“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure.’” (Psalm 122:6)
Last Thursday, thousands of Israelis gathered in Jerusalem at the Western (Wailing) Wall to pray “for the salvation of Israel and the inheritance,” in the hopes of cancelling “Kerry’s verdict.”
The prayer rally—which also was attended by the likes of Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, Deputy Religious Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, MK (member of parliament) Orit Struk and MK Moti Yogev—was a response to reports that the US Secretary of State John Kerry had proposed that Israel withdraw to the 1949 Armistice lines.
“We came here to strengthen the prime minister in guarding the land of Israel,” said Rabbi Ben-Dahan. “Most residents of the country aren’t ready to divide Jerusalem, as is said to be proposed in the plan.”
Last July, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced the start of a new nine-month peace process.
He said that while he understood skepticism regarding peace, he didn’t share it.
“A viable two-state solution is the only way this conflict can end. And there is not much time to achieve it. And there is no other alternative,” he said.
At the State Department ceremony, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat seemed hopeful that this time peace would be achieved.
“It’s time for the Palestinian people to have an independent sovereign state of their own,” Erekat said. “It’s time for the Palestinians to live in peace, freedom and dignity within their own independent, sovereign state.”
Speaking directly to Erekat, Livni acknowledged that previous negotiations between them in 2008 had not led to peace.
“This is something that we need to do now, in these negotiations that we will launch today. And the opportunity has been created for us, for all of us, and we cannot afford to waste it,” she said.
“I believe that history is not made by cynics; it is made by realists who are not afraid to dream,” Livni added. “Let us be these people.”
The Outline of the Peace Plan
From the beginning, the talks were to be conducted secretly, and all final status issues were on the table for negotiation, but the broad outlines were never top-secret:
- The Palestinians seek a state based on the Green Line (the so-called pre-1967 border), with agreed land swaps.
- Israel seeks security assurances and recognition as a Jewish state.
- Both parties seek a final resolution to the status of Jerusalem—will it remain the 3,000-year-old capital of Israel or will it be divided to become the new capital of the Palestinians, as they demand?
- Both parties also are concerned with the fate of Palestinian refugees.
The total number of so-called Palestinian refugees has now grown to an estimated 5,000,000 plus, seven times the original number. Only about 30,000 survive of the original 520,000–957,000 persons who were displaced during the 1948 transition to Israeli statehood; the 5,000,000 are descendants of the original families.
Although refugees are quite often absorbed into the countries where they settle, for over 65 years the Arab countries have refused to take in these refugees. Many have languished in camps.
The children and children’s children of these displaced people have been taught to hate Jews. In that hatred, they have been taught that the greatest honor is to give one’s life as a shaheed, a human bomb, in order to kill Israelis.
For those 65 years and through five major wars, these Palestinians have attacked and killed Jewish mothers and their children, only to be taken captive and later released as part of another attempt at a peace deal.
But it isn’t that the Palestinians have not been offered land by Israel. Since 1947, the Palestinian leaders have refused time and time again even the most gracious settlements, granting them as much as 98 percent of the land they have requested, only to return with ever-increasing demands.
Tensions Flaring Over Plan
With only a few months until the peace deal deadline, the talks seem to be at a standstill; however, it is rumored that the Netanyahu government is being pressured by Europe and the Obama administration to agree to an American-imposed peace plan that includes dividing Jerusalem and returning to Israel’s pre-1967 borders.
Last week, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett criticized Prime Minister Netanyahu after a Times of Israel report said that the PM thought that Jewish settlers should be given the choice of living under future Palestinian rule in the West Bank if a peace treaty is signed.
“If an Arab citizen walked into Herzliya, he would walk out safe and sound, as he should; if an Israeli walked into Ramallah he’d be murdered. Everyone here knows it. So why can’t it be that the Palestinians would rule Israelis? Because they’ll kill them,” he said.
“Our forefathers and our descendants will not forgive an Israeli leader who gives up our country and divides our capital,” Bennett said.
Bennett was referring to God’s command in Leviticus 25:23:
“The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is Mine and you reside in My land as foreigners and strangers.”
He was also referring to Joel 3:2 that tells the consequences for dividing His land:
“I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to My inheritance, My people Israel, because they scattered My people among the nations and divided up My land.”
Due to the intense pressure to make peace by dividing Jerusalem and permanently make the Biblical land of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) a Palestinian state, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is also very concerned about basic security issues.
Ya’alon said that the American plan “contains no peace and no security. Only our continued presence in Judea and Samaria and the River Jordan will ensure that Ben-Gurion Airport and Netanya don’t become targets for rockets from every direction.”
“In reality, there have been no negotiations between us and the Palestinians for all these months—but rather between us and the Americans,” he said. (Ynet)
So, will a two-state solution truly bring peace? Much evidence suggests it will not.
For instance, when Palestinians are asked when the “occupation” began, many point to 1948, when Israel declared itself an independent nation.
After the 1948 war against Israel that followed the establishment of the Jewish state, Jordan occupied the lands that Palestinians now seek to have recognized as their homeland.
Still no Palestinian state was declared, even though this land was approximately the land that the United Nations offered to the Palestinians in the 1947 Partition Plan.
And it isn’t that the Jewish leaders did not agree to the Partition Plan which suggested a two-state solution—one Jewish and one Arab. They did. But the Palestinians did not accept that plan because they did not want to live next to a Jewish state. That has not changed.
Today, the declaration of a Palestinian state is a possibility. Still, for many Palestinians that possibility represents a major step toward their real goal: having the entire land.
For over 65 years, the Palestinians have taught their children that there is only one country between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea—Palestine, emblazoning this goal on their maps and official emblems.
Israel has already made painful land concessions with the Palestinians.
In 2005, then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally, and with the resistance of his own government, withdrew all Israeli settlements from Gaza along with all military forces.
Though peace is definitely necessary for the Palestinians to prosper, goodwill did not follow the withdrawal.
What followed was almost daily rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza.
This is perhaps an indication of what lies in store for Israel if it were to sign a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority that leaves this country with borders that are impossible to defend.
Rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip and from neighboring Islamic countries is such a threat that every residence in Israel requires a fortified, sealed room.
The rooms, called Merkhav Mugan (protected space), can withstand the blast of conventional weapons and provide protection against chemical and biological weapons.
Despite this need for protection, according to Israel’s Home Front Command in 2012, millions of Israelis do not have access to bomb shelters. Only 30% of households had a protected space. (Times of Israel)
“I live in Tiberias and these rooms came in very handy during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 when over 4,000 rockets were fired at Israel by Hezbollah forces in Lebanon,” said one Bibles For Israel worker.
“Israel better hold on to these rooms since any peace agreement will probably be a flimsy one and ongoing rocket attacks can be expected,” he said.
Incitement to Jihad: The Industry of Death
To honor their side of the agreement in the current peace negotiations, the State of Israel has already released scores of prisoners who have killed innocent Israeli civilians.
But what is being heard from the Palestinian side?
In mid-January, during a live official Palestinian broadcast, the Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash said:
“Whoever wants resistance, whoever wants Jihad, the direction for Jihad is well-known and clear… Those who send young people to Syria or elsewhere to die for a misdirected cause must stop and understand that Jerusalem is still waiting. Jerusalem is the direction, Jerusalem is the address.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas applauded him.
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas and the other resistance organizations are saying that they will not accept any plan signed by Abbas.
In November, on the first anniversary of the Israel Defense Forces counter-terrorism Operation Pillar of Defense, which took place in 2012, Hamas members implied that they would commit genocide against the Israelis once the balance of power changes to their favor:
“[You] Zionists, you have no place on the land of Palestine… we shall expel you from our land and we will fight against you on it [on the land], we will kill you or expel you from it when you are submissive,” Hamas parliamentarian Khalil Al-Hayya stated. “The jihad and the martyrdom in the way of Allah are our road and our track which are meant to fulfill our triumphs and fulfill and protect our [Muslim] nation.” (Arutz Sheva)
This January, Fathi Hamad, Hamas’s Interior Minister, claimed Israel will be gone in eight years during a speech honoring the anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, a three-week armed conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Palestinian militants that ended on January 18, 2009.
This is the same leader who proudly stated in 2008, “For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly [Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death as you desire life.”
This desire to wipe Israel off the map was foreseen in Psalm 83:4–6:
“’Come,’ they say, ‘let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.’ With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you—the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites…”
Meanwhile, the Palestinians have won the hearts and minds of most of the media and peoples of the western nations.
This translates into the ongoing support of the US government and the EU, as well as NGOs such as the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the New Israel Fund who continue to pump billions into the Palestinian economy.
A portion of this money is even used to finance the families of terrorists in Israeli prisons.
In other words, US taxpayers are unknowingly helping to fund terrorism.
The more heinous the crime and longer the prison term, the higher the salary received. Those serving sentences of over 10 years receive as much as $2,000 a month, among the highest salaries in the Palestine territories. (Times of Israel)
“This actually incentivizes the misery, mayhem and carnage that terrorists commit,” said New York Times bestselling author Edwin Black, who wrote Financing the Flames: How Tax Exempt and Public Money Fuel a Culture of Confrontation. (CBN)
Despite all these efforts, the prophecies of Joel 3:2, Psalm 83, and Ezekiel 38–39 stress that no man will create lasting peace for Jerusalem.
Instead, as the end times draw to a close, there will be constant strife between the revived nation of Israel and her neighbors near and far, even when Israel thinks she is finally at peace:
“I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.” (Ezekiel 38:11–12)
The only real peace that will come is when the Messiah returns at the end of the age.
“There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.” (Isaiah 9:7)
But until that time, only those who have the Prince of Peace (Sar Shalom) in their hearts can experience true peace, which comes from God.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)