Real Estate War in the Middle East

The real estate market has recently been the talk of the town. This past week in the Middle East, however, it turned violent.

Sheikh Jarrah is a neighborhood located in East Jerusalem occupied mainly by Palestinians but considered part of the State of Israel. In the 20th century, the area changed hands twice during the War of Independence in 1948 and again in the Six-Day War of 1967.

This tug of war resulted in many Palestinians remaining in Sheikh Jarrah on Protected Tenant Status, meaning that “they would be able to continue living on the property as long as they paid rent and maintained the property.”

This consent between the Palestinian tenants and the Jewish owner, a non-governmental organization named Nahalat Shimon, largely settled the matter for nearly four decades—until February of this year.


A New Intifada

On February 10, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that four Palestinian families residing in Sheikh Jarrah would be evicted for their failure to pay rent to Nahalat Shimon. A consequent appeal took the case up to Israel’s Supreme Court and was supposed to have been decided last week on May 10.

But that decision has been indefinitely delayed.

Instead, in the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court ruling, Palestinians began heavily protesting the outcome of the case. Pile on top of those generations of unresolved antagonism between the two ethnic groups; a year of “economic stress from the coronavirus crisis; ongoing political strife and instability in both Israel and the Palestinian territories; and charged rhetoric by both Jews and Palestinians” at the crossroads of two concurrent holidays, Jerusalem Day for the former and Ramadan for the latter, and you’ve got a veritable uprising—or to use the Arabic term, intifada—on your hands.

On the same day as the Supreme Court hearing, that intifada was triggered when Palestinian civilians began rioting in Jerusalem. The police responded with “rubber-tipped bullets and stun grenades” inside what is known as Islam’s third holiest site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

What kicks up these aggressions yet another notch is the mosque’s location: Al-Aqsa was built on the Temple Mount itself, where Solomon’s famed temple once stood, the pride and joy of the Jewish nation and, more than that, God’s dwelling place on earth.

The conflict escalated within days. The Christian Post was one of many media outlets reporting that Hamas, the Islamic terrorist group, quickly “[took] advantage of tensions” to stage an all-out attack on Israel. This past week saw Hamas targeting the holy city itself as well as multiple civilian regions, such as Lod and Ashkelon.

Meanwhile, both sides intensified the civil unrest: “Jewish mobs were seen roaming the streets … looking for Arabs to assault”; “a Jewish man … was stabbed and assaulted by an Arab mob … [and] almost burned [alive] … inside his car.”

At the time of this writing, the fight is centered on Hamas’ headquarters in Palestine’s Gaza Strip. Reported The Associated Press, “Israel’s airstrikes … leveled a number of Gaza City’s tallest buildings[,] …. among them … the building housing The Associated Press Gaza office and those of other media outlets” on May 15. The bombarding continued on May 16, killing 42 people in what the article designated “the deadliest single attack” yet.

The crisis is showing no signs of stopping, despite efforts at a cease-fire from external entities, predominantly Egypt.


The New Jerusalem

At a time when every month is seeming to unveil another “unprecedented” event, the current Israeli-Arab conflict is no exception. “I think this is different from anything I’ve seen,” said one citizen.

“I have not seen this level of destruction through my 14 years of work,” claimed a Gaza “emergency rescue official.”

Concluded a former Israeli government officer, “This is something that is new, this is unbearable, this is horrific.”

People are fed up. Many feel that they’ve reached the end of their rope. They need to take matters into their own hands. They’re “looking” for a fight—not for peace.

At “the end of the age” (Matthew 24:3), the Bible prophesies that “nation will rise against nation” (v. 7), that there will be “wars and rumors of wars” (v. 6), and that “the love of many will grow cold” (v. 12). It teaches that in the last days, the exact circumstances that are happening now will not only continue, they will increase.

 

 When we realize that the world stage is playing out just like Jesus said it would, it begs the question: What else does Jesus know? The Bible has the answer: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (v. 13), promised Jesus.

Well, this is a different perspective. That single verse pulls back the curtain of darkness thrown upon global circumstances. That verse says that there is hope, that there is another way, that there is Someone else you can count on. To learn what that means, study along with our free video presentation “Matthew 24 and 25.

Today, the earthly city of Jerusalem is a cradle of bloodshed, turmoil, and hate. But the Bible declares that one day there will be a “New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:2). One day, “God will wipe away every tear …; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying[, nor] …. pain” (v. 4). Our free Bible study “A Colossal City in Space” explains all about this beautiful future.

And know this: God desires for you to have a home in this most magnificent of cities—rent-free.

Kris W. Sky
Kris W. Sky is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.
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