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Jerusalem Dateline: 1/18/19 Tug of War in NE Syria as US Plans Troop Withdrawal

Tug of war over who will control NE Syria after the US decides on troop pullout; plus World Council of Churches sends hundreds of volunteers to West Bank but what's their agenda? And how the IDF became a ‘good neighbor’ to Syrians caught ... ... Read Transcript


(horn blares)

- This week on Jerusalem Dateline,

a tug of war between nations,

emerges after the US decides

to pull its troops out of Northeast Syria.

Who will control this strategicMiddle East territory?

Plus, the world Council of Churches

sends hundreds of volunteersto Israel and the West Bank,

what's their agenda?

And Israel as the good neighbor,

how the IDF reached out to Syrians

caught in the middle ofthe Syrian civil war.

All this and more,

this week on Jerusalem Dateline.

Hello, and welcome to thisedition of Jerusalem Dateline,

I'm Chris Mitchell.

A suicide bomber killed19 people in Syria,

including four US servicemen on patrol.

The attack provoked variousmessages to President Trump

about his decision to pullUS troops out of Syria.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the blast,

caught here on security camera footage

in the Syrian town of Manbij.

After the attack,

Senator Lindsey Graham interrupted

the confirmation hearing of William Barr,

to make a direct plea to President Trump.

- My concern by the statementsmade by President Trump

is that it should set in motion,

enthusiasm by the enemy we're fighting,

you make people we're tryingto help wonder about us,

and as they get bolder,

the people we're trying to help

are gonna get more uncertain.

- [Chris] Graham said herecently had a meeting

at the same restaurant,

with Kurds, Arabs and Christians,

who hope to establisha democratic government

in Northeast Syria.

- I would hope the presidentwould look long and hard

of where he's headed in Syria.

I know people are frustrated,

but we're never gonna be safe here,

unless we're willing tohelp people over there,

who will stand up againstthis radical ideology.

- [Chris] In Ankara,

Turkish President Erdogan,

sent a different messageto President Trump,

don't stop the pull out.

(speaks in foriegn language)

- [Translator] Theattack could have the aim

of influencing thedecision that America took,

that Mr Trump took,

but because I saw Trump'sdetermination to withdraw,

I believe that he willnot take a step back

in the face of such an act of terror.

- [Chris] Trump's announcementto pull out of Syria

has provoked a tug of war

over who will control Northeast Syria.

While Erdogan wants Turkey to control

a 20 mile security zone,

Russia's foreign minister pushedback on Turkey's land grab.

(speaks in foriegn language)

- [Translator] We believe that the optimal

and only right solution,

is transferring these Syrian territories

from when the United States troops leave

to the control of the Syrian government,

Syrian Armed Forces,

and Syrian administrative bodies.

- But critics warn if the Syriangovernment of Bashar Assad

resume control of Northeast Syria,

it would open a door to Iranian influence,

with all of these competing interests,

Turkey, Russia, Syria, Iran and the US,

a new Middle East is emerging,

and it remains to be seenwho will shape its destiny.

Here in Israel, in a rare admission,

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,

announced that Israel attacked

an Iranian military target in Syria.

The strike is part of anongoing struggle by Israel

to eliminate the threat from Iran,

just miles from Israel's northern border.

After the strike,

Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu,

toured the Golan Heights,

and explained while Israeli warplanes

hit this Iranian target.

(speaks in foriegn language)

- [Translator] In the past 48 hours,

Israel attacked anIranian weapons warehouse

at the international airport in Damascus.

This reflects our consistent policy

and strong determination to prevent Iran

from entrenching itselfmilitarily in Syria.

If necessary, we willstep up these attacks.

- [Chris] Syrian state televisionsaid Syrian air defenses

shot down a number of Israeli missiles.

Israel's outgoing chiefof staff also said,

Israel had dropped 2000 bombs

on targets inside Syria just last year.

Netanyahu also revealedthat Israel destroyed

the final tunnel dug byHezbollah into Israel.

(speaks in foriegn language)

- [Translator] This bringsOperation Northern Shield

to a successful close,

we'll continue to monitorall activity by Hezbollah,

by Iran, and its proxies.

We'll do whatever is necessary

to ensure the security of Israel.

- In the meantime, USSecretary of State Mike Pompeo,

concluded his multi-nationto of the Middle East.

The trip was designed to forgean alliance against Iran,

and ensure allies the US isnot leaving the Middle East,

even though President Trumpannounced the pull out

of US troops from Syria.

Pompeo told CBS as face the nation,

the pull out won't changethe main US mission.

- The counter-terrorism mission,

and the effort to make sure that

with the destruction ofIsis not only complete,

but that resurgence is not possible,

our efforts to counterthe threat from terrorism,

stemming from theIslamic Republic of Iran,

those are all real missions,

the tactical change we've made

in the withdrawal of those 2000 troops,

is just that, a tactical change,

the mission remains the same.

- [Chris] Some in Northeast Syria

see the US pullout as abetrayal of the Kurds,

but this official says,

the US promised to guarantee the safety

of the people in the area.

(speaks in foriegn language)

- [Translator] The American leaders

were very honest andclear in their decisions,

that there will be no withdrawal

without the accomplishmentof all these tests,

especially on the issueof protecting the area

Northeastern Syria,

and in negotiations or the discussion

that was made between Bolton

and the Turkish administration,

that there will be no withdrawal

until the safety of thisarea was guaranteed.

- [Chris] The pullout leaves many nations

vying for dominanceinside Northeast Syria.

The stakes are high.

Pompeo's Mideast tour,

and what happens on theground inside Syria,

will help shape the future

for millions of people in the region.

(upbeat music)

Up next, hundreds of volunteers tied

to the World Council of Churches

spread throughout the West Bank,

with what some call a hidden agenda.

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than 148 million orphansin the world today?

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but it was three little girls

that taught me aboutthe plight of orphans.

My husband and I spent nearly a month,

immersed in the daily activitiesof a Ukrainian orphanage,

as we waited to adopt three sisters.

I saw first hand the utter loneliness,

the pain of rejection,

and the overwhelming desire to be loved.

That experience changed me forever.

And out of it grew aministry from my heart

called Orphan's Promise.

Today, we're helping orphansand vulnerable children

in more than 50 countries worldwide.

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they're being educated,

and they're learning life skills.

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(upbeat music)

- The world Council of Churches

calls itself broad and exclusive,

with a goal of Christian unity.

A new report also claims

the organization is behind a program

to train young people asobservers in the West Bank,

and then send them homeas anti-Israel advocates.

CBN Middle East correspondentJulie Stoll has this.

- [Julie] This effort is called

the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program

in Palestine and Israel,

or EAPPI,

the World Council of Churchesstarted the program in 2002,

since then it's sent some 1800volunteers to the West Bank,

to witness what it callslife under occupation.

These volunteers then headhome to tell churches,

congregations and others about it.

Those presentations oftentake a very negative

and even anti-Semitic tone.

- [Julie] The WCC denounces anti-Semitism

as a sin against God,

and spokesperson Peter Prove,

tells CBN News that the programis all about human rights.

- [Peter] And the ultimatepurposes of the program

are to address human rights violations,

impacts upon human dignity,

and to promote from a positive side,

a just peace for both peoples.

- [Julie] A report bythe NGO Monitor however,

paints a different picture

of these so-called training camps.

- That is the main tool for training

anti-Israel activistswithin church organizations

and churches around the world,

and it's also the main toolfor inserting anti-Israel

and anti-Zionist propaganda

and rhetoric into those same churches.

- [Julie] According to Prove,

the volunteers take part

in everyday life with the Palestinians.

- [Peter] They're there toprovide a protective presence.

Secondly they're there to observe,

monitor and report onevents that they observe.

- [Julie] Yona Schiffmiller said,

NGO Monitor found thereis more to the story.

- In fact what the EAPPI is really doing,

is coming here, gainingcredibility for themselves

to go back to their home churches,

and to spread anti-Israel diatribes.

- [Julie] Josef Daher is coordinator

of the Jerusalem Centerthat hosts the volunteers,

he explains how they view Jesus'

command to love your enemies.

- [Julie] Resistanceusually refers to terrorism,

but Daher said as Christians,

they only promote boycott,

divestment and sanctions movement,

or BDS.

In response to the report,

the WCC said,

it only promotes boycottinggoods from Israeli settlements.

That's not Daher's view.

- [Julie] The WCC recognizesIsrael's right to exist,

according to international law,

but doesn't connect it to the Bible.

Doctor Robert Smith workswith the volunteers,

and explained it earlier.

- The biblical narrative of Israel

has almost nothing to dowith contemporary Israel,

other than the intentionalmanipulation of sacred texts

to justify a political project.

The global Kairos movement declared

that any Christian theologythat supports Zionism is heresy.

- [Julie] David Parsons is vice president

of the InternationalChristian Embassy Jerusalem,

he described the 2009 Kairos Palestine

declaration as misguided.

- For someone to brandChristian Zionism heresy,

this is troubling ground,

because Jesus himself affirmed

the restoration of Israel in Matthew 19,

the Apostle Peter doesit in Acts chapter three,

and Paul does it in Romans chapter 11,

so these were all affirminga belief in biblical Zionism,

the belief that the Jewswould be restored to the land,

so are you callingJesus himself a heretic?

- [Julie] Funding for thevolunteer training program

comes from the World Council of Churches,

as well as European governments.

NGO Monitor would like those countries

to re-evaluate that support,

and the WCC to recognize Israel's

right to exist as a Jewish state.

- A global movementtargeting Israel's economy

is at the heart of adebate in the US Congress.

Democrats recently blocked legislation

supporting the Jewish state,

they claim it's because ofthe government shutdown.

One Republican senator believes

there is another reasonDemocrats won't pass the bill.

He says a growing number oftheir members are anti-Israel.

Capitol Hill correspondentAbigail Robertson

brings us more from Washington.

- There's a growing anti-Israel movement

known as the BoycottDivestment and Sanctions,

or BDS,

and Senator Marco Rubio is alarmed

the effort's supportis spreading to the US.

- BDS is a movement around the world

to get companies, pressurecompanies to boycott Israel,

meaning not do business there,

divest from any investments inIsrael or Israeli companies,

and to get governments to sanction Israel.

- [Abigail] Currently those behind BDS

target companies like AHAVA, Caterpillar,

HP and Sabra Hummus,

hoping to isolate Israel academically,

culturally, economically and militarily.

- It is an anti-Semitic movement.

- [Abigail] Joel Griffithof the Heritage foundation

calls it a threat to Israel's security.

- Israel, it's a beacon of democracy,

it's an area where religious minorities

and ethnic minorities enjoy equal rights,

and yet that is the country

that these individualshave chosen to target.

The end goal as stated bytheir founder Omar Barghouti,

is the end of the Jewish state of Israel.

- [Abigail] Protestersboast their campaigns

have cost Israeli companiesbillions due to lost contracts,

and major shareholders divesting.

- I'm concerned that we'reseeing for the first time

at least two house membersthat are openly pro-BDS.

- [Abigail] They would benewly elected representatives,

Rashida Tlaib, and Elon Omar.

Tlaib recently told the intercept,

she believes the boycotts bring attention

to issues like the racism

and the international humanrights violations by Israel.

Senator Rubio included a combating BDS act

in the first bill the Senateis taking up this year.

- We have a law that says,

that states and local governments

can decide not to do any work,

meaning no contracts for goodsor services with companies

that are boycotting ordivesting from Israel.

- [Abigail] Democratskeep blocking it however,

saying they won't consider any bills

Unrelated to opening the government.

Rubio thinks there's another reason.

- I think they're blocking it

because they're afraid

of radical elements in their own base,

there is a growing group ofpeople in the Democratic party

that are anti-Israel openly,

and I think they're afraid of them.

- [Abigail] Minority leader Chuck Schumer,

a staunch supporter of Israel,

did not answer CBN News' question

about his thoughts on the Democrats

who openly support the BDS movement,

but he did say this aboutthe combating BDS act.

- I am a co-sponsor, soI've supported it all along.

- Congresswoman Tlaib says

she plans to go against tradition,

and lead a house delegation,

to which she refers to as,

the Israeli occupied West Bank.

Historically, freshmenlawmakers have been invited

to spend a week meetingwith Israeli leaders.

(upbeat music)

- [Chris] Coming up,

Israel chooses to be agood neighbor to Syrians

caught in the chaos ofthe Syrian civil war.

(upbeat music)

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(upbeat music)

- For several years,

the Israel Defense Forces reached

out to thousands of Syrians,

when these Syrians werecaught up in the crossfire

of the brutal and deadly Syrian civil war.

Many Christians would recognizethe name of this operation,

they called it the Good Neighbor Policy.

How did the Good NeighborPolicy get started?

- The Good Neighbor Policy started

when the idea of understanding

is other challenges from the border,

from '73 to 2011,

something has been changed in Syria,

and it effects Israel.

We understand that radical Islamist groups

are living just next to our border,

that we need to change our policy.

One of the things that we have done

is to help the population,

civil population,

more than 250,000 civilian people

living in the Quneitra region.

People that educated centuriesto hate state of Israel,

people that didn't know Israel is,

but they have been born,they're educated to hate us.

But we began with evacuated traumatic

injuries from the war,

people that their homes orschools has been bombed,

and they were severely injured,

they were evacuated to Israel,

more than 4500 citizens,

and then we have increase it,

and we have treated more

than 1400 childrensuffering from diseases,

chronic diseases,

we have evacuated them also to Israel.

We have opened four day care clinic,

Israeli Defense treated more

than eight thousand Syrian people,

civilians, men women and children.

We provide them tons of food, clothes,

baby powder milk,

diesel and all kinds of humanitarian aid

to help them to survivetheir toughest years.

- What impact did it have on them?

- When you first met them on the fence,

you have seen faces that peoplewho were fearing from you,

because they do not know what to expect.

They have been told that Israel

in the last years helping them,

but the person that neverbeen and never seen Israel,

is coming to the fencewith his little child,

and let me tell you,

it's a very hard sight to see

three or four years oldchildren coming to the fence

without shoes, with dirty clothes,

with fear in their eyes,

and then when you collectthem on the border

and take them to the hospital,

and give them to eat something,

and then you see thesmile of the children,

you can understand that you

are doing something good for people,

from people to people.

- What about some of the NGOs,

like Frontier AllianceInternational and Friendships,

what role did they play?

- The NGOs, Israel's NGOs,

and American NGOs,

like the FAI and theFriendships Unlimited,

took a very importantpart in this project.

They have brought us theopportunity to reach the people.

For example the friendships unlimited,

they have built a daycareclinic adjacent to the fence,

we cannot do this,

they were living there for almost a year,

and take care for 8,000 civilians,

those 8000 civilians

were our civil ambassadors inside Syria.

The FIA guys, those wonderful teams,

they were living in two villages in Syria,

treating day by day the locals,

and just think for yourselveshow crazy it might be heard,

Israeli Jews helpingChristians to help Muslims,

I don't think it has everhappened in the world,

here in the Good NeighboringProject it happened.

- How did you make the connection

between the people on theother side of the border?

- There was telephonesthat we provide them,

my number.

I think they understandthat we're here to help,

and then they have spread the number

of phone between the locals,

between the doctors, between the nurses,

between the civilians thatcall me and ask for my help.

Another region that wants some help,

another village that wantsto get some medical help,

some food help,

whatever they want,

we have the opportunity to provide.

- Why did it stop?

- It has been stopped because

the Assad regime conquered again Syria,

and now the regime is here,

he must take care for the population,

and now in the state you cannotwork with the Syrian side,

they will not allow you to do this.

- What does this sayabout the Israeli army?

- I didn't hear about armies in the war

that actually risks thelives of their soldiers

in order to help their enemies,

and this is exactly what we have done.

Night by night,

sometimes two or threetimes in every night,

we have risked our life opening the fence,

the security fencebetween Israel and Syria.

- Do you think it willhave a lasting impact?

- Those people that wehave saved their life,

they will not be able to forget it,

even in another year or two,

they will tell the story of the IDF,

and the state of Israelhelp for centuries ahead,

even if they will not wave the flags

of Israel on the Quneitraregion in those days,

deep in their hearts they willknow that Israel helped them,

and they will speak the story

to their families and relatives.

- You're getting out ofthe IDF in a few weeks,

what do you feel in your heartabout what you've done here.

- Enormous project, amazing project,

it was a unique thing to do,

to see your enemy faces laughing, smiling,

and say to you thankyou, in Arabic of course.

And I think that this is amazing

and serving 24 years for my country.

(upbeat music)

- [Chris] Coming up,

a new documentary remembersthe heroic resistance of Jews

in the infamous Warsawghetto during World War II.

(upbeat music)

- [Narrator] When you give,

smiles grow bigger.

When you care,

homes are happier.

When you comfort,

the hurt goes away.

When we all come together to love,

miracles happen.

- Hello I'm Terry Meeuwsen,

did you know there are more

than 148 million orphansin the world today?

148 million.

But it was three little girls

that taught me aboutthe plight of orphans.

My husband and I spent nearly a month

immersed in the daily activitiesof a Ukrainian orphanage,

as we waited to adopt three sisters.

I saw first hand the utter loneliness,

the pain of rejection,

and the overwhelming desire to be loved.

That experience changed me forever,

and out if it grew aministry from my heart,

called Orphan's Promise.

Today we're helping orphansand vulnerable children

in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Thousands of childrenare now in safe homes,

they're being educated,

and they're learning life skills.

I'm asking you to join with me,

and become family to these children.

Will you call the numberon your screen right now,

because every child deservesa chance to be happy.

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(upbeat music)

- On InternationalHolocaust Remembrance Day,

this coming January 27th,

a new documentary calledWho Will Write Our History?

will be shown worldwide.

The film, by Nancy Spielberg,

tells the stories of Jews whodied in the Warsaw ghetto,

using secret testimonies

and stories they leftbehind hidden in the ghetto.

Here's a clip from ourinterview with Spielberg.

- The group of people thatsaw the writing on the wall,

they knew that they would not survive

most likely the Warsaw ghetto.

And they said if we do notcollect and write our histories,

our history will bewritten by the Germans,

and we will no longer exist.

And they gathered up the diaries,

and they wrote journals,

and they had children write essays,

and they had poems and recipes,

and every aspect of life anddeath in the Warsaw ghetto.

And then they wrote theirlast will and testimonies,

and they buried these inmilk cans and tin boxes,

literally as the Germanswere pounding on the door.

And after the war,

only three people fromthis secret group survived,

and they went back throughthe rubble and tried to find.

Where was the seller under all the rubble,

they found two, one is still buried.

And unearthed these documents.

And it's incredible,

because it's like finding50 Anne Frank diaries,

and the world knows Anne Frank,

and if the world knew anything

of the Holocaust before Schindler's List,

it was probably fromthe diary of Anne Frank.

- It looks like it will be a powerful

and profound testament

to those who bravely facedthe might of the German army.

It's also a reminder topray for the Jewish people,

who even today still faceenemies on every side,

from Iran to the BDS movement.

And please pray for leaderslike President Trump,

who are making major decisions,

that affect so manypeople here in the region.

Well that's all for thisedition, thanks for joining us.

Remember you can follow us on Facebook,

Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

I'm Chris Mitchell,

we'll see next time on Jerusalem Dateline.

(upbeat music)

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