Darrow Miller and Friends

GAZA: What Does it All Mean?

As Gaza suffers, what are we to think about the conflict?

One perspective comes from our friend, Randy, in his response to our recent post “Say No! to Injustice”:

“Correct, I say NO to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and illegal expansion/exploitation by the State of Israel (directly violating Gen. 18: 17-19) for over 60 years. I call it time for Israel to be brought before the UN ICJ.”

Randy and I agree on many things and respect each another, even if we do not agree on all issues. His comment deserves a response.

This initial post will focus on ethnic cleansing and the illegal expansion and exploitation of the Palestinians. From there we will write a short series of posts on the subject of the “moral equivalence” between Israel and Hamas, and the presence of manifest evil in the tactics of jihadists like ISIS in Iraq and Hamas in Gaza.

It is heartrending to watch the ongoing poverty of the Palestinian people in general. It is particularly grievous to see the current suffering of the people of Gaza. Who can watch the news out of Gaza without grieving the death and injuries among the civilian populations and the physical destruction of their communities, homes and property? It is gut-wrenching especially because it does not have to be this way.

In 1879 US Civil War officer General William T. Sherman said, “War is hell.” Thus has it always been. This latest conflict between Israel and Gaza is hell.

At times in Israel’s history her people have abused others in seeking to establish and maintain a modern homeland. I think specifically of the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and communities during the Arab-Israeli War in 1948 by the Haganah, the Jewish defense forces.

In November 1947 the United Nations General Assembly approved the partition of Palestine, providing for the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel and the Arab state of Palestine. With some reservations, the Jews accepted this partition while the Arab states generally rejected it.

On May 14, 1948, the day before the end of 50 years of British Mandate for Palestine, Israel established itself as an independent state in the land granted by the UN partition. Almost immediately the combined armies of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq attacked Israel. Their goal was to drive the Jews from their ancient homeland.

To everyone’s surprise the Arab armies were defeated by the ragtag Israeli defense forces. By defeating the Arab armies, the Jews expanded their holdings to include about a third of the partition land that had been granted to the Palestinians. As a result, the Palestinians were left with the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Gaza strip.

The Arab nations had expected to win a quick and decisive victory over the Jews. In view of that expectation, they encouraged the Palestinians to flee their homes and then return upon the defeat of Israel. But most of the Palestinians who fled or were forcefully displaced ended up in exile in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and other lands.

But that is only half the story. While 700,000 Arabs were displaced from Israel, at the same time, about 750,000 Jews were forced to leave Arab lands where they had lived for generations. These fled to the new Jewish state of Israel.

So there is some substance to Randy’s claim. But I assume he would acknowledge that the situation between Israel and Gaza is complex. Yes, injustices have been perpetrated on both sides. But I do not mean to imply moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel.

Before elaborating on that last point, it’s important to distinguish between Muslim peoples on the one hand, and radical Islamists/Jihadists on the other. Most Muslims, like other citizens of the world, want to live in peace and raise their families. But the Jihadists, or Islamists, want to return to the world of the prophet Mohammed. A minority of Muslims are militants who want to renew the march of Islam to establish a global caliphate governed by Sharia law. The militant Hamas leaders are a different breed than the typical Palestinian civilian.

Randy accused the Israelis of ethnic cleansing. I do not regard this an accurate description of what is happening on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. Ethnic cleansing is the intentional, systematic, forced removal – through intimidation, torture, deportation, and mass murder – of religious or ethnic groups from a territory.

As I write, ISIS is marching through Iraq, ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands, even millions of people as they go. The church that has existed in Iraq since the Apostle Thomas brought the gospel nearly 2000 years ago is decimated. In the last week, ISIS has turned its attention on the Yezidis, a 4,000-year-old ethnic/religious minority community in Kurdistan numbering between 300,000 – 700,000. In a matter of a few days, hundreds of thousands have fled their homes. As I write these words thousands are dying of dehydration and starvation in the arid Sinjar mountains where they have fled for their lives.

Jihadists are also rooting out Christians in Syria, another church that dates its founding to New Testament times. This is ethnic cleansing in all of its horrors. Recently I saw a picture of a six or seven-year-old Syrian girl  whose headless body was dressed in her “Sunday best.” A beheaded child! One can hardly imagine such evil. This is terror on its most basic level.

In addition to Iraq and Syria, persecution of Christians in the Muslim world is occurring in places like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran.

Islamists are not killing Christians only. Their goal is to rid the world, not simply the Middle East, of Jews.

Gaza parallels Hitler and al Husseini partnership against Jews
Amin al Husseini und Adolf Hitler” by Heinrich Hoffmann

A hatred of Christians and Jews dates back to Mohammed’s move from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD. But as recently as World War II, the Grand Mufti in Jerusalem, Amin el-Husseini, aligned himself with the Axis Powers and worked in collaboration with Hitler and the Third Reich.

Hitler and el-Husseini shared a vision for the extermination of the Jews. In November of 1943 he stated:

It is the duty of Muhammadans in general and Arabs in particular to … drive all Jews from Arab and Muhammadan countries … . Germany is also struggling against the common foe who oppressed Arabs and Muhammadans in their different countries. It has very clearly recognized the Jews for what they are and resolved to find a definitive solution [endgültige Lösung] for the Jewish danger that will eliminate the scourge that Jews represent in the world. ….”[1]

In modern times, there is a direct link between Hitler’s Third Reich and the war in Gaza. Nazi anti-Semitism was passed on to the political/spiritual descendants of el-Husseini, the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in Gaza. Written into the Hamas charter is the clear and unequivocal statement that Israel is to be obliterated: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” What Hitler began in Europe, Hamas and other Jihadists want to finish in the Middle East: the destruction of Israel and the extermination of Jews from the world.

The application of the term “ethnic cleansing” to Israel is certainly inappropriate as we watch ethnic cleansing being defined by ISIS before our very eyes. The brutality and intensity of the slaughter of innocents is the manifestation of evil.

–          Darrow Miller

NOTE: We rarely solicit funds at Darrow Miller and Friends. However, if you have been moved by the plight of ethnic cleansing among Christians and Yezidis in Northern Iraq, and want a way to help, here are a couple of worthy avenues. My friends, Dr. George Grant and Dave Dillard, have been working in northern Iraq for some 15 years and have contacts with the church in Kurdistan. If you want to help, see the links below. These will provide you, or your church, a way to get resources to those who are suffering. Please pass this information on to your friends. And please pray.

George Grant’s Fund for Kurdistan

Dave Dillard’s (founder of Servant Group International) Fund

[1] Mattar, Philip (1984). “Al-Husayni and Iraq’s quest for independence, 1939-1941”. Arab Studies Quarterly 6 (4). pp. 267–281


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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).


  1. james teo

    August 15, 2014 - 12:35 am


    Something is wrong with the link to Facebook. when i tried to share the article on Gaza, the link to the blog website appear but not the article.

    • admin

      August 15, 2014 - 10:23 am

      Hi James

      Sorry that the link did not work for you. Not sure why. Perhaps Gary, our blog administrator can figure it out. Meanwhile, I have sent you a copy as an e-mail attachment.


  2. Randy Uthe

    August 15, 2014 - 1:04 am

    This letter is to address Darrow’s comments on his first post in his series on “Gaza, what does it all mean?” His post is a direct response to my statement that the State of Israel is practicing ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. Darrow feels although there is fault on both sides, the term ethnic cleansing is to strong and according to the definition of ethnic cleansing being is, “is the intentional, systematic, forced removal – through intimidation, torture, deportation, and mass murder – of religious or ethnic groups from a territory.” I can agree on this definition and with it add to the history Darrow has given and show that Israel’s actions have indeed been intentional to do just that for various reasons and therefore Israel does match the accusation I made.
    First, we must make a clear line of distinction about what is being discussed and therefore why certain statements would be made and ultimately the legal, moral; and in this case also theological, questions to be raised.
    Darrow may widen his discussion later, but for now he has chosen to compare Israel directly with Hamas with given examples. This directly implies a legitimate and recognized legal state/country (Israel) verses an illegitimate terrorist organization and or group of people. Darrow and I would both agree on the complexity of these stances as we both agree on their being some blame on both sides. That isn’t the issue being discussed. What is being discussed is justification by one side or the other. There is not space in this response to deal with all of the Palestinian responses as you have to go beyond Hamas, the PLO, and other regimes to the people themselves. Although I will discuss some of the Palestinian sides, my primary directive will be at Israel since they are the ones I am directly accusing. So, to make my clear line, my questions that need addressed are: 1) Does the modern State of Israel have the right to the land they are defending? And 2) Are Israel’s rights absolute above and beyond those of anyone else, especially the inhabitants directly affected by them in the land of and surrounding Israel?
    To answer the first question we will go to two different sources. The first is the indirect reference to UN Resolution 181, which was passed in 1947. It was almost strictly a partition plan that needed further implementation. It was not agreed upon by everyone and never fully implemented as planned. Instead, what happened was the committee in charge of it was charged with implementing it with certain conditions. Resolution 181 was simply a recommendation plan. Its legal authority to actually grant Israel the land and become a Separate State was very much in question. Before 1818 could be implemented though was the war between the Israeli’s and the Arabs as mentioned by Darrow. What was never resolved was the limitations of Resolution 181 as more of a recommendation and not a direct legal partition as many sources give it credit for. That, with the fact that the war of 1948 prevented it actual implementation, Israel simply declared victory, a new State and it was granted by mainly the Western countries and parts of the UN. Most Arab nations and many others never accepted it. So, the full legality of Israel’s ownership is at least partially in question even if I agree in the legitimacy of the State itself.
    Next is legitimacy based on the Biblical accounts. For this we begin with Genesis 15:1-7, 17-21; 17:1-8; & 18:17-19. This is the everlasting covenant with Abraham. Although it was a land covenant, it was much more. These scriptures actually set the covenant out into two parts, 1] will be blessed and 2] to be a blessing. This motif is well known. It is spelled out specifically in the Gen. 18:17-19 account where Abraham, and all of his offspring/heirs (this includes the Jews and modern State of Israel, but also us as Christians), were to do their part in the covenant by keeping the way of the Lord in the doing of justice and righteousness. Throughout the O.T., but especially in Ezekiel 16, where God called His people out for not keeping their end of the covenant. In fact God called them prostitutes worse than Sodom and Samaria. He specifically stated the sin was pride, excess, prosperity without regard for the poor. It was sin of dis-balance and inequity. Paul’s words in Romans points to the fact that beyond that, with the entry of the Gentiles into the Kingdom, Israel was more than an ethnic group or a certain land. This is especially true when you consider the Israelites were thrown into exile multiple times and although God’s promise for them to return was true, by the N.T. times, this promise was about more than either the land of Israel or the ethnic Jews. The holistic nature of the original covenant was still intact but meant much more than originally thought by God’s people. If you take the original covenant with Paul’s words and add to that Ezekiel’s message in Ez. 18:5-13, then you can certainly agree that there will be people within God’s chosen who will not follow the covenant and therefore not be part of its benefits. To this small biblical example we can add that ethnically, the Jews in the modern State of Israel can’t be ethnically directly tied to the original Israelites or original Jews of the area. Stiill, we can say that there is some degree of legitimacy of the Jews to inhabit the land and there are at least some indirect biblical ties. But, does this make the rights of the Israeli’s absolute?
    For now, we have to refrain from using Hamas and ISIS as smoke screens to deter from the discussion at hand. What the above short review shows is that although the State of Israel does have some legitimacy, there are still lots of questions in the air. On top of that, there is neither a legal basis nor a biblical basis to make their rights absolute above and beyond anyone else; Hamas, ISIS, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Hindu etc… This is at least true legally as stated by both the UN declarations of human rights and self-determination which make up much of the backbone of international law. What the UN, under Roosevelt, began in 1941 was made more certain under the UN UDHR in 1948 and again under Resolution 1514 in 1960. This is the article or human rights and self-determination with seven key points:
    1. The subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a
    denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and co-operation.
    2. All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine
    their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
    3. Inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as
    a pretext for delaying independence.
    4. All armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependent peoples
    shall cease in order to enable them to exercise peacefully and freely their right to complete independence, and the integrity of their national territory shall be respected.
    5. Immediate steps shall be taken, in Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories or all other
    territories which have not yet attained independence, to transfer all powers to the peoples of those territories, without any conditions or reservations, in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire, without any distinction as to race, creed or colour, in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and freedom.
    6. Any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial
    integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
    7. All States shall observe faithfully and strictly the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the present Declaration on the basis of equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of all States, and respect for the sovereign rights of all peoples and their territorial integrity.
    What is important for the current discussion is the issues of: self-determination, subjugation, domination, exploitation and the prevention that creates for any people group to freely pursue educational, economic, social and cultural development as presented in points one and two above. The question becomes, “Has Israel violated these fundamental rights for Palestinians in general?” This includes both Palestinian Muslims as well as Palestinian Christians. For me the answer is yes, they have.
    Darrow has used Hamas, ISIS and Hitler as examples of those who have or are currently breaking these fundamental laws and fundamental rights. Darrow takes it a step further and begins to make it a religious issue between Christians and Muslims with Israel in between. Although religion is most certainly involved, I will keep the first part strictly to international law and the above international standard for human rights as I believe they also reflect the biblical mandates and Abrahamic Covenant.
    Darrow points out one of the largest points of contention still between Israel and the Palestinians, which was the conscious and horrific expulsion efforts by the Israeli leaders of roughly ¾-1 million Arabs from their homes to become refugees and/or IDPs depending on how you look at the different areas in and around Israel. But Darrow also only paints half a picture when he brings up the issue of the displaced roughly 750,000 Jews. The displacement of the Jews was no doubt partially linked to persecution and war, but much more was the excitement of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s of the Jews returning to their “homeland”. This situation, although not easy, is definitely not the same as what the Arabs faced, nor could it be called a refugee situation. They moved to where they wanted to be in the first place and what they even to this day call home. The problems for the Arabs is different and it is the same problems of what to do with the displaced Arabs who have no real homes that lies between much of the historical and modern conflicts.
    My next point of contention is the 6 Day War of 1967. Israel and many allies have painted the war as a defense of a mass attack on Israel by many different enemies on many different sides. History would more accurately portray it as an offensive move by Israel, who had a bigger and better trained army, against some partial and fledgling advances by some troops and other perceived threats. The combination of the 6 day war in 1967, the 1948 war and the surrounding conflicts have given rise to the argument for the right of Israel to defend itself. This right I do not disagree with. I disagree that Israel is the one on the defense and instead insist that Israel has been the aggressor all along going back to even before the disagreements surrounding Resolution 181 and the subsequent conflicts because for the Zionists, Israeli’s have seen things from an absolute God given right point of view and sought to create an ethnically, religiously and culturally hegemonic State at all costs. Specifically surrounding the issue of the era around 1967 to present date and boarder, territory disputes are the disputes surrounding the breaking of Article 242 by Israel, to which it agreed to itself and has since gone beyond. Up to 70-90 or so other resolutions have supposedly been broken by Israel.
    To back this up, I point to a few things. First is the long list of systematic and purposeful removal of Palestinians from Israeli territories and illegal expansions of Israel, including some of the annexations of 1967. These range directly from denying them equal land of their own, proper education, proper access to markets, the forceful taking of land and olive trees removing them of generations of Arab farming and income generation, separating people from families, adequate health care, goods and services.
    At the center of the territorial and self-defense disputes are the Gaza Strip blockades and security checkpoints and the “Wall” surrounding the West Bank. For now I will only discuss the West Bank Wall. Part of a larger structure, the Wall is supposedly a defense measure based on the 1967 boundary markers. For this you have to understand the Blue and Green Lines that have been agreed upon, disputed and fought over. Essentially, when Israel annexed the West Bank after the 1967 war, along with other areas it only aggravated the ethnic cleansing and genocidal policies that had been carried out for over 60 years. The popular reason given and still used is that Israel needs that area for self-defense. If that were true, the Wall would be a much more simple structure along the annex borders. Instead, the Wall is a systematic and complex winding enormous and psychologically intimidating strcture with armed security that encapsulates certain villages and cities, while separating the Palestinians inside from the market roads, prime real estate and agricultural land and vital water resources needed for them to properly and adequately survive. The reality that is shown, not through argument, but through actual surveying of the Wall and the stories and statistics surrounding show it is not a defensive wall at all but a conscious offensive tool to prioritizing the resources to supply Israel with the best resources while consciously denying them to the Palestinians. In fact, it is the decades of such treatment that has helped to create Hamas that Darrow points to. Like ISIS, Hamas was created by one people group directly suppressing another with equal right to self-determination. People ask, “If the Israeli’s don’t like it, why don’t they just leave?” The reality is that most of them can’t. They are trapped inside these walls and security checkpoints with any way to really leave or even the means to do so. They are truly prisoners in a large scale concentration camp by Israel. So, the example of Hitler given by Darrow is being carried out in a slightly, but not completely, different manner by Israel. Why is it unacceptable by one group and acceptable by another? Why would Israel, who just escaped such horrific conditions knowingly create similar ones for someone else and why?
    All the above discussion points directly to the fact that Israel has been doing all of the things given in Darrow’s own definition on ethnic cleansing in one way or another. Whether through war, conflict, separation and denial of access or other means; Israel has been settling beyond its legal borders for decades causing further displacement without any type of fair compensation to the Arabs. This goes against not only international law, but also the biblical principles laid out in the Abrahamic Covenant and throughout the rest of scripture. So, there is no need for discussion of Hamas and ISIS as “evil” that we, the “good” must defeat. There has been equal evil done by Israel that not enough people are willing to acknowledge. For on top of killing and cleansing of Palestinian Muslim and Christians alike, Israel has even consciously committed acts of war against the US by killing 34 and wounding 171 other US military personnel on the USS Liberty in 1967. My argument of ethnic cleansing is only part of the acts the State and people of Israel have committed and continue to be defended by many.
    Darrow, I hope I didn’t get too far ahead of your planned areas, but I look forward to reading your other parts to this discussion. We both agree that we need to separate everyday Muslims and Christians from the fundamentalist extremists in both groups. But, we also need to better delineate our ideologies and theologies when we look at this situation from a historical, legal and biblical perspective. God bless you and may He grant us all wisdom and understanding. For, even though there are truths to the extremists out to get rid of all Jews and Christians all over the world we have to be careful how we respond and be willing to take responsibility for how we have all helped create those intentions. It is true as Bonhoeffer states, ““We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.” We must do so with an open mind, open eyes and a humble heart. The State of Israel, its government has not been humble in the least, nor apologetic. For just as the extremist Muslims have the goal to get rid of all Jews in the areas, the conscious goal of the Israeli government is to get rid of the Arabs of the area just as much. We can’t let the “right to defense” talk steer us away from the ultimate Zionist goal just like we can’t ignore the ultimate extremist Islamic Ummah goal. So yes, we must say “no to injustice” in ALL its forms…

    i. Darrow Miller, Gaza: What Does It All Mean, Aug. 14th, 2014.
    ii. Jeremy R. Hammond, The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel. FPJ (Oct. 26th, 2010).
    iii. For this point there are too many sources to mention.
    iv. http://www.un.org/en/decolonization/declaration.shtml
    v. http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/six_day_war_1967.htm
    vi. One such quick reference list can be found at: http://www.israellawresourcecenter.org/unresolutions/studyguide/sgunres1e.html. Other resources have been examined and such the terminology “disputes” or “disputed” language.
    vii. A longer and more specific and detailed list can be read on the Institute for Middle Eastern Understanding’s (IMEU) fact sheet available at: http://imeu.org/article/45-years-of-occupation. Some may see this as over biased, but no more so than other sources have been on other sides.
    viii. To this day, there are many parts of Israel and East Jerusalem where Israeli Jews will gather, mock and throw slurs at Palestinians without provocation.

    • admin

      August 15, 2014 - 12:00 pm

      Randy, thanks for the thoughtful and detailed response to the blog.
      To the readers of Darrow Miller and Friends, I encourage you to ready Randy’s full response. We have a common concern for justice and compassion; we agree on many things, but have fundamental disagreements on other. The simple back and forth of our discussion creates grist for much thought and worthwhile discussions. I am grateful for Randy’s engagement and the tone of his response.
      While Randy and I do not know each other, much beyond this blog, there is a sense of mutual respect and a desire to have a civil discussion over issues that often create a lot of heat and hostility. Randy, “my hat comes off to you.”
      Randy, my response to your initial comment was intended to be one simple blog. But last week, as I wrote that blog new events were unfolding both in Gaza and in Northern Iraq with ISIS at a breathtaking pace. So I ended up responding to events and enfolding them into themes that I wanted to write on. Thus what was to be one blog has turned into a series of four blogs.
      I have not responded to your comments because to do so would likely commit the two of us to write a book together. It might be fun, but my guess is that neither of us have the time. Some of your comments were opening other issues worthy of discussing, but were not part of my concern in writing this series. My guess is the other three blog will raise issues that, likewise, could be discussed in detail.
      Just this morning I have written another blog on a group of Global Muslim Leaders who have called upon ISIS to cease and desist. Theirs is an entry point for Christians and others to dialog. I have included two illustrations from Egypt of Muslims and Christians seeking to engage with each other.
      Anyway, Randy thanks for your extensive feedback.


  3. Randy Uthe

    August 16, 2014 - 1:38 am

    Again, thanks for your blogs and discussion. There is too much in this world to fight about, but open dialogue is vital for all of us. I would share many of your concerns with ISIS and other groups. Living in a Muslim country I am all too aware of various definitions of dhimmi from history and modern times. My response is definitely too long for one single blog to answer. Instead, may it begin to help us all with the sharing of open and honest, even sensitive, dialogue in constructive ways. Keep sharing brother.

    • admin

      August 16, 2014 - 7:14 am

      Thank you Randy

      I look forward to continuing the dialog as we each have time. Thank you for your thoughtful and civil responses. It would be fun to meet some day. At this point in life, I travel to Asia once a year and to the Mediterranean region a couple of times a year. Also, if you get to the States, I live in Arizona.