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From PLO sniper to follower of Jesus: How a Palestinian terrorist from Gaza got radically saved

Part 1 of the fascinating story of Tass Saada on THE ROSENBERG REPORT

Joel Rosenberg interview Tass Saada on TBN's The Rosenberg Report (Photo: Screenshot)

Taysir (Tass) Saada is a Palestinian Muslim born in the Gaza Strip and raised in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. When he grew up, he became a radical Islamist terrorist and eventually served as a sniper for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and as a driver for the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

“If I knew Tass when he was in his 20s, I never would have had anything to do with him because I would have been dead,” Joel Rosenberg, ALL ISRAEL NEWS editor-in-chief, began as he introduced Saada during an interview for the Christmas edition of THE ROSENBERG REPORT, which airs weekly on TBN.

During the interview, Saada revealed how his life changed dramatically when became a follower of Jesus Christ. He spoke about his faith journey and how he became a Christian.

“I wasn't… no way I was looking for Christ or Christianity. I went to America at age 23 with the recommendation of Yasser Arafat, actually to continue my education,” Saada told Rosenberg.

Tass Saada on TBN's The Rosenberg Report (Photo: Screenshot)

He recalled that upon his departure from Gaza, he consulted with the PLO President.

“I spent several hours with him, talking about the next step within the PLO organization, because I didn't want to be an assassin anymore. I told him I want to go back to being a sniper or a fighter. And he said, ‘Young man, you're a natural-born leader. You should go and continue your education.’ I thought, Brother Arafat, that's the best idea.’”

“I hated Americans just as much as I hated the Jews, and I was preparing to be reactive,” he continued. “But the American people treated me with such respect and acceptance – better than my own people.”

In the United States, Saada worked as a dishwasher and a cook.

“I was so nervous. I'm from a wealthy family. To do that kind of job is bringing shame to my family,” he shared.

One day, Saada served a man who was sitting with a young lady at the restaurant.

“He looked at me with such a beautiful smile and he said, ‘Thank you, young man. As an Arab, we don't never thank our servants. And this man is thanking me. That touched my heart,” Saada told Rosenberg.

The man’s name was Charlie.

“For some reason, he took a liking in me,” Saada recounted. “It had to be God.”

The two men remained friends and about 19 years after their first encounter, Charlie gave Saada a copy of the New Testament.

“Tass, to have the peace that I have, you must love a Jew,” Charlie told Saada, who became angry.

Saada said when they sat down, Charlie asked him: “What do you know about Jesus?”

When Saada replied that Jesus was a “prophet,” Charlie responded that he was more than a prophet and that he was the son of God.

Saada said he became even angrier and then Charlie introduced him to the Book of John.

Tass Saada on TBN's The Rosenberg Report (Photo: Screenshot)

“And he began to read to me: ‘In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.’ John 1. I started shaking. I lost consciousness after one verse… And the next I know I’m on my knees with my hands lifted up, inviting Jesus to me, our Lord and Savior,” Saada recalled.

“I was speaking to a light, a very powerful light that was saying, ‘I am Jesus. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. Follow me.”

Saada made the decision to follow and never looked back.

Another major turning point in his life took place in 2003, when he made his first trip to Israel and, upon arrival, was immediately arrested. Saada said he knew it would happen.

“I planned it this way because I wanted to confess,” he told Rosenberg. “The more I grew in Christ, the more I got guilty, that I need to make things right with the Israelis, and with the others, people that I done evil things to.”

Joel Rosenberg interview Tass Saada on TBN's The Rosenberg Report (Photo: Screenshot)

Saada was interrogated by Israeli authorities for about 14 hours. Each hour was by a different soldier, asking the same questions. He described the interrogation process as an “emotional and physical healing.”

The last Israeli military colonel investigating him found Saada's story solid and coherent.

“Why did you come here to get arrested?” the colonel wondered.

“I said, because Jesus, Because I've become a Christian. I gave my heart to Jesus, and I want to make things right,” Saada replied.

Tass Saada on TBN's The Rosenberg Report (Photo: Screenshot)

“Do you have Jewish blood on your hand?” the colonel asked him.

Saada said he looked at him in the eyes and responded: “What do you think I did as an assassin?”

“But I have a question for you, Colonel,” he continued. “Do you have Palestinian blood on your hands?”

With that, the Israeli authorities released Saada.

He is certain that Jesus had a hand in the outcome of the hours-long interrogations.

Since then, Saada’s relationship with the State of Israel has grown into cooperation and ministry.

Along with his wife, Karen, he co-founded ‘Hope for Ishmael’, a ministry dedicated to reconciliation between Arabs and Jews, and Seeds of Hope, a non-profit humanitarian organization providing necessities to impoverished people in the Middle East.

Tass Saada speaking at The Joshua Fund's Epicenter Conference in 2009 (Photo: TBN's The Rosenberg Report)

Today, Saada serves as an ordained minister, an entrepreneur and an author. Rosenberg wrote the foreword to Saada’s book: “Once an Arafat Man,” published in 2008.

Click here to watch the full episode.

Don’t miss Part 2 of Joel Rosenberg’s fascinating interview with Tass Saada in next week’s episode.

THE ROSENBERG REPORT airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. EST  and Saturday nights at 9:30 p.m. EST – on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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