A few months ago, as our tour bus turned a sharp corner high in the Golan Heights, a United Nations camp came suddenly into view in the valley below us.
It was neat, orderly and flying a crisp United Nations flag.
Our bus went silent as all of us onboard were suddenly reminded of war, attacks of terror and the constant state of tension that seems to envelop the Middle East.
“Ah,” the tour guide said into his open microphone. “Look below us. It’s the United Nothings!”
The bus broke into nervous laughter and our guide soon returned our attention to biblical pursuits.
Unfortunately, Israel and the UN have come back into sharp focus in recent days with yet another resolution condemning Israel for building homes and communities in its biblical homeland.
Resolution 2334 was adopted two days before Christmas only because the United States abstained from the vote and elected not to veto it. Outrage from Israel and supporters of Israel was immediately sounded, but outgoing President Barak Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry both insisted that the condemnation of Israel’s “settlement” policies would lead to peace in the Middle East.
There have been nearly 300 UN resolutions against Israel in the past 68 years and none of them have led to anything remotely resembling peace. It’s hard to remember that the modern day State of Israel was actually formed by the United Nations, in 1948. Since then, enemies of Israel have routinely used the UN to put political pressure on the Jewish nation.
When Israel has won territory in hard-fought wars, the UN has demanded that captured land be given back to the very people who had attacked or threatened Israel in the first place. Even in this most recent resolution, there is an insistence that Israel honor territorial boundaries in existence before the Six-Day War in 1967. With millions of people already living beyond those borders, it is an idea literally impossible to put into practice without war.
Why would this be of interest to anyone outside of Israel or to readers of the Bible?
Search the history of those pre-1967 borders. You’ll quickly find photographs that show a heavily guarded border near the Old City of Jerusalem called the “Green Line.” Jordanian forces were on one side of the Green Line. Israeli forces were on the other.
Christians who wanted to see the Garden of Gethsemane or walk the Via Dolorosa could cross into “East Jerusalem” and visit their holy sites. Jewish people could not cross the same line and visit their beloved Western Wall. Christians could spend the night in Jerusalem. Jewish people risked their lives if they dared sneak into the Old City even for a moment.
In 1967, as Israel was surrounded on every border by enemies threatening to eliminate it, Jewish forces stunned the world by decimating Egypt’s air force, taking the Sinai Peninsula, securing the Golan Heights and capturing Jerusalem from Jordan.
As a result of Israel’s subsequent “occupation” of Jerusalem, people of all faiths have been able to visit the Old City. Thousands of Jewish people live there. Every day, Christians walk down the Mount of Olives and visit the Garden Tomb.
And though Israel could have done to its enemies as its enemies had done to Israel, Muslims are also free to walk about on the Temple Mount, worship at dozens of mosques around the city, carry on business and live in their Jerusalem homes. Israeli leaders even asked Jordan to return to Jerusalem to exercise control over the Temple Mount and the sacred Islamic buildings that stand there.
The United Nations has repeatedly proclaimed Jerusalem to be an international city, open to people of all faiths. Under Jewish control – and only under Jewish control – it has been exactly that.
If Jerusalem should somehow be taken from Israel, Christians around the world should not be surprised to find that they, too, might one day be forbidden from visiting the city.
Think that’s not possible? Better think again. Radical Islamic groups have proven their willingness to destroy historic and holy sites in other lands. Arab nations have proven their inability to stop such travesties. Only Israel has successfully maintained a free and democratic society in the Middle East. Only Israel has kept Jerusalem open to all of us.
The UN should applaud such freedom and respect for all religious beliefs, not condemn it! And by all means, the United States should stand with Israel and see through these thinly veiled attacks on our only ally in the Middle East.
If 300 or so UN resolutions haven’t forced Israel to bow to the will of its enemies, I wouldn’t expect this latest condemnation to have any impact either. It is, indeed, yet another action from the United Nothings.
As a new administration takes office in Washington D.C., Christians and Jews alike should hope and pray that America will stand with Israel, and not abandon her.
Andy Cook is a resident of Peach County and the founder of Experience Israel Now.