Fatah gunmen stormed a mourning tent in Gaza City on Sunday evening ( November 14/04 ) and opened fire to protest against the presence of the PLO's Mahmoud Abbas and former security minister Muhammed Dahlan. Two Palestinian policemen were killed in the ensuing gun battle, which lasted for more than 10 minutes. Abbas was unhurt, but his bodyguards threw him to the ground as the shooting intensified. The two were identified as Kamal Abu Kainas, member of Force 17, or presidential guard, and Raed Darwish of the Preventative Security Force.
Palestinian security officials said they were among scores of security officers guarding Abbas and Dahlan. It was the first incident of its kind in the Gaza Strip since the death of Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat last week. PA officials expressed fear that the shooting attack would trigger internal fighting in the Gaza Strip and called for calm. The attack occurred shortly after Abbas and Dahlan arrived at the tent to receive condolences for the death of Arafat. Eyewitnesses said a group of 30 gunmen, clad in green and belonging to one of Fatah's splinter groups, raided the tent chanting slogans against the two, who were surrounded by dozens of armed bodyguards.
Fatah's armed wing Aksa Martyrs Brigades strongly denied responsibility for the shooting attack and called for an immediate investigation. The gunmen who entered the tent shouted "Abbas, Dahlan, go away, you American agents." The gunmen, who were not masked, also chanted slogans in praise of Arafat. "When they came close to Abbas, some of them opened fire from their automatic rifles," said a Palestinian journalist who was in the area.
"Then I saw a uniformed policeman lying in a pool of blood. He had been hit in the head. Another man was also shot and killed." In addition to Abbas and Dahlan, a large number of senior Palestinian officials were inside the tent when the gun battle erupted. They included General Musa Arafat, overall commander of the National Security Forces in the Gaza Strip; General Amin al-Hindi, head of the General Intelligence; Saeb al-Ajez, commander of the Civil Police; and Nasser al-Kidwa, the PLO's representative to the UN, who is a nephew of Yasser Arafat.
It was not clear if the gunmen had planned to assassinate Abbas or just frighten him. Reporters for Al-Jazeera and other Arab TV stations at the scene described the incident as an assassination attempt on the life of Abbas and Dahlan. However, the two men denied that they had been targeted, saying the shooting was the result of confusion and over-zealousness. "This attack has no personal or private dimension," a visibly shaken Abbas told reporters in his office in Gaza City. "It's the result of heated emotions following the martyrdom of President Arafat."
Abbas said he was unaware that the attackers had been shouting slogans against him and Dahlan. "I didn't hear at all such cries, not against me or against anyone else," he added. Dahlan also dismissed reports describing the incident as an attempt on the life of Abbas. "What happened was the result of confusion that started when Abu Mazen entered the tent together with dozens of journalists," he said, pointing out that tens of thousands of mourners had converged on the area to offer their condolences for the death of Arafat. "This led to the chaos that we witnessed there." Dahlan lashed out at Al-Jazeera and other Arab TV stations for the way they reported on the attack and urged them to "behave in a responsible manner and avoid sensationalism."
Was all this chaos because of the death of Arafat, or was it because of the martyrdom of Arafat ? And above all, will there now be PEACE with the Palestinians and the Nation of Israel ?
This Sabbath, let's find out what the Almighty God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has to say about PEACE. Moreover, let's find out where peace comes from in the first place.
One of the most popular words on the lips of politicians, newscasters and ordinary people these days is the word PEACE. Second only to the word love or sex, this word PEACE is on virtually everyone's lips. People long for PEACE. We have PEACE Marches, PEACE Conferences, PEACE Processes, PEACE Talks, PEACE Agreements: but still there is no PEACE in the world.
People also long for:
Yes, everyone wants PEACE: but every news bulletin tells of war. The list is long and Iraq and Afghanistan are simply the latest examples. No sooner has the fighting stopped in one place when it breaks out in another. When will it end? Everyone says they want peace; but fighting on all fronts is all we see.
Why is peace so difficult to obtain; especially if it's in such
great demand? Why is it that in spite of all the efforts of governments
down through the ages, mankind is still unable to be at peace? WHY ? WHY ? WHY ?
Man has climbed the world's highest mountains: plumbed the deepest oceans: penetrated earth's densest forests and caves: unlocked the secrets of the atom and even walked on the moon. But we are unable to produce peace on earth. Why is this? We can store vast amounts of information on tiny silicon chips: catalogue the DNA code of every criminal in the world: bounce messages off satellites circling high up in the sky: but we are still unable to unlock the secret of peace.
Commenting on the unbelieving mind of mankind as a whole the Bible says:
|Isaiah 59:2|| But your iniquities have separated between
you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that
he will not hear...|
7: Their feet run to evil, and they make hast to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
8: The way of PEACE they know not; and there is no judgement in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein SHALL NOT KNOW PEACE.
Why is this? Why can't we find the way of peace? Why is every
peace process doomed to failure? Are we trying an impossible
task? It's not for want of money, or commitment, or effort,
or will. Oh no, man has spent fortunes on trying to make peace
on earth. We've attended hundreds of peace conferences, walked
tens of thousands of miles in peace marches, discussed peace more
often than any other subject on the face of the earth and signed
peace treatise by the score. But still there is no peace on earth.
Places like Iraq, Korea, Vietnam, Biafra, Cambodia, the Falklands,
Afghanistan, Bosnia, the Gulf, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, all
remind us that peace is a haunting dream which none of the world's
greatest minds can bring about. That is a deflating, painful and
undeniable fact. Nations may keep the peace - for a few years -
by pointing the barrel of a gun at each others cities - but threatening
another's extinction can hardly be called peace. Sooner or later
the fighting will break out again: trade battles, debt disputes,
conflicts over land, tussles for power or prestige; all these
things usually end in tension and war!
2. THE CUP OF WAR
In the book of Jeremiah we are introduced to a prophecy which partly explains what is happening behind the scenes: a prophecy we do well to ponder. Jeremiah, incidentally was a prophet to the nations of the world: not just a prophet to Israel or Judah. Yahweh said to him:
|Jer:1:5:||Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.|
THE WINE CUP of WAR!
|Jer. 25: 15||For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me;
Take the WINE CUP of this fury at my hand, and cause ALL
the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. |
16: And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.
17: Then took I the CUP at the LORD's hand, and made ALL the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me:
18: To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day;
19: Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people;
20: And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod,
21: Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon,
22: And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea,
23: Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners,
24: And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert,
25: And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes,
26: And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD, WHICH ARE UPON THE FACE OF THE EARTH: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.
27: Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.
28: And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink.
29: For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.
30: Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.
31: A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with ALL flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD.
32: Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.
The Saviour reiterates the same theme when he said:
|Matthew 24: 6:|| And ye shall hear of wars and rumours
of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must
come to pass, but the end is not yet.|
7: For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8: All these are the beginning of sorrows.
|Rev.6:4:||And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to TAKE PEACE FROM THE EARTH, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.|
How true these prophecies are. A great whirlwind of war
is blowing up and nation after nation is drinking from that deadly wine cup of God's Wrath!. The 'SWORD OF WAR' is sweeping the earth
and there is absolutely nothing the politicians can do about
it - absolutely nothing !
3. NO PEACE TO THE WICKED
But why is there no peace on earth? What is the reason? The answer is simple: because man is wicked and sinful and has no wish whatsoever to give up his evil ways; that's why.
|Isaiah 59:2|| But your iniquities have separated between you
and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he
will not hear ...|
7: Their feet run to evil, and they make hast to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
8: The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgement in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein SHALL NOT KNOW PEACE.
As long as individuals, families, communities or nations rebel against the Almighty and His commandments, they will not know peace. That is the verdict of the Almighty God! We do well to pay attention. This fact is repeated in Scripture:
4. PEACE IS A SPIRITUAL PRODUCT
But, you will say, surely God wants people to live in peace. Yes, God wants every soul on earth and entire nations to be at peace. But there are three lessons we must learn first:
|Gal:5:22||The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, PEACE, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith...:|
In short, if you want peace you must tune in to the LORD God of Israel,
the Creator of the mighty universe. That is the first step we
must take if real peace is to be obtained. Refusal to take it is a sure recipe for war !
|Isa:27:5:|| Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may
make peace with me;|
and he shall make peace with me.
When you accept Yahweh's offer of mercy and salvation, He gives you His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Peace. Unless we acknowledge these facts: that peace cometh from the LORD of heaven and earth; that peace is a spiritual product which mankind is not able to produce; real peace will never be ours.
Speaking of the king Asa the Bible says:
|2Chron:14: 2:|| And Asa did that which was good and right in
the eyes of the LORD his God:|
3: For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:
4: And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
5: Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.
6: And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had NO WAR in those years; because the LORD had given him rest.
Speaking of the king Jehoshaphat the Bible says:
|2Chron:17 3:|| And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because
he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not
4: But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.
9: And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.
10: And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made NO WAR against Jehoshaphat.
5. PEACE THROUGH THE BARREL OF A GUN !
Terrorists throughout the world foolishly suppose that they can shoot their way to peace. Religious fanatics ( of all faiths ) are guilty of this enormous error! Using bullets, bombs, suicide bombers, airplanes and threatening bulletins, they vainly suppose that they can obtain peace through war. This is a colossal ideological error. Man will NEVER attain peace through violence. It is impossible to over stress this fact. Violence can no more produce peace on earth than a husband's beating a wife will produce love and respect. True peace is not obtained that way. To be sure, to war with a bully will stop him from beating up a weaker person; but true peace between the bully and his victim is still a long way off. The same applies to violent nations. We may stop them plundering weaker neighbours; but enmity is not eradicated that way. All we achieve, ( though it is better than violence, bloodshed and rape ) is the sullen silence of restrained hatred. That state is better than open war of course, but it's not 'real peace' by any stretch of the imagination.
6.THE ANTICHRIST WILL BRING PEACE !
The world, nevertheless, vainly imagines it can attain peace without God. This delusion will be strengthened when the Antichrist appears on the stage of time. For when he comes he is going to bring what appears to be a period of full employment, peace and prosperity. Speaking through the prophet Daniel the Most High says this about this being:
|Dan:8:25:||And through his ( the Little Horn ) policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by PEACE shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.|
|Dan:11:21:||And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.|
As Hitler did in the 1930s, the Antichrist will arrive
on the world scene and give the nations work. 'Through his
policy he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand.'
and 'by PEACE shall destroy many.' But, again like
Hitler's peace, work and prosperity plans, the end result will
be devastating war and death for millions. That was a counterfeit
peace, deadly from concept to conclusion.
7. IS REAL PEACE POSSIBLE NOW ?
Yes, real peace is possible right now: not to the whole world, or even to whole nations, or even to whole families, but to INDIVIDUALS. As I said above, Yahweh the Almighty God of Israel wants individuals to have peace; but He will only grant it to those who yield their lives to Him and obey His commandments. The following texts make this fact clear.
YESHUA IS YAHWEH'S CHANNEL of PEACE
8. PEACE AT MESSIAH'S RETURN
Will peace ever come to the whole world? Yes it will. Peace will come to the whole world when the Prince of Peace arrives. Until then the nations have absolutely no chance whatsoever of making or keeping real peace. The unpalatable fact is: It is not in man's power to produce the spiritual fruit of peace. To be sure the nations will, periodically, stop fighting; and the strong will threaten the weak if they so much as open their mouths; but that is not real peace by any means. Such temporary spells of quiet terror are soon shattered by war in one form or the other. Nevertheless, we are delighted to tell you that real and lasting peace on earth is prophesied. It will come when the Prince of Peace, the Good Shepherd arrives. And when it comes it will last forever! See The Coming Millennium.
|Ezekiel 34: 20||: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them;
Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between
the lean cattle.|
21: Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad;
22: Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.
23: And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
24: And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.
25: And I will make with them a COVENANT OF PEACE, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
26: And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.
27: And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.
28: And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.
29: And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.
30: Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD.
31: And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.
|Isaiah 9:7||Of the increase of his government and
PEACE there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and
upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgement
and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal
of the LORD of hosts will perform this.|
9. MEANWHILE WHAT DO WE DO ?
The answer is simple: we humbly walk with God, resting in Him, trusting Him totally, ever conscious that if we want peace, it must come from Him. We cannot make peace with anyone until we make peace with God ! Above all, we must never fall into the foolish error that we can fight our way to peace. That is the way of the ignorant fanatic and dictator - religious or otherwise ! That way always leads to bloodshed, sorrow and death. It may bring a short-lived cessation of fighting; but it is not true peace of heart and soul. It is just like two boxers taking a short rest between rounds. Remember 'peace is a divine product' and all who ignore that fact will, sooner or later, be at war with themselves, with their relatives and with the world at large.
We can summarize this as follows:
These steps will ensure the Almighty's blessing on your life.