A group of Palestinian Arab activists denying Israel's right to control over the Jordan Valley are invoking the teachings of Jesus by operating under the banner "Salt of the Earth."
It is unclear whether or not the activists are primarily Christians, but their reference to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is undeniable, nor is it the first time that Palestinians, both Christians and Muslims, have conscripted the Messiah into their nationalist campaign.
Last Friday, the group quietly moved into the small abandoned Jordan Valley village of Ein Hijleh just north of the Dead Sea. The ruins of Ein Hijleh are adjacent to a still-active Christian monastery of the same name.
Group organizers speculate that the village was populated up until Israel seized control of the area following the Six Day War in 1967, because such a narrative would fit nicely with their agenda.
Salt of the Earth was established, according to organizers, to oppose the current peace proposals put forward by both Israel and the US under which the Jewish state would retain at least security control over the Jordan Valley.
The group is also diametrically opposed to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, another hint at the Replacement Theology that permeates much of Palestinian society. In other words, the Palestinians, and in particular Palestinian Christians, are the only true "salt of the earth" in this region.
For now the Israeli army is more or less ignoring the group. The army has surrounded the area and is preventing additional activists from entering Ein Hijleh, but is not moving to evacuate those already encamped at the site.
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