Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict: What the Headlines Haven't Told You [NOOK Book]


Michael Rydelnik, professor of Jewish studies at Moody Bible Institute,
goes beyond the media images for an in depth, biblically grounded look at the "crisis that never ends"--the conflict between the Israelis and the Arabs. Dr. Rydelnik explores such questions as:

Will the violence ever stop? Who really has a right to the land? How did it all start...and where will it all end?

This revised and updated ...

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Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict: What the Headlines Haven't Told You

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Michael Rydelnik, professor of Jewish studies at Moody Bible Institute,
goes beyond the media images for an in depth, biblically grounded look at the "crisis that never ends"--the conflict between the Israelis and the Arabs. Dr. Rydelnik explores such questions as:

Will the violence ever stop? Who really has a right to the land? How did it all start...and where will it all end?

This revised and updated edition includes a new chapter that looks at the events that brought the end to the Terror War in 2004, discusses the change of leadership in the Israeli government, and examines the conflict within the Palestinian government following the surprise election victory of the terrorist grou Hamas.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802479686
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 385,402
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

DR. MICHAEL RYDELNIK (Azusa Pacific University; Dallas Theological
Seminary; Trinity International University) is Professor of Jewish Studies at Moody
Bible Institute and the Bible teacher on Open Line with Dr. Michael Rydelnik,
answering listener Bible questions on over 200 stations nationwide across Moody
Radio. The son of Holocaust survivors, he was raised in an observant Jewish home in Brooklyn, New York. As a High School student, Michael became a follower of Jesus the Messiah and began teaching the Bible almost immediately. He is the author of
Understanding the Arab Israeli Conflict (Moody Publishers, 2004, Revised and Updated 2007) and The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic?
(B&H Publishers, 2010). He is the co-editor of the Moody Bible Commentary,
a commentary on the whole Bible by the faculty of Moody Bible Institute. Michael served on the translation team of the Holman CSB Bible and contributed to several other books and study Bibles. Michael is a regular contributor to the Day of Discovery television program and appeared in the Lee Stroebel video The
Case for Christ
. Michael and his wife, Eva, have two adult sons who call and write all the time. The Rydelniks live in Chicago, IL and enjoy leading study groups to Israel and hiking with their two collies.
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Read an Excerpt

UNDERSTANDING the Arab-Israeli Conflict


Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2004 Michael Rydelnik
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8024-2640-9

Chapter One

The Vanishing Peace

"Peace, peace," they say, when there is no peace. -Jeremiah 8:11

Rioting erupted on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on September 29, 2000. Soon the violence spread to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and even into Israel proper. At the time, it was thought that these disturbances would be settled quickly and Israelis and Palestinians would make a rapid return to the peace table. That did not happen. Instead the fighting escalated from rioting to terrorism and, finally, all-out guerrilla war.

Today television news brings the carnage of terrorism into our homes on almost a daily basis, with images of the dead and the wounded being evacuated from bombed buses, pizzerias, cafes, and hotels. Often those scenes are followed by video of Israeli soldiers and armed Palestinians fighting on the streets of the Holy Land.

How did this outburst of violence develop when just seven years earlier a remarkable peace agreement had been reached?

On September 13, 1993, Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and Yitzhak Rabin, prime minister of Israel, signed a historic peace accord at the White House.

"Enough of blood and tears. Enough!" Rabin declared in his speech. Then, with a gentle prod from U.S. President Bill Clinton, he shook Arafat's hand. Arafat, who claimed to have sworn off terrorism and to have recognized the state of Israel, promised to lead his people in a democratic government at peace with Israel.

The historic Declaration of Principles, also known as the Oslo Peace Accord, provided for Palestinian autonomy on the West Bank and Gaza and set in motion a new plan for peace and security in Israel. Despite the ups and downs of the peace process, there was a growing expectation that peace would reign in this troubled region.

In July 2000 President Clinton had hosted then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Arafat as they sought to hammer out a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Now, just two months after those final status talks ended (without an agreement but the stated commitment to continue negotiations), violence erupted once again.

The Oslo accords are dead today, as are multitudes of Israelis and Palestinians. Pitched battles are being fought in the ancient Holy Land and all attempts at mediation seem to have failed. Meanwhile the surrounding states are edging closer to a regional war, and the danger of a potential world war looms. What exactly happened? Why had all attempts at mediation failed to restore the Israelis and Palestinians to the peace process?

Newspapers, journals, cable news networks, and Sunday morning talk shows endlessly discuss these questions but rarely give insight. These three opening chapters will attempt to clarify what has been dubbed the Al-Aqsa Intifada, or Intifada II, by looking behind the headlines to the reality of events and their actual causes.

A Shattered Plan: Behind the Intifada

Israeli political leader Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount on September 28, surrounded by one thousand Israeli security agents. The next day riots erupted between Palestinians and Israeli troops. Many believe that this violence broke out as a spontaneous response to Sharon's walk on the Temple Mount. Yet the facts do not seem to bear this out. The situation was brewing for months and ready to erupt at any moment. A number of factors came together to set the violence in motion.

The Oslo Slowdown

The first element that led to Intifada II was the slowdown of the Oslo peace process. When the Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed the Oslo accords in 1993, they agreed to take gradual steps over time toward Palestinian autonomy in order for the parties to overcome the years of hostility. They needed to work together in order to become true partners. The Declaration of Principles called for a final status agreement to be made by May 4, 1999. As time passed, it became clear that the final status deadline would not be met.

The previous year, Israel had relinquished administration of 40 percent of the West Bank territory and all of the Gaza Strip to Palestinian Authority oversight. Security cooperation continued between the Israel Defense Forces and the Palestinian Preventative Security Police. Yet Israel was reluctant to proceed much further because of the Palestinian Authority's failure to carry out some of their Oslo commitments. In violation of Oslo, the Palestinian Authority had not revised the Palestinian National Charter, which called for the destruction of Israel, nor had it prevented incitement and hostile propaganda and was not active in systematically fighting terrorist organizations and infrastructure.

According to Dennis Ross, who was the chief U.S. negotiator under the first President Bush and President Clinton, the United States turned a blind eye to serious violations by the Palestinians. According to Ross, the Palestinians had 40,000 troops although Oslo only permitted 30,000, with weapons forbidden by the Oslo accords. Also, when the Palestinian Authority would arrest those engaged in terrorism against Israel, they would frequently release them shortly thereafter.

A case in point was the response of Palestinian police after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996 opened an exit to the Hasmonean Tunnel, which runs along the base of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This opening would do no damage to any aspect of the Temple Mount and would merely allow tourists to exit the tunnel without retracing their steps. It would benefit Palestinian shopkeepers as the departing tourists would then pass and most likely frequent their shops. The opening of the tunnel had been negotiated by the previous Labor government and approved by the Palestinian Authority.

When Netanyahu came to office, he proceeded to open the tunnel. Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Authority, called for protest marches, declaring the tunnel opening a "big crime against our religion and holy places." Although no Muslim holy places were actually threatened by the tunnel opening, Arafat made this charge to incite Palestinian violence. Historian Efraim Karsh has noted the rioting offered Arafat several benefits and concluded, "The tunnel was but a handy pretext that could be disposed of once it had outlived its usefulness (the new exit has remained open since September 1996 to the benefit of tourists and local merchants), with the PA dropping the issue from its agenda after a few months."

After Arafat's call for action, violence ensued for five days, with fifteen Israeli soldiers and sixty Palestinians killed. Most troubling was that Palestinian police, encouraged and authorized by Arafat, turned their weapons on the Israeli police and military which were trying to restore order.

Historian Itamar Rabinovich then described the significance of this action: "For many Israelis it was proof that the Palestinian Authority could not be trusted to be a genuine partner in protecting Israeli security, that Arafat gave his cooperation only so long as his expectations were met, that if final-status negotiation were deadlocked violence could be expected" (italics added).

by 1999 most Palestinians were frustrated that a final status agreement, as envisaged by the Oslo accords, was not yet in place. There was a widespread belief among Palestinians that Israel would continue to drag its feet to avoid such an agreement. Israelis, on the other hand, felt compelled to slow the process to wait for Palestinian compliance with Oslo. Although the Israelis did continue to turn land and civil administration over to the Palestinians, they tended to take a more cautious view of their Oslo requirements. Israel showed considerable reluctance regarding the release of land to Palestinians. Also, restrictions of Palestinian commercial freedom continued, along with barriers to Palestinian fishermen spreading their nets in agreed-upon waters.

Nevertheless, by September 2000, the Palestinian Authority had 40 percent of the West Bank and ruled over 98 percent of Palestinians. In exchange for these substantial transfers, Israel had received the mere promise of continued peaceful negotiations. The United States and many Israelis overlooked Palestinian violations of Oslo because they were convinced that they were on the path to peace and they hoped that in time a final peace accord could and would come.

The Election of Ehud Barak

The second factor leading to the outbreak of hostilities was the 1999 election of Ehud Barak as prime minister of Israel. Barak had been the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces and was the most decorated soldier in Israeli history. Despite this background as a warrior, Barak was a protégé of Yitzhak Rabin, the assassinated prime minister who had been the Israeli architect of Oslo. As leader of the left leaning Labor party, Barak was elected on a peace platform. He promised to negotiate and make hard concessions to bring about a final status agreement with the Palestinians. He also promised to resolve the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon and to make peace with Syria.

Hopes were high in Israel for a final peace settlement for Israel with its Arab neighbors. Nevertheless, the actions taken by the Barak government led not to a peaceful, final status arrangement but an outbreak of violence in less than two years. The reason: Palestinians viewed his commitment to peace as a weakening of Israeli resolve which could be exploited.

Withdrawal from Lebanon

A third factor contributing to the outbreak of violence in September 2000 was the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in May of 2000. Israel had entered Lebanon in 1982 because of the Palestinian terror campaign waged against Israel from bases in Lebanon. Dubbed "Operation Peace for Galilee," the Israeli Defense Forces had sought to clean out the terrorists from that area. They then established a security zone in conjunction with their Christian Maronite allies. This was designed to keep Israeli civilian targets from being shelled by Palestinian terrorists in southern Lebanon. What followed was a long-term guerilla war against the Israel Defense Forces by the Hezbollah, a Lebanese-based Palestinian-Muslim terrorist group sponsored by Iran and Syria. The continuing casualties sustained by Israel made many of its citizens call for the government to get out of the morass of Lebanon. Israel had been assured that the Lebanese army would guarantee security along the border. Therefore, on May 24, 2000, Israel withdrew its military to the border as established by the United Nations.

Hezbollah then claimed that there was still more land that belonged to Lebanon, an area called Shebaa Farms, so its members continued to wage a guerilla terrorist war against Israel. The Lebanese army allowed Hezbollah to take up positions on the border with Israel and continue their attacks.

Rather than interpreting the Israeli withdrawal as a desire for peace, Hezbollah viewed it as a sign of weakness. They boasted that they had defeated the vaunted Israeli army. The Israeli withdrawal gave Palestinian terrorist groups and the Palestinian Authority itself confidence that they could achieve their aims more effectively with terror and violence than with negotiations and compromise. In August 2000 even prior to the outbreak of Temple Mount violence, journalist Khalil Osman wrote in Crescent International, the magazine of Global Islam, that Arafat

has been coming under increasing pressure since the liberation of south Lebanon, which had the effect of a match thrown into the tinderbox of accumulated Palestinian fury. Hezbollah's example has given Palestinians a powerful and attractive contrast, an example worthy of being emulated. In Lebanon, the Islamic resistance's unwavering determination succeeded in bringing about total liberation with no strings attached.

The Palestinians had come to believe that the Israelis comprised a weak and corrupt society that did not have the stomach for continual violence. Thus, terror and violence would be the chosen method of obtaining a Palestinian state.

The Failure of Camp David II

The fourth and most significant cause of the outbreak of hostilities was the breakdown of the peace process at the Camp David II meetings. Israeli Prime Minister Barak and U.S. President Clinton desperately wanted a final peace accord with Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians, each for different reasons. Barak believed that the state of war in which Israel had existed for more than fifty years was sapping the country's strength. Moreover, he believed that continued oversight of Palestinian areas would only serve to incite Palestinians and lead to violence. Therefore, he was committed to a final status agreement even if it required painful Israeli concessions.

Clinton had other reasons for wanting to conclude a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Certainly foremost in his mind was that a final peace accord would stabilize the dangerously volatile Middle East. With the United States increasingly dependent on Middle Eastern oil and with dangers presented by dictators (e.g., Saddam Hussein) and extremist governments (e.g., Iran), it was in the U.S.'s strategic interest to foster peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Additionally, Clinton was facing the end of his term. Potentially, his legacy as president would be chiefly the Monica Lewinsky scandal and his being only the second president ever impeached. Resolving the seemingly endless Arab-Israeli conflict and winning the expected Nobel Peace Prize as a result would go a long way towards rehabilitating the Clinton presidency. The election of Barak on a peace platform gave President Clinton the opportunity to press for a final status peace conference at the Camp David presidential retreat. Significantly, he chose the location where President Carter had brought Israel's Menachem Begin and Egypt's Anwar el-Sadat together to negotiate a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt more than twenty years earlier.

It seemed that Palestinian leader Arafat would have also desired to reach a final settlement, since he would be negotiating with a moderate Israeli prime minister. He could have expected a far better negotiated settlement from the left-of-center Barak than the previous conservative Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Moreover, since Arafat's ultimate goal was the establishment of a Palestinian state, it appeared that the time was right for reaching a final settlement. Nevertheless, the Palestinian leader was reluctant to come to Camp David and had to be pressured by President Clinton to accept the invitation.


Excerpted from UNDERSTANDING the Arab-Israeli Conflict by MICHAEL RYDELNIK Copyright © 2004 by Michael Rydelnik. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Terms in the News

1. The Vanishing

2. The Terror War and the Search for Peace

3. Understanding the
Terror War

4. After the Terror War

5. The Land of Israel: From Roman to British Rule

6. The Return to Zion

7. The Birth of Israel

8. Growing Pains

9. Israel in the Center of History and Prophecy

10. Militant
Islam and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

11. Whose Land? A Biblical Perspective

12. Justice and Only Justice: The Case for Israel

13. Justice and Only Justice:
The Case for Palestine

14. Islam in Prophecy: The Future Islamic Invasion of Israel

15. The Arab States in Prophecy

Appendix I: Key Dates
II: United States Policy Toward Israel
About the Author

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2004

    Puts the MiddleEast in Perspective

    This book gives a broad history, yet many details of events that have led up to the current Middle East siutation. Dr. Rydelnik presents a strong and balanced case for supporting Israel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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