Candles and flowers

Kneeling on a Paris street, right next to the place where hundreds of people have placed flowers and candles to commemorate the victims of Friday’s atrocious terror attacks, a French reporter interviews a little boy, maybe four or five years old. Do you understand why these people did what they did, the reporter wants to know.

Yes, because they’re very, very, evil. They’re not very nice, these bad guys,” the boy replies. “You have to be very careful and you have to switch houses,” he adds. “Don’t worry,” his dad interrupts, gently stroking the boy’s head. France is our home, he declares, and we’re not going anywhere.

But, the young boy argues, “they have guns and they can shoot at us, because they’re very evil.” True, but we have flowers, the father retorts, pointing at the sea of people showing their respect to the victims. “Look, everybody is putting down flowers. That’s to fight the guns.” At first the boy is skeptical — “flowers don’t do anything,” he says — but his father reassures him that the flowers, together with the candles, protect us from the evildoers. The boy looks relieved. “I feel better now,” he says, as his father gives a satisfying smile to the reporter.

The above, is part of an article I read today and fits perfectly with the experience that I had yesterday, as I guided a very pleasant group of pastors from Holland.

The theme of the tour was the topographic /strategic and demographic influences on Jerusalem today and tomorrow. Just my cup of tea.

I was able to demonstrate some of the very basic but essential facts that are vital in order to even discuss political and inter communal issues of the city.

We began on Ammunition Hill, the main battle for Jerusalem in 1967.

I think that some of my guests were surprised to hear that all the neighborhoods that can be seen from the strategic, former Jordanian hill fortress, were Jewish and most built after 1967. I explained that 280,000 Jews of Jerusalem live beyond the “green line” in areas that their Dutch ambassador would not visit because it was “occupied territory”. They seemed riveted as they were exposed to this information. I was certain that this did not jive with their conceptions of an “occupied East Jerusalem.”

I knew that the expected questions would be asked sooner or later as we began to feel a bit more familiar with each other..

“So” , I was asked, what about the illegal and immoral occupation of other’s lands”?

I was not surprised that they needed a basic history lesson of the Arab – Israel conflict. I explained how there never was a “Palestinian state or even people”; how Jordan was an artificial creation on land that was designated for a Jewish state and how Jordan illegally occupied the “West bank” when she attacked Israel in 1948 and then lost it to Israel when Jordan again attacked in 1967.

“Why then are their claims to the territories any better than ours”, I asked.

There was no response but one man in particular did not look very convinced. I asked him, “you seem unhappy with my historical and legal presentation”. He agreed that he was not. He said, do you think it is correct to occupy people’s private lands? I explained that every Jewish town and village (about 400,000 people today) was built on government land; land that was once controlled by the Turks, the British, the Jordanians (never “Palestinians”) and now by Israel.

I asked again, “why are our claims inferior to any one else’s? Again, he could not answer me but still something was bothering him. I asked him what it was?

He just about blurted, “so what about the Arab rights, what about their state? What is your solution.

Ah, I was waiting for that, the $60,000 question.

I knew I would absolutely shock these liberal, politically correct ladies and gentlemen and I loved it.

I told them, “They must go”.

They asked me to repeat that as if they could not believe their ears.

I said yes, they will not live in peace with us. They indoctrinate their children to hate us and kill us, so they must go, and we will help them. In fact if the world was honestly concerned about solving the “Palestinian problem” they would contribute land and resources to resettle them. It could be done rather easily.

This really got my Dutch guest going. He said, “why don’t the Jews find some place to go, like North Dakota.” ( I would have prefered southern California..)

I explained to him that if the entire reason for a Jewish state was physical safety and human comforts, yes that would be a theoretical solution. But, I informed him that I did not leave the USA because I sought security or creature comforts. I am here because this is the only land that God commanded me to live in..

How simple an argument, especially to a group of pastors who claim to take their Bible seriously. You should have seen the looks on their faces. I don’t think they ever heard that one before.

They have finally met a real live Israeli extremist, and without horns.

On the way back to the bus, I asked one of them for his assessment of the Muslim problem inundating Europe. He agreed that there was a real problem. And how to solve it? He said ,” we have to hope that the next generation will be better educated and see there are better ways of living together. We must reach out to them and show them a better way. That is all we can do, that is all…”

And if that does not work..there are always flowers and candles.

Such nice people. Pity