The Bethlehem Bible College has issued an official statement regarding the conflict in and around Gaza. The contents of that statement will be unsurprising to those more familiar with the college, but might be a wake-up call to others who believed this institution’s agenda first and foremost was spreading the Gospel and teaching others to do so.
The full statement can be read here. We aren’t going to parse it point-by-point.
Couched amidst conciliatory language, one finds the typical Palestinian Authority excuse for anti-Israel terrorism in relation the attacks that sparked the current Gaza war.
So long as the “Israeli occupation” continues, the argument goes, what more can Israel expect? In other words, Hamas rocket fire on Israel, while “opposed” by these Christians, is also legitimized as the natural outcome of perceived Israeli crimes, and as such, Israel has no inherent right to respond.
More explicitly, the Bethlehem Bible College endorsed the view that the “root problem” in the region is the aforementioned “Israeli occupation.” Amidst the trappings of an institute of higher learning, college officials declined to do even the most rudimentary of historical fact-checks, which would have revealed that Palestinian terrorism against Israeli Jews began long before 1967, as did the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to which they recently pledged allegiance.
The statement also brings up another interesting point, that being that the Palestinians at large have a very strange definition of “occupation” that the Christians at Bethlehem Bible College seem to share.
You see, Israel fully withdrew from Gaza in 2005, leaving the territory independent. Israel only imposed its current blockade on Gaza after Hamas violently seized control of the coastal enclave and began using it to launch rocket assaults on the Jewish state.
But even without (or before) the blockade, the Palestinians were claiming Gaza was still occupied because Israel maintained borders around the territory.
This is where things get a little kooky. The Palestinians demand independence in their own sovereign territories, while at the same time insisting that Israel cannot place guarded borders between itself and those territories.
Someone might want to inform them that’s just the way the world works.
Nations and territories have borders between them, they always have. Even America and Canada have a guarded border. Now, Americans and Canadians can enter one another’s countries with relative ease, but that’s because Americans know Canadians in general are not trying to blow them up, and vice versa. The same certainly cannot be said of the situation in Gaza.
It must also be noted that Gaza has a substantial coastline. Had Hamas used all that money they solicited and extorted to build a seaport - rather than bunkers, tunnels and missiles - then Gaza would be far more open to the world.
Odd that none of these facts seem to matter to some people when analyzing the situation. But, I suppose old habits die hard. After all, it’s easier to just blame the Jews.