16 Nov 2020

Erekat, Dead

As we are living in an increasing malevolent world, even the death of a single individual is controversial.

This week, PLO/PA negotiator Saeb Erekat, from Jericho, died from Coronavirus. He had been in an Israeli hospital for a month; the 65-year-old succumbed after a tough fight.

I well remember in 1991, when President George H.W. Bush pressured the Israelis into sitting down at the table with the arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat. Erekat, then a young, brash Palestinian activist, wore a keffiyeh, the checkered scarf worn by the blood-soaked Arafat, as one of his symbols of “revolution.” Erekat sat there, smug, smirking at Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli negotiators. Erekat knew that his American handlers were on his side and so he felt emboldened.

From the left-wing Economist:

“It was 1991, and dozens of men were huddled around a long white table in Spain, clad in the formless dark suits that are de rigueur at diplomatic functions. Only one stood out: a bearded, bespectacled university professor, shoulders draped in a keffiyeh, the chequered scarf that has become a symbol of Palestinian nationalism. Saeb Erekat caused a stir at the Madrid conference, the first direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Binyamin Netanyahu, then a mere spokesman for the Israeli delegation, suggested that his dress was a ‘provocation’. But, for Mr Erekat, the summit would start a diplomatic process that became his life’s work.”

The Bush Sr. administration was, in my view, anti-Semitic. James Baker and others were notoriously anti-Israel. They forced Israel to negotiate with the terrorist group, under the delusion that “land for peace” would actually work. Instead, Israel endured 25 years of murder and harassment. The Bush team didn’t care, nor did subsequent presidents.

And yet, think about what happened to Erekat. He is what I call a terrorist in a suit. Just as lethal as homicide bombers, but far more subtle because he is invited to Washington events and he has a Ph.D. He was just as intense with his hatred for Jews as a member of Hamas.

Various news outlets behave as if the PA will be dealing with a new U.S. administration in January, but that is premature of course. Still, the typical jockeying for position among Palestinians to take over Erekat’s cushy diplomatic perks is going on in earnest.

Out of all this, though, I cannot stop thinking about the man. This I mean in terms of where he is now. I always think this way when an evil man or woman dies. Fresh out of his brashness and evil intentions, I wonder what first conscious thoughts Erekat had when he died.

This is why we shouldn’t dwell too much on the here-and-now in terms of justice here or there. Men like Erekat seem to wield a lot of power in life, and he was a menace for decades. But God’s justice flows when He wants it to flow. The Lord catches up with all men eventually, and for too many, it’s too late.

Much was made of Israel’s decision to treat Erekat. They have treated many Palestinians over the years, including active terrorists. Very honestly, I struggle with this, but most of my Israeli friends are unwavering in their commitment to preserve life, no matter whose life.

In 2017, I interviewed many Israeli medical personnel in Tel Aviv. To a man and woman, they said that their only priority upon receiving a critical patient was to save that patient’s life. They won’t budge from that.

Yet the Palestinians for decades have murdered Jews with abandon. The leadership has a collective reprobate mind. I’m not sure I could treat a terrorist.

But then that’s why the Lord doesn’t have me in the medical field.

Hard as it is sometimes, we should commit to pray for evil leaders while they are alive. As Saeb Erekat has learned, after that it’s too late.




9 Nov 2020

Therefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and, having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

Choosing Joy in a “Dark Winter”

I saw Joe Biden in person, once. This is a very small anecdote, but it always stayed with me. I was in a hotel lobby in Washington on a rainy day. Biden came in with his entourage. As some of them attempted to help him off with his coat, he angrily pulled away and said something unpleasant to them. He then went upstairs.

Anybody can have a bad day. All of us are harried from time to time. But something tells me that Ol’ “Lunch Bucket Joe” is like this all the time. I have watched his political career for decades and believe him to be a typical craven grifter.

Now that we are days on the other side of a bizarre election night, let me be clear about what I think happened.

The Left stole the election. At the time of this writing, some hold out hope that court challenges will lift Trump to victory, but there are also reports that Jared Kushner has approached the President about conceding. I also just read that Bibi Netanyahu sent congratulatory comments to Biden.


Somehow, I did not see this coup coming. I thought that even though there is always voter fraud, we had a system in place that would not allow us to become a Third World country.

I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

A friend of mine predicted this—he really did—but I was mostly dismissive. I now see very clearly that America as we have always loved her is gone. Some friends Friday night said they held out hope that the Republicans can retake the House in two years and someone like Tom Cotton can become president in 2024.

Sometimes we lie to ourselves, in order to cope.

I intended to make this column more about what Israel can expect under Biden, but I’d like to offer you hope about the future. I will not be part of Biden’s Dark Winter.

(Forever, I will consider him illegitimate. His friends on the Left, the legions of them, include prominent evangelicals.)

Now to the good stuff!

I thought of Terry James this week. Terry’s harrowing tale of his heart attack always inspired me, as it did many others. One reason is, he survived the “Widow Maker,” but retained his joy of life. His assurance that we will all see Jesus soon—I love it.

That is the reality, no matter our circumstances.

I was almost killed in an accident four years ago, and while I know many of you know that, you don’t know the circumstances. I am not going to write about that today, maybe one day, but I wanted to make the point that my survival in 2016 was literally miraculous. The accident came out of nowhere (we never know the details of our Home Going ahead of time!).

Yet this week, even in the midst of this mind-blowing coup in our country, I visited with friends and had a great time around a fire. I visited with my amazing niece, who is a great girl and looking to a bright future. I visit with my mother every day; she lives on the “Farm” with us, our little patch of ground. She is in great health and mentally sharp and fun, at 78.

I have so many blessings in my life, I can’t count them all. I have a quiet place, a bench, overlooking a valley. I sit there every day and talk to God and think about life. I am building my dream home near there.

None of this would be happening if God had not spared my life. So, no matter what life throws at me, I am winning.

And you know what? I know that because God’s Word is true, my new home will be enjoyed but for a few years. Then I go to the place He has prepared for me.

Joe Biden is not my president. But Donald Trump is also not my Savior. I will pray for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris—if they do in fact take office through nefarious means—that they come to know the Lord and stop practicing evil daily, hourly.

Donald Trump is the greatest president of my lifetime. There will be pressure on many of us to go along in the days ahead. I can assure you, I will not roll over politically. I could write many, many thoughts (couldn’t we all!) about the treachery in this country. But that for another time.

I can choose every day to focus on the life Jesus has given me, and the one He is preparing for me. If we don’t live in Mayberry anymore and we have to run a gauntlet of hate, others that have come before have had worse to deal with.

I think of Washington’s desperate gamble to cross the Delaware at Trenton. Can you imagine how depressed he must have been during that Christmas night, knowing that the Revolution hung by a thread?

I think of our guys at Bataan and Corregidor. Knowing there were no replacements coming to defend against the Japs?

Or missionaries in countries where that kind of thing gets you killed? Can you imagine being a missionary in Asia in the early 20th century, and seeing your entire family murdered in front of your eyes?

I can’t, either.

Those who remain steadfast and keep their eyes on the Savior will emerge from this just fine. I will soon be 58; I hope I live many more years. But if not, I’ve had a magnificent life. And the one I’m going to, according to Paul, I couldn’t handle the glory of it if God didn’t give me a new body!

I spit in the face of the Enemy, in the face of totalitarianism. I’m going to get a t-shirt that reads: “It was a Coup.” And I give Bibi a pass, since I still believe his sole goal in life is to defend his people. He’s known Biden for 40 years and knows WHAT Biden is. He’s making a political calculation.

But apart from politics, I choose joy. Life is good. It is a gift from God. Let me encourage you going forward to get into and stay in God’s Word.

To quote another Netanyahu, Jonathan, who led the spectacular Raid at Entebbe:

“It’ll be okay.”