Luke Hilton

Judea & Samaria – An Unavoidable Problem for the World

Twenty years ago, one could argue that there was no reason to pay any attention to the place the world called the West Bank. Today, however, it is impossible to ignore, and for Christians, a place that should be a high priority when visiting Israel. The population in Judea and Samaria is nearing 450,000. When combined with East Jerusalem, the numbers are more than 700,000. The Arab population is hard to calculate, but most estimates place the numbers between one and two million. The region of Binyamin, which is the southern part of Samaria, and just north of Jerusalem, saw 65,000 visitors just during Sukkot, and a total of 800,000 visitors so far in 2019. During the festive season that just ended here in Israel, thousands of people flocked to Gush Etzion, which is the region just south of Jerusalem located in Judea. The United States has had a long-standing position supporting a two-state solution for the complex region, but now it appears to be steering away from the controversial stance. Those leading the creation of President Trump’s Deal of the Century have said that they prefer not to use the terminology “two-state solution”. Even representatives of the U.S. Congress say that the idea of a solution for Judea and Samaria is evolving. Ann Wagner, representative for Missouri, and the vice-ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Jerusalem Post recently that she believes Judea and Samaria is just as much a part of Israel as the Golan Heights. Several other members of Congress that were with Wagner on a recent trip to Israel said their idea of two states was evolving. They were impressed by the economic prosperity of Judea and Samaria, the many opportunities that Jews and Palestinians have to work together, and the coexistence that is happening between the two peoples that one does not hear about in the U.S. They said that they clearly see Judea and Samaria as part of Israel. Even amidst so much of the world turning against Israel, and more specifically, the biblical heartland, we are also seeing more and more people supporting and standing with Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. The more Christians that stand with and come to the heartland, the more the world will take note that this is the land that God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob –... Read MoreRead More

Annexation & Elections (Article)

Annexation & Elections – Will Netanyahu follow through on his promise to annex Judea and Samaria? By Luke Hilton (3 minute read) Prime Minister Netanyahu promises sovereignty for the Jordan Valley immediately, and eventually all of Judea and Samaria.  Will Likud win the elections on September 17th, and be able to form a government? Just one week ahead of the September 17th elections in Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu scheduled a press conference. Advertising it as a “dramatic announcement,” the prime minister dropped a bombshell when he announced his intentions to immediately annex the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea regions if elected next week. “There is one place that Israeli sovereignty can be applied immediately after the elections if Israeli citizens let me in. Today I announce my intention to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea,” he declared. Netanyahu added that at a later stage, after the U.S. has presented its Middle East peace plan, Israel would apply sovereignty to all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Prime Minister Netanyahu talked about his persuasion of President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to recognize the Golan Heights. He claims that he is now doing the same thing with the Jordan Valley and Judea and Samaria. “Out of respect for President Trump, and out of great trust in our friendship, I will wait to impose Israeli sovereignty over all the settlements until after the presentation of the president’s diplomatic plan,” Netanyahu said. As expected, the EU, UN, Arab League, and multiple Arab nations as well as Russia, have condemned the announcement. In a statement quoted by Reuters, Guterres warned the move would be illegal and would gut the prospects for regional peace. “Such steps, if implemented, would constitute a serious violation of international law,” he said. “They would be devastating to the potential of reviving negotiations and regional peace, while severely undermining the viability of the two-state solution,” added the UN chief. The real question is, which international law would Israel be violating by applying sovereignty to the Jordan Valley? The next time someone brings the question of international law, just ask them which law forbids Israel from considering all parts of Israel sovereign, and see what they come up with. Spoiler alert: there is no such international law! Look it up for yourself. The EU also condemned Netanyahu’s announcement, calling it illegal, and harmful to the peace process: “The policy of settlement construction and expansion… is illegal under international law and its continuation, and actions taken in this context, undermine the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” an EU spokesperson said in a statement to AFP. Banner alert for the EU! Most of Israel’s government leaders and the United States’ current Administration have taken leave of the terminology “two state solution”. It’s been dead for several years now. We don’t have the space to go into it now, but a two state solution would not only be political and real life suicide for Israel, but would also be detrimental for the Palestinian people, many of whom simply want to live, work, provide for their families, and exist in peace. With the latest polls showing the Blue and White Party with a narrow lead over Likud, the elections next week are definitely uncertain. Prime Minister Netanyahu told Arutz Sheva in an interview that “we’re gonna lose if people don’t vote for Likud.” He asked the people of Israel who they want to conduct negotiations with Trump when the peace plan is released. “If you want me, then for God’s sake, vote for me,” he said emphatically. Indeed, if the people of Israel find resonance with Bibi’s promise to apply sovereignty to Judea and Samaria, they will indeed need to vote for him next week. The prime minister claims that Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, leaders of the left-wing Blue and White party, will uproot 80,000 settlers from Judea and Samaria if elected. There is still some doubt about whether or not Netanyahu is actually serious about annexation. Many believe it is just a political stunt to garner more votes in next week’s elections. If you want my opinion, I think the answer to that question is yes and yes. There seems to be a trend of lots of attention going to Judea and Samaria anytime elections are looming. However, Netanyahu has often proven to be a politician that does not make concrete promises like this without following through on them, so I’m hopeful. As Christian Zionists, one of our tasks is to remind God of His promises from His Word. Here’s what the prophet Amos had to say about settlement in Israel: “I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God.” (Amos 9:15) So elections or not, let’s continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and that God would appoint leaders during the next elections who will no longer pull up their people from the land and homes that God has given them, but rather, firmly plant them in the... Read MoreRead More

Jews in Gaza Eating Matzah for Passover?

This week’s show is packed to the brim with special and positive news from Israel’s Heartland. You’ll be touched and inspired to hear a story of a Jewish mother who was separated from her children and grandchildren for 30 years before recently reuniting and sending them matzah for Passover to Gaza! Israel’s 21st Knesset is underway, new roads have been approved in Judea and Samaria, and the first bill for sovereignty in the settlements has been submitted to the government! This, a 2 minute siren where the entire nation stops to remember on Holocaust Memorial Day, and much more on this week’s... Read MoreRead More

Passover, a Feast for the Whole Family

Happy Passover! This week, politics in Israel seem to be settling down, with Bibi Netanyahu being tasked to form the next government. The New Right Party officially is out of the Knesset, and Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennet will be dropping out of politics for a while. Zac Waller joins the show to talk about Passover, and why families all over the world should celebrate! Even the children, no matter how young, can celebrate this meaningful feast, even staying up until 2:00AM. This, and more on this week’s... Read MoreRead More

Double Standards & Terrorists

On March 15th, a 28-year-old Australian man opened fire inside a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, not stopping before 50 people were dead. An attack of such horrific proportions is hard to fathom, and decidedly qualifies as an act of terrorism. As I read through the news, I saw a unifying theme—leaders from all political spectrums and faiths unequivocally condemned the attack, which was directed at Muslims inside a mosque. Christian leaders, Jewish leaders, and Muslim leaders alike condemned such brutality—religious and political differences didn’t matter. Terrorism is terrorism, and murder is murder. Two days later, on March 17th, a young Arab man hid inside some illegal Arab stores just outside the city of Ariel, in Samaria. He sneaked up to an IDF soldier, stabbed him, stole his weapon and shot him. He then stole a car and drove a few miles west, where he shot two more people—another IDF soldier and a 47-year-old rabbi from the community of Eli. The first soldier, Gal Keidan, died of his wounds. Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger succumbed to his wounds 24 hours later, leaving behind 12 children, ages 1 to 22. The third victim is recovering from his wounds, but is still in critical condition. There are two points I’d like to bring out from these terrorist attacks. First, the entire world unequivocally condemned the attack in New Zealand. Two days later, the world fell silent when two Jews from the so-called “West Bank” were murdered. Is this because there were only two killed in Samaria, and there were 50 killed in New Zealand? While doing research about these attacks, I came across some interesting statistics: Since the beginning of 2019, there have been 411 terror attacks in Judea and Samaria alone. These include stabbings, shootings, molotov cocktails and stone throwings. And lest you think stone throwings are simply child’s play mostly committed by rowdy youngsters, there have been several Jews killed simply from a stone thrown at a car driving down the highway. Here are some statistics from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (click here for the full report). Since October 2015: 79 innocent people have been killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks and 1,210 wounded (including tourists, a foreign worker and several uninvolved Palestinians). There have been 204 stabbing attacks and 150 attempted stabbings, 228 shooting attacks, 74 vehicular (ramming) attacks, and 361 roadside/pipe bombs. In addition, riots and other types of attacks occur almost daily—rock throwing (8,831), petrol bombs/grenades/arson kites & balloons (2,494). Since October 2015, 1,237 rockets and mortar bombs have been launched from Gaza towards Israeli territory. Is it only because these attacks have been spread out over three and a half years that the world will not condemn them? Since 79 people have been killed over a period of three and a half years, is it not as bad as one terror attack that kills 50 people? When will the world condemn terror and murder, no matter where it is and who it kills? The second point that I’d like to bring out is that this Arab terrorist who killed two Jews in Samaria actually brought further harm to his own people. The Ariel Junction, where the attack occurred, is located directly between two industries that are providing equal opportunity for work and education to both Jews and Arabs. The Barkan Industrial Park, located just east of the Ariel Junction, has 120 factories that employ about 6,000 people. Roughly half of these employees are Palestinian Arabs, and the other half are Israeli Jews. These people all work together, and receive the same wages, benefits, and vacations. They eat lunch together in the same break rooms, and have the same opportunities to become supervisors, managers, and make a good living for their families. Sadly, for the first time in its history, an Arab terrorist murdered two of his co-workers in October 2018, one of whom was Jewish, and the other Arab. Ariel is one of the largest “settlements” in Judea and Samaria, home to 35,000 people, 15,000 of whom attend the Ariel University. This beautiful and innovative college offers a wide range of studies, including a medical program, the first of its kind in Judea and Samaria. Unique to this school, Arabs and Jewish students attend classes side by side. While an Arab terrorist murdered two Jews at the Ariel Junction, a short distance away, Jews and Arabs were attending classes together, and Jews and Arabs were working at their jobs together. Have you heard any of this in the mainstream media? Do you think Israel is being treated by a double standard? Will you see Muslim, Jewish, and Christian leaders around the world standing up for coexistence and peace in Judea and Samaria? If you condemn murder anywhere in the world, and want true peace between Israel and their Arab neighbors, please share this article. Tell your friends and family the truth. It’s our job to share the Joshua and Caleb Report, from the Heartland of... Read MoreRead More
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