Is it because when ‘God’ created this land, with its sweeping landscapes, its proud hills, its sweet streams, its succulent figs, its crunchy grapes, its juicy oranges and its mighty olive trees he was overwhelmed with its beauty? Maybe because of all this he decided to call this land his own and, as such, plagued it or blessed it from here to eternity.
The people who follow this God – ‘the people of the book’ – Jews, Christians and Muslims – have each had a different claim and a different relationship with the Holy Land. Through history this relationship, based on religious affiliation and fervour has plagued Palestine and soaked it in rivers of blood.
The recent manifestation of all this is the imported Jewish Zionists into the Holy Land. We all know about the Zionist movement of the late nineteenth century and the desire to usurp Palestine and call the land their own. We also know the enormous efforts that were employed by the Christian Zionists to make this Jewish Zionist project a reality.
Recent events in America and the advent of Mr Trump being elected to the highest office in the land make a cause of deep concern not just for us Palestinians but all humanity. Mr Trump, his vice President, Mr Pence, his Secretary of State, Mr Pompeo and his National Security Advisor, Mr Bolton all claim to be Christian Evangelicals. For those not familiar with this branch of Christianity, the Christian evangelical belief centres around what is known in their bible as ‘The Rapture’. Adherents to this Rapture theory, and there are some 60 million of them, not only believe in the second coming of their Messiah, Jesus Christ, as per the prophecies, but also he will only appear when all the Jews of the world are gathered in Jerusalem, where, upon the appearance of Christ they will convert and be saved.
This Christian Evangelical belief was clearly displayed in Jerusalem last year when Mr Trump deemed it to be the Eternal Capital of Israel. There was the sombre, holier-than-thou, Vice President, Mr Mike Pence addressing the Knesset in the manner of a Pastor preaching to his congregation. Then came a real Pastor, Dr Robert Jeffress, proclaiming to the whole world, and I quote, “Thank you, Oh God, every day for giving us a President who stands on the right side of history, but more importantly, stands on the right side of you, oh God.”
It was a message not lost on Secretary of State, Mr Mike Pompeo when he said that Trump must have been sent to us by God.
Then, not to be outdone Pastor Haggee of Texas, founder and National Chairman of Christians United for Israel, gave a thundering benediction, pronouncing that “Jerusalem is where the Messiah will come to establish a Kingdom that will never end.”
Hmmmm. Pastor Hagee, can I remind you of the recent events in your country, where hundreds of thousands of the adherents and supporters of the God-sent Mr Trump shouted “send her back, send her back, send her back”, referring to the elected Congress-woman, Ilhan Omar? Also, please recall, the recent behaviour by Israel, the country that you hold so holy, when it refused to allow Congress-woman Omar and her colleague, Congress-woman Rachida Tlaib from entering Israel at the head of a congressional delegation from the United States.
In lieu of all this, if the Messiah was to turn up with his swarthy skin, dark hair and dark features and land in Houston or Austin or the Carolinas would he be met with braying, Evangelical Christians shouting “send him home, send him home, send him home”?
And if Jesus was able to go home, looking at the Far-Right government of Israel do you think that he would be allowed in?
Cause for concern, don’t you think?
Jafar M Ramini is a Palestinian writer and political analyst, based in London, presently in Perth, Western Australia. He was born in Jenin in 1943 and was five years old when he and his family had to flee the terror of the Urgun and Stern gangs. Justice for the people of Palestine is a life-long commitment.