtube “The Anti-Zionist Jewish of Jerusalem”…
    They don’t even buy any Israeli product, Not Even A BREAD, because they recognise the country as a state against the teaching of the Torah that forbid on the Jewish to occupy Jerusalem until the MESSIAH come (No matter what they believe in, the Zionist Israel is not representing their belief)..

    Look to us as muslims, there is not even a single country that can represent our religion today.

    We are brain washed, the same amount of how the Jewish being brain washed..

    • Ammar, I can always count on you to speak your mind fully, honestly, and passionately! I like that.

      It is important to get the view of a Palestinian who grew up in Palestine. I know from our conversations that you are not against whole people groups – such as the Jewish people. You are very good at seeing the differences between individuals – no matter what their race or religion is.

      We simply must not stereotype everyone of any race or religion. It is easy to do but it is not right. It is not God’s way and it leads to all kinds of prejudice, racism, murder, and wars.

      Let us repent of hatred and anger toward people of any race or religion that is not our own:

      “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. . .” (the prophet Musa – Moses – in the Tawrat, Leviticus, chapter 19, verse 17)

      “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (the prophet Isa – Jesus – in the Injil, the Good News according to Matthew, chapter 5, verses 21-22)

      “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (the first letter of John, chapter 4, verse 20)

      “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (the first letter of John, chapter 3, verse 15)

    • Nicolas, so glad you found my blog. Thanks for reading and for responding. As I mentioned to another reader, I always believe that each person who finds my blog because of God. In other words, it is no accident. I actually pray for people to find it. So. . .consider yourself an answer to prayer! I hope you will read more posts and respond again. You are welcome here!

  7. I appreciate your thoughts, Mark. I had just completed writing a guest post for my son’s blog when I got the link to your post. Funny, how parallel our thoughts seem to be!. This strikes me as funny, because as I organized some photos that I had from our time in Bethlehem, my software kept confusing pics of you and I. There is a link to my post at

    I’ll take you up soon on writing a guest post. I’d love to have you write one for me any time also. You can email the contents, and I will post it with a link to your blog as well.

    • Ron,
      I know you are not a Palestinian but a white guy like me from the U.S. When I met you in Bethlehem, I knew we were kindred spirits. Your love for the Palestinian people was so incredibly obvious to me – not just by your words but by your actions. When we sat in the home of that Palestinian family in the refugee camp, I saw your love for them. You had lived with them! How many American families have done that? When we went to the wall together and you spoke to many of the Palestinian men waiting in line to go to work in Jerusalem, your love for them was obvious. When you spoke about the Palestinian people as we walked the streets of Bethlehem, I saw you get choked up and cry concerning their hardships and plight. In every case I saw the same thing.

      I saw love.

      “Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.” (the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 13, verse 13)

      Thanks for modeling love for me – and for all who call themselves “followers of Jesus.”

  8. To Mark and other readers of this blog,

    I pray for a just peace. I am not very optimistic for the talks in Washington, though. I hope for the best, but am skeptical of the outcome. I don’t feel that the USA is an objective partner, who might be counted upon to place enough pressure on Israel to redress the large power imbalance between the partners in the talks. If the USA were objective, it would have already applied more pressure to Israel to stop the settlement enterprise, for example.

    My concern is that the USA ,having pressured the Palestinians into these talk, will enable Israel to place demands on the Palestinians that don’t meet the Palestinians’s (or the international community’s) standards of fairness and justice. The Palestinians, would then face two choices: One, accept and try to build life on a less than acceptable solution. Two, reject what they determine is not an acceptable compromise.

    If they go with the second option, I think the game is over. That would be the final straw that the US and Israel need to build the perception in the world community that everything possible has been offered to the Palestinians, and that the Palestinians have again rejected it. This will reinforce the perception that many in the world community held since the Camp David Accords. That perception would be that once again, the Palestinians have been handed a most generous offer, and they turned it down. Obviously, then, there would be no reasonable partner for peace. Much of the international community, I believe, is becoming wearied of this conflict. They have invested a good bit of hope in the return to peace negotiations. If, in their mind, the negotiations have failed, I believe there would be a significant reduction in the number of those who have the stamina to invest further resources to seeing the resolution through to further levels. Many, I suspect, would further marginalize the Palestinian community. Any further calls for justice on the part of the Palestinians would be rejected as absolutists whining, after they had been given an offer and rejected it. Israel would receive enough empathy in the international community to allow them to move ahead with their plan for building further facts on the ground that would eventually provide little options for the Palestinian presence in the land. I suspect this all part of the political calculations among Israeli leaders, going into these negotiations. I have this uncomfortable sense that this may be the make it or break it moment for the future of the Palestinians. This is what my mind tells me, analyzing this from a historical view. In my heart, I am praying that justice will rise to new and acceptable levels. I do not have much trust in the worldly brokers of the negotiations. But, I must remember to see, in my spirit, God’s presence at the table.

  9. If we need to give a sound judgement on a controversial issue, we’ll need to deeply study the base of the issue. In Addition, we have to take into consideration that our judgement on a weak party differes from the judgement on the strong pary; I meen the Palestinians and the Israelis. I need to say a lot of words here, as I see it is not logical to talk too much in this issue here… This issue needs to be expandly explained face to face to whom who care about it…

    • Khaled – my dear Palestinian friend, so great trom you! You are expressing good wisdom. I wish we all could talk face-to-face about peace – as you and I used to do. May God bless you and your family in Palestine until me meet again.

      Peace be upon you.

      “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (the Bible, the book of Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 14)

      “. . .seek peace and pursue it.” (the Bible, the first letter of Peter, chapter 3, verse 11)

      “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace. . .” (the Bible, the letter of Paul to the Romans, chapter 14, verse 19)

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